No indication 'as of now' that children will be 'severely affected' in third COVID-19 wave, says govt
No indication 'as of now' that children will be 'severely affected' in third COVID-19 wave, says govt
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New Delhi

There is no reason to believe that children will be disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in the coming weeks and months or in the next wave, the head of a government working group said, but stressed on the need for additional resource inputs to improve the paediatric Covid services.

In an interview with PTI, Dr NK Arora, Chairman of India's COVID-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), said Indian data does not show specific predilection of the currently circulating virus strains either for the youth or paediatric age group.

"However, since the absolute numbers have increased, patients from both age groups are being noticed more," he said.

Arora, who is Director of INCLEN Trust, said it is not possible to predict any third wave at this time.

"But based on the experience from our own country and that from other parts of the world, there is no reason to believe that children will be disproportionately affected in the coming weeks and months or in the next wave," he said.

But he stressed on the need to improve the paediatric Covid services and align it with the rest of the Covid-19 management framework.

"It is absolutely necessary to appreciate that newborn, children and pregnant women require specific care facilities. Children below 10 years will need either mother or father or a care provider with them. Similarly, infected pregnant women can deliver prematurely. I am given to understand that treatment protocols are already prepared and are under review by different paediatric groups and associations," he said.

Arora said similarly the unique hospital care requirements are being worked out.

"The country is already managing children and most Covid care centres have provision but there is need for additional resource inputs to improve the paediatric Covid services and align with the rest of the Covid-19 management framework," he added.

Some experts are highlighting the need for preparation warning that children could be affected by the third wave more than adults.

AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria has also said there was no indication that children will be severely or more affected in the third wave of the pandemic.

"If we see the data of the first and second waves, it is very similar and it shows that children are usually protected and even if they get it, they only have mild infection. And the virus hasn't changed so there is no indication that children will be more affected in the third wave," he told reporters on Monday.

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