The Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus which is alarming could affect many, including increased infections among children. In what could be a relief, parents of the younger kids have little to worry as the virulence of the strain would still be low, causing no serious damage, doctors believe.
As of August 3, Karnataka had reported 1089 cases of the Delta variant and three cases of the new Delta Plus variant as per statistics provided by the department of health and family welfare.
Manjunath Sharma, pediatrician, Chiguru Children’s clinic said that it is known that the infectivity (that is the spreadability) of the variant is high. However, the virulence (the tendency of causing harm) is lower. Although there is no evidence of this, there is universal consensus among doctors that the effect might not be severe in children in the lower age groups.
“We have noticed that for children above 12, the virus behaves in the exact same manner as it does in adults. It means that parents with children above this age must be cautious. Going by the infection rate of the virus, we are anticipating a higher number of cases among children.
There are reports that 50 % of children tested in Cheluvamba Hospital in Mysuru had Covid antibodies indicating previous infection.
The number of children who will be infected is proportional to the number of infected adults, explains Dr Srikanta J T, consultant pediatric pulmonology, Aster CMI and a member of the Karnataka taskforce on Covid-19 among children. “We noticed the number of infected was 8-10 % in both the first and second wave. There is no specific threat for children from the Delta variant. But if adult cases surge, more children will be infected. Regarding the possibility of children being rumored to be ‘super spreaders’, findings of a study in Germany indicate otherwise. When 50 infected children were out in a bus with 19 adults for over 8 hours, only 2 were infected,” he said.
Dr Srikanta said that it is advisable to reopen classes for only the primary school children, to begin with as they are least affected. “Studies indicate that they are the least infected age group. It is safe to start in-person classes only for them,” he suggested.
Meanwhile, Asha Benakappa, former director, Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health said that Karnataka has the third-highest number of delta variant cases. “The pandemic is here to stay at least till 2023. Wearing masks, sanitizing and social distancing is the only way out. The waves have not disappeared. A large number of children are likely to be infected even though the severity might below. Parents must keep children away from gatherings and any super spreader events. They must avoid travel unless absolutely necessary. Parents have a tendency to go easy in areas such as fitness centers and parks in apartments. This must be avoided,” she said.
What parents must ensure
S – social distancing
M — mask
S – sanitizeNews, States