No scientific base to prediction that Covid-19 will affect children in third wave

Radheshyam Jadhav | | Updated on: Jun 01, 2021

Pradip Awate, State Surveillance Officer for Maharashtra

There is no cause for panic, says Maharashtra Surveillance Officer Awate

The prediction that children would be most affected in the third wave of Covid-19 has created panic in society but this prediction has no scientific base. There is no scientific logic to information that coronavirus would change itself and infect children, said Pradip Awate, State Surveillance Officer for Maharashtra. He is in charge of monitoring epidemic-prone diseases in the State as part of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme of the Union Health Ministry.

Awate drew attention to the note issued by the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) stating that there is a possibility of a third wave, but it is difficult to predict its timing and severity. Children are as susceptible as adults and older individuals to develop an infection but not a severe disease. It is highly unlikely that the third wave will predominantly or exclusively affect children.

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What the data indicate

“Media is highlighting Covid-19 cases in some States and some districts, saying that children are largely getting affected. In the last six months, the percentage of children aged below five years getting affected due to Covid-19 in Maharashtra is only one to one-and-a-half per cent of the total Covid-19 patients reported every month. This percentage is not changing. However, when the number of patients goes up from 2 lakh to 10 lakh, this percentage/proportion remains little or more same, but the absolute number of cases go up and this fact is being ignored,” Awate told BusinessLine . He added that the data available with the State government show that the number of children getting affected has remained constant and there is no change in this.

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“Most importantly, the death rate and complications reported in children are very less compared to adult cases. In May 2021, the death rate in the age group below 18 is 0.007 per cent in Maharashtra. If 10,000 children get affected one death is reported and children who have other health issues might face complications,” he said. Awate added that it is always better to be prepared to face the Covid-19 wave considering that it might affect children. But it is inappropriate to create panic and fear among parents and children.

IAP has earlier mentioned that almost 90 per cent of infections in children are mild/asymptomatic. Therefore, the incidence of severe disease is not high in children. Severe disease occurs in children but there is no evidence indicating that most children with the Covid-19 infection will have severe disease in the third wave.

Published on June 01, 2021
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