A 13-year-old adolescent succumbed to the Coronavirus in Surat, Gujrat on 5 April 2021 and it has been estimated that around 500 children have contracted COVID-19 during the course of a week in Rajkot. Disease’s prevention specialists suspect that children and adolescents are serving as the catalyst for the ongoing second wave however there is no concrete medical evidence to verify this claim. According to Dr Shyam Kukreja, a medical professional associated with the Max Super Specialty hospital in Delhi Pratapgarh “Children are at lesser risk of COVID-19. Even if they contract the virus, they are likely to remain asymptomatic or only display mild symptoms. Occasionally we see serious cases in children but generally that doesn’t happen. “
Schools, colleges & hostels are the new breeding grounds
Last month witnessed more than 5,000 Manipal institute of Technology students test positive for the Coronavirus while on campus. The 188-acre educational institute was subsequently declared a containment zone. Around 100 students from seven different schools in the state of Telangana also tested positive last month. In February, 300 school students were found positive for the virus in the state of Maharashtra, of which 229 cases were from a single hostel. Several states including Delhi and Jharkhand have temporarily closed down educational institutions following a spike in numbers.
Impact of the virus on children
Dr Kukreja has confirmed that more children have been affected by the virus during the second wave. He however stated that the severity of Coronavirus in children is not too significant and have been found to be largely asymptomatic. The virus could however impact children suffering from multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a rare disease. Symptoms of the virus in children are usually range from fever, diarrhea, mild cough, fatigue, body ache, vomiting, stomachache among other symptoms.
The primary cause of concern of children contracting the virus is the increased risk of transmission towards higher risk groups like senior citizens. Two categories of youngsters who stand most vulnerable are toddlers, and adolescents suffering from obesity. Furthermore, children with existing co-morbidities are also more susceptible to the virus. As of now the COVID-19 vaccine available in India is not suitable for children and have only been designed for adults. Vaccines for children are still in the development stage and are expected to be made available around next year.