Children can get and spread Covid infection': Centre clarifies 3 points amid 3rd wave concerns
Amid concerns over a probable third wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Centre on Saturday said children are not immune from the infection, but the impact is minimal. "If children get affected by Covid, either there will be no symptoms or there will be minimal symptoms. They do not require hospitalisation generally," Niti Aayog (health) member VK Paul said on Saturday, during the press briefing of the Union health ministry.
Explaining three points about Covid-19 infection among children, Dr Paul said that children are not immune from this infection and they can infect others but children do not generally suffer from severe infection. Health infrastructure should be ramped up to treat Covid-19 among children, but it is most important to not let them become a part of the transmission chain in the first place, Dr Paul said.
"Some facts are clear in front of us. Children can be infected and they can be infected to quite an extent. It can't be said with certainty that the infection among children is comparatively less. For example, the December-January serosurvey revealed that the seropositivity rate among children and older is almost the same," Dr Paul said.
Children account for about 3-4 per cent of hospital admission, in both India and the rest of the world, he said adding special attention should be on those between the age of 10 and 12 years as they are very mobile.
As the ongoing second wave of the pandemic is gradually coming under control with a steady fall in the number of daily positive cases and in the positivity rate, concerns over a third wave have been expressed by experts, state governments. It has also been apprehended that this possible third wave may impact children.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a recent meeting with state and district officials, has asked them to collect data on the infection transmission and severity among youth and children.
Earlier, the Maharashtra government said it started preparing for the third wave of the pandemic and started setting up paediatric Covid wards for children. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal too said children could be at an increased risk of contracting this infection.
In the first wave of the pandemic, people above the age of 45 were considered to be the most vulnerable to the infection. In the ongoing second wave, many young people contracted the infection, but according to medical data, there has not been any significant shift in age group and people aged between 45 and 60 years are still the most vulnerable, the health ministry has said.