Since 1st March, 2021 around 80,000 children in India have tested positive for coronavirus, out of which, 61,000 are from Maharashtra only(as per the data obtained from Union Health Ministry). Bangalore has reported more than 500 corona positive children. The second wave of coronavirus has made a cataclysmic impact on the health of the children in India. This has become more challenging as currently there is no vaccine for children.
Why is the second wave more deadly for children?
Dr. Chavi Anand, a leading paediatrician based out of Lucknow, explains, “The sole reason lies in mutation of the virus. It has started to develop resistance to antibodies and hence earlier individuals, especially children, which remained unaffected, are now becoming a prime victim of the virus.” Around 50 per cent of children who were surveyed during the fifth serological surveillance in Delhi were found to have antibodies against coronavirus, which indicates that they were infected (but not affected) by the virus. The mutation in the virus’s genetic code and spike proteins has made it more aggressive thereby enrapturing more children within its aviary.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus in children?
“It varies from person to person. Your child might have a cold while someone else’s might not show any symptom at all. Hence what we need to look out for are the basic symptoms like cold, fever, running nose, sore throat, fatigue and loss of appetite”, explains Dr. Anand.
Is your child spreading coronavirus?
What every parent should be careful about is that their children might not be affected by the virus but can be a carrier of the same. “Children can become superspreaders i.e. they can spread the virus to every individual in the family. It is advised to keep them indoors and prevent them from having any contact/exposure with the outside world”, advises Dr. Dilip Rathore, Senior Paediatrician, Queen Mary Hospital, Lucknow. This might be possible in case of civil societies and upper classes. But we cannot overlook the fact that there are more than 2 lakh homeless children in India, which are at a much higher risk than those of the upper and middle classes. However, the Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) has urged the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to protect the rights of these children.
Data shows that there are nearly 9,882 children under the age of five who have been infected with COVID in Maharashtra. In Chattisgarh, 5940 children have tested positive out of which 922 are below the age of five. The reason for such a spike is simple, more outdoor exposure of children and laxity of both parents and children.
What can be done?
“Don’t wait for the vaccine to come out. Just simply follow the ‘prevention is better than cure’ rule. Don’t let your children go out at any cost (apart from any emergencies). Teach and guide them to wear masks and wear it yourself, as children tend to learn from us. Ask them to wash their hands regularly and stay away from the outside areas like parks and playgrounds”, remarks Dr. Rathore.
If your child develops any symptoms of coronavirus, immediately get him/her tested. If he/she comes out to be positive, home isolation is the best option. For children below the age of five, complete isolation from their parents is neither possible nor suggested. However, maintaining strict distance, separating their utensils and wearing a mask while interacting with them should be followed at all costs.
If you’re child has been infected with coronavirus, you can follow this link to find the COVID helpline for your respective state.