No indication that children will be ‘severely affected’ in third wave, says govt
New Delhi,June 01: As India battles the second wave of the Covid-19, some experts have already raised the possibility of a third wave of the pandemic. Several countries have already witnessed the fourth wave of Covid-19. But as India struggles to contain the deadly second wave, when is the inevitable third wave projected to hit the country?
Mostly in the winter, sometime in the end of November or early December (this year). Ensuring that all the vulnerable are vaccinated before the festive season of Diwali is important to save as many lives,” said Dr Giridhar Babu, epidemiologist and professor at the Indian Institute of Public Health in Bengaluru, and a member and advisor to the National Covid-19 Task Force in Karnataka. “The next wave will affect mostly younger age groups,” he warned.
There are various factors that the third wave could ride on. “Depends on several factors in the period from now till December – The proportion of vaccinated people, prevention of super spreader events and all types of crowds, and how early we can detect newer variants and limit them to local areas,” said Dr Babu.
Speaking on the factors that could precipitate the third wave in India, Professor M Vidyasagar, the government’s mathematical modeling expert, said, “Even though, in the second wave, a fairly large number of people could have been infected, there are also those that remain untested, people who are generally asymptomatic and infected. These are the people who are going to remain immune for at least 6 months. However, they will begin to lose immunity towards that period. So, that is when we need to have our vaccination program well-underway, as even if they begin to lose their immunity, they should not remain susceptible to catch the virus.”
Meanwhile addressing a routine press briefing on Covid-19, a top government official said that there is no indication, as of now, that children will be severely affected in the third wave of the pandemic.
However, experts have already called for preparations for the third wave of Covid-19, which they predict will hit India later this year. They have also warned that children would be affected by the third wave.
Amid apprehension of a third wave later this year or early next year, states have already started preparing, focussing mostly on protecting the children.
However the government had earlier said that 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 had said during a press briefing of the Union Health Ministry.
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 added.
“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,” he said.