India’s 3rd Covid-19 wave might affect children in a big way, expert says | The Daily Star
11:47 AM, May 06, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:55 AM, May 06, 2021

India’s 3rd Covid-19 wave might affect children in a big way, expert says

An Indian virologist has warned that the third wave of Covid-19 is expected to affect children in the country in a big way, between the months of October and November, and both the central and state governments should be ready to handle the situation.

V Ravi, a member of Covid Technical Advisory Committee in southern Indian state of Karnataka, one of the worst-hit states in the country, emphasised the need to enhance medical infrastructure to treat Covid-infected children, reports our New Delhi correspondent.

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"We don't have enough pediatric Covid care wards and intensive care units for children. This has to be urgently scaled up," he said.

The government should take some important policy decisions on what is their approach towards starting school the next academic year, considering that the next wave will affect children, according to Ravi.

He said children would be more vulnerable because they are not vaccinated against Covid-19 as of now.

The virologist also suggested the government take some stern steps to prevent crowding of people even after the end of the second wave.

"Some bold steps must be taken. Any form of political and religious gatherings should not be allowed. Super-spreader events like weddings must be banned completely. We cannot go on in a full-scale prioritising livelihood and economies. We have to be extremely guarded," he said.

Ravi said, "The way India handled the first wave was commendable, but thereafter experts' warning of a harsher second wave was not taken seriously and it is partially the reason behind the situation we are in today. Covid cannot be handled well without scientific, data-driven interventions," he said.

Ravi, who is also the nodal officer for genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 virus in Karnataka, said the double mutant Indian variant (B.1.617) of the virus is spreading rapidly.

"At the end of March, double mutant variant was detected in 5-10 percent of community samples while it has now shot up to 45 percent," he said.

The warning by virologist V Ravi comes as India's total daily fresh infection tally crossed the four-lakh mark for the first time since the pandemic broke out more than a year ago, showed health ministry data.  

India recorded 3,980 deaths in the last 24 hours, the highest in a day so far, pushing the total fatalities to 2,30,168.

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