Experts say children managing COVID-19 well in third wave. How?
After witnessing three major outbreaks of COVID-19, health experts across India say children are not at a high risk for the disease. That trend has continued, if not improved, in the ongoing third wave of infections. Most children appear to fall mildly sick and a small proportion of them have to go to the hospital for treatment. Why is that?
Experts say most COVID-19 cases in children appear to be incidental rather than causative. It means children are not being admitted to the hospital primarily because of the coronavirus but due to other underlying conditions such as heart disease. But at the same time, they also incidentally test positive for the virus. Most children recover from COVID-19 within one week, according to doctors.
"Majority of children get mild COVID-19 disease, which recovers on its own within a week or less. However, if the child isn't behaving as usual, it is necessary to connect with the doctor early and not self-medicate," Dr. Maninder Singh Dhaliwal from Medanta told News18.
Notably, aerosols are the primary channel blamed for causing COVID-19 infection among children, according to a webinar by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Further, the ACE-2 receptors in children—through which the coronavirus enters the human body—are "less expressed," making the virus' entry difficult. Besides, children's innate immunity is strong, making them better prepared to fight diseases such as COVID-19.
However, experts are concerned about Multisystem inflammatory Syndrome in children (MIS-C), a serious condition linked to COVID-19. Some children develop the condition after several weeks of catching the coronavirus. The condition leads to inflammation in body organs and tissues such as heart, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys, digestive system, brain, skin, or eyes.
"Till now, management of Omicron is the same as managing the Delta-driven COVID wave. But we need to keep a watch on whether due to Omicron, MIS-C cases have remained the same or increased (sic)," said Dr. Ashok Deorari from AIIMS.