ICMR chief explains why COVID-19 second wave is affecting youngsters

Last updated on May 12, 2021, 03:56 pm
ICMR chief explains why COVID-19 second wave is affecting youngsters

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director-General Dr. Balram Bhargava on Tuesday said that there are primarily two reasons why more young people are getting infected in the ongoing second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. "(It is) because suddenly they have gone out and there are variants also prevalent in the nation, which may be affecting younger people," he said.


'Not much difference in affected demographic between first, second waves'

Asked whether the Centre is taking any steps to initiate COVID-19 vaccination among children, Dr. Bhargava said there is not much difference in the age groups affected between the first and second waves. "We have been analyzing data since August. People above the age of 45 years are more vulnerable to any adverse outcome and the hospitalized mortality is around 9.6-9.7%," he said.

Government data

Centre had refuted claims of more younger people getting affected

According to the Hindustan Times, though more young people are getting infected in the ongoing second COVID-19 wave, which started around March, the Centre had refuted the reports of the shift in age groups in April. The Centre showed data claiming that in the first wave, 31% of people affected were under the age of 30 years. In 2021, the proportion rose to 32%.

Top court

Third wave may affect children, prepare today: SC to Centre

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on May 6 said a third wave of COVID-19 will hit the country and affect children too, Bar and Bench reported. "Prepare today to handle stage three of COVID-19. Children may be affected...Ensure vaccination of children. Bolster your infrastructure to deal with the third wave, rope in NEET aspirants and nurses," the SC said in its instructions to the Centre.


10% of Maharashtra's cases affecting those younger than 20

In a bid to brace for the third wave, a nine-member Paediatric Task Force last week submitted a comprehensive plan for treating children with COVID-19 to the Maharashtra government, The Indian Express reported. Of the 48.93 lakh COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, 10% cases have been reported from those aged less than 20 years. Of these, 1.49 lakh are children aged less than 10 years.

Expert opinion

Majority of children infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic: Doctor

The most common symptoms in COVID-positive children include fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. "The majority of children with COVID-19 are asymptomatic. Most will have mild illnesses, and 60-70% are either asymptomatic or have mild disease. Very few children, who are symptomatic (1-2%) require ICU care in tertiary centers," Dr. Sreenath S Manikanti was quoted as saying by TIE.

Third wave

Third wave of COVID-19 inevitable: Centre's scientific advisor

Separately, the Principal Scientific Advisor, Dr. K VijayRaghavan, recently said that the third wave of COVID-19 was "inevitable," adding that a time frame for the same could not be predicted. Later, however, Raghavan added the "insidious asymptomatic transmission" can be stopped and the third wave "may not happen in all places" if guidance about precautions, surveillance, containment, treatment, and testing is followed.

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