A few weeks ago, experts predicted that the third wave of the coronavirus in India is inevitable and is likely to affect children more. This has prompted cities like Mumbai to go into preparation mode. Four centres for children are being built in the city for children infected with COVID.
However, the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) thinks otherwise. The academy has asserted that though children remain susceptible to the virus, it is highly unlikely that the third wave will predominantly affect children, as reported by The Indian Express.
The academy issued an advisory on Saturday, May 22, and pointed out that 90 percent of infections in children are either mid or without symptoms. Niti Ayog (health) member VK Paul also echoed the same opinion.
"The most important reason is the lesser expression of specific receptors to which this virus binds to enter the host, and also their immune system. A very small percentage of infected children may develop moderate-severe disease. If there is a massive increase in the overall numbers of infected individuals, a large number of children with moderate-severe disease may be seen," it said.
The academy also said that the suggestions about the third wave hitting children more are unsubstantiated, reported The Telegraph. The emergence of new variants of the virus has led to rumours as per paediatricians and public health experts.
"We wanted to refute wrong messages and misconceptions going around," said Bakulesh Jayant Parekh, a Mumbai-based paediatrician and former president of the IAP.
The advisory, however, pointed out while the first wave affected the elderly and those with comorbidities, the second wave has affected those in the younger age bracket. It warned that if COVID appropriate behaviour is not followed, the next wave will affect the non-immune individuals and may include children as well.
AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria also pointed out that there is not enough evidence to prove that children are likely to be affected more in the third wave. Dr Umesh Vaidya, one of the members of IAP's Covid task force and who is in charge of the neonatal intensive care unit of KEM Hospital in Pune, said parents have no reason to be "disproportionately scared" but asked them not to be careless.