One of the top virologists in India, Dr. V Ravi has warned that the third wave of Covid-19 will hit children in a big way and it is time for both the Centre and state governments to chalk out strategies and gear up to handle the situation between October and December which is the time when the third wave might hit India.
“The government should take some important policy decisions on what is their approach towards starting school the next academic year, considering that the next wave will affect children. Kids will also be more vulnerable because they are not vaccinated. Are we going to test them regularly for early detection like how the western countries do?” said Ravi.
The next and third Covid wave will be more dangerous for children, also warned Motherhood Hospitals, while issuing an advisory against rising infections among children.
Already, in the present second wave, more children are testing positive and are being hospitalized with different variants and double mutants, which are highly contagious, infecting those in the age group of 0-16, it said. Parents must be cautious and not let their guard down, it said.
“Since the newborns to are vulnerable, breastfeeding is highly recommended as it builds baby’s immunity. It is also advisable for parents to strictly follow the vaccination schedule of their babies and not miss any doses, as this will shield the baby from infections and therefore a very crucial element in preventing the Covid infection,” said Dr. Santosh Kumar, Consultant Neonatologist and Paediatrician, Motherhood Hospitals.
The common symptoms seen in children are a spike in fever, gastroenteritis symptoms, and respiratory issues. Dr. Kumar said that most people are not following Covid-appropriate behavior and once they contract the virus, they pass it on to their children. Some of these kids could be asymptomatic, spreading the infection among their grandparents, who are in the high-risk group.
The children are more susceptible as there is no vaccination available yet for those in the age group of 0-10, he added.
Ravi, who is also a member of Karnataka’s Covid technical advisory committee, stressed the need to ramp up medical infrastructure to treat Covid infected children. “We don’t have enough pediatric Covid care wards and intensive care units for children. This has to be urgently scaled up,” he said.
The virologist also suggested the government take some stern steps to prevent crowding of people even after the end of the second wave. “Some bold steps must be taken. Any form of political and religious gatherings should not be allowed. All superspreader events like weddings must be banned completely. We cannot go on in a full-scale prioritizing livelihood and economies. We have to be extremely guarded,” he said.
Furthermore, he predicted that the second wave will peak in Bengaluru in mid-May and then it may take four-six weeks for cases to decline. But, he said, cases will continue to surge in other districts after the second wave plateaus or declines in Bengaluru.
Meanwhile preparing for a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic which is expected to hit kids, the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Maharashtra government are gearing up by setting up Pediatric Covid Care Wards in the city and elsewhere, officials said here on Tuesday. Taking an early initiative, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray last week directed all district collectors and municipal commissioners in the state to be ready for the Covid third onslaught which may also hit children in a big way.