Covid affecting children more than in first wave

Covid affecting children more than in first wave
School students attending a class. (PTI file photo)
NEW DELHI, APR 5 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 4/5/2021 12:17:45 PM IST

 COVID  virus has undergone a double mutation

Several states shut schools, suspend classes

As India reported more than one lakh daily coronavirus cases for the first time, several states and union territories, including Maharashtra, Punjab and Delhi, have announced closure of schools or suspended classes briefly till the COVID-19 situation is further reviewed in the wake of rising cases across the country. (More on p-5)

Unlike in the past children are now vulnerable because schools have reopened for certain age groups.

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhji, director Dr. Randeep Guleria in an interview with NDTV said that the second wave of COVID-19 is infecting kids more.  

In Bengaluru around 400 kids were infected with COVID-19, has the virus changed itself, and is it affecting younger people and kids more? Shedding light on the subject, Dr. Guleria said that kids are more susceptible to the virus. Now that schools have opened and children are talking to each other, there is no COVID-appropriate behaviour being followed, hence they are contracting the virus. They have been protected for so many and therefore kids do not have many anti-bodies.  

He further said that it is likely that there is a variant that is causing the virus to be more infectious, and this is what needs to be backed by the data.  

According to Dr Subash Rao, Consultant Pediatrician at Reliance Hospital and Fortis Hospital, Mumbai, the Covid-19 virus has undergone a double mutation (changes in genetic structure), and the current strain is highly infectious infecting many people, especially children.

Answering the most frequent queries of parents about the impact of the virus on children, Dr Rao said that a reverse trend is being seen in the second wave where children develop symptoms before the adults.

“The second wave of Covid is known to affect the children much more than in the first wave. Also, a reverse trend is being seen that is - children develop symptoms first, and then adults are getting it from them. The difference is while in the first wave most of the children were asymptomatic, in the second wave they are coming with symptoms like fever, cold, dry cough, loose motions, vomiting, not feeding well, fatigue, loss of appetite, among other common symptoms. Few may also have breathing difficulties and rashes like any other viral fever,” he said.

“Also another reason of rising infection among children is increasing exposure due to playing outdoor, travelling and inappropriate behaviour and laxity,” he added.

The paediatrician said that if a child is showing symptoms of Covid-19 infection, an RT PCR test should be done by the second day.

“Don’t delay or hesitate out of fear to do the test. Early diagnosis helps in early treatment. In case of an asymptomatic child with both parents Covid-19 positive, there is no need for a test but they should be kept in home quarantine for 14 days,” he told the parents.

The doctor said if a child had a fever for two days, but recovered later, they should be home quarantined for 14 days unless they were tested for Covid-19 and their report is negative on the fifth day.

“Keep in mind children can act as silent carriers or “super- spreaders” and spread it to other children and adults, who can suffer severe diseases,” he said.

“Keep in mind your child would already be harbouring the virus even though they have no symptoms. They can innocently pass on the infection to the elders.... Hence it would be wiser to keep them in your home along with you quarantined for 14 days. If possible isolate the index (affected) patient in a separate room and other members who are unaffected can remain in the same house,” he said.

Dr Rao said that in case a child tests positive for Covid-19, there is no need to rush them to the hospital and have them admitted.

“They can be monitored at home after consulting the pediatrician. Watch for red flag and danger signs of breathlessness, fever beyond five days, poor oral intake, rash among other symptoms,” he said.

He added that even if one member of the family is Covid-19 positive, the entire family should quarantine for 14 days.

“However, if going out of home is inevitable, then Covid RT PCR test can be done on day 5 for asymptomatic members. If the report is negative, they can go out,” Dr Rao said.

Dr Rao further added that even if people have been vaccinated or have tested positive and recovered, they still need to wear masks and follow other Covid-19 norms.

“No vaccine for any disease gives 100 per cent protection. Of course, they do protect against severe disease as studies have shown. So one must wear a mask even though they have taken the vaccine, for their own and others protection,” he said.

He added that because at present there is no approval to use the Covid vaccine on children, hence people should sanitize hands, wear a mask when going out and practice social distancing.


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