New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: As the country is moving towards the possible third wave of COVID-19, in many states, the infection rates are already going up. Amidst this, it is important to keep the COVID appropriate behaviour and be planned for the forthcoming issues. In many areas, the schools and institutes have started reopening for children, and as per reports, this time coronavirus is expected to be dangerous for kids as well. So, it is very crucial to take necessary steps for the same.

Therefore, to discuss about it in the latest episode of Jagran Dialogues, Pratyush Ranjan, Executive Editor, Jagran New Media, spoke to Dr Rakesh Aggarwal, the director of Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER), Puducherry.

Question – The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) in its sero report of February 2021 said that antibodies of the virus were present in 25.3 percent of children. If the data of the first wave, second wave and Sero survey are taken together, it indicates that 40 percent of children in India have been exposed to COVID-19. Does it mean 60 percent of children have a risk of getting infected with coronavirus? And if yes, are we ready for the threat?

Dr. Aggarwal – As far as I know, if we talk about the Sero surverys which happened later, the number has gone up to 60-65 percent from 40 percent now. Secondly, Sero survey doesn't make much difference. This is because even if we assume that 40 percent of the children were affected with COVID-19, how many out of them got severely affected by the disease and how many passed away due to it. And those numbers are comparatively smaller. Therefore, the chances of the rest of 60 percent children getting severly infected is very low. And there will be a few very few kids needing the ICU and risk of death is extremely low.

And as I said 60-65 percent of children, according to the Sero surveys conducted later, have been infected. So, the main thing is when older adult are infected with COVID-19 they suffer severely while the virus doesn't turn out to be as serious in children. And it is expected to be the same and one should not worry much about children.

Question – Out of about 30 crore children in India, about 18 crore are at a risk of getting infected with COVID-19. And out of these 18 crore kids, even if 1 percent require hospital treatment, are we ready for this? Also,
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) are barely available in smaller cities and towns. PICU beds are different from ICU beds of adults and it is not easy to make them suitable for children in a short time. Please inform us about the same

Dr Aggarwal – Even if we consoder 40 percent and the children those who needed ICU beds were very less. And now if the remaining 60 percent get infected also we are available with PICU available for them. Even during the second wave when children were affected we never fell short of PICUs. So, the shortage which we faced earlier was of the ICU beds for adults and older people. Therefore, it's no need to worry about the shortage of PICUs

Watch the full interview here:


Posted By: Sanyukta Baijal