Coronavirus: What’s putting kids at increased risk of coronavirus right now? Here’s what experts say – Times of India

0
43


After showcasing a low documented risk of contracting COVID-19, or getting symptomatic infections, kids under the age of 16 now have a heightened risk of catching the illness during the second wave, and also suffering from serious complications like MIS-C. Reports suggest that thousands of children across India have gotten COVID, and the numbers may also be scarier globally. But what’s exposing kids to such grave risks?

READ MORE: Skin symptoms could be warning signs of COVID-19 in kids, warn experts

Given that children are known to have innate immunity and a better threshold against infections such as these, why are kids becoming increasingly susceptible to COVID and related severity and complications? Some experts believe masks and distancing may be to blame.

Don’t masks and social distancing prevent COVID risk?


Wearing face masks, shields, maintaining social distancing, and most importantly, following COVID appropriate behaviour are keys to minimizing COVID-19 risk, even after being vaccinated. However, global experts are now pressing on the fact that the apparent ‘lack’ of exposure to viruses in play since last year may be to blame for the sudden rise in COVID and other respiratory infections reported amongst kids, globally.

Increased social distancing and preventive measures may also have weakened children’s immune systems, as per experts. The study, which has been carried out by the surveillance and research team based out of Royal College of GPs (RCGP), England are of the opinion that the current COVID-19 risk is graver for kids (and may continue to have repercussions) for smaller kids who haven’t been exposed to viruses and pathogens because of heightened preventive measures.

READ MORE: Most commonly reported COVID-19 symptoms in children during the second wave

Scientifically, contact with viral pathogens and germs happens with kids on a regular basis, and most kids are expected to have contracted them before 18 months of age. While every exposure doesn’t lead to sickness in kids, it does help build sizable, protective immunity against the said pathogen.

Virologists are also concerned that while increased measures have curbed the prevalence of flu infections, but have unfortunately brought other concerning viruses, such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), that may cause serious lung infections in smaller kids into play.

However, despite COVID-19 being a big risk factor that is adding cases, it remains to be seen that the disease still remains to be milder in children, and causes lower mortality amongst the younger ones, in comparison to adults and senior citizens.

Will the third wave affect kids more?

While there has been an exponential increase in the number of kids getting infected with COVID-19 during the recent months, the second wave of coronavirus in India, there are also reports that seem to suggest that the third wave will be much likely to impact kids the most, going by the numbers.

However, it should be noted that there’s no scientific evidence to support the same, and the claim has been mooted by several noted scientists and virologists in India and abroad.

Furthermore, lead doctors, including AIIMS Chief, Doctor Randeep Guleria has also said that there is no proof to suggest that the mutant strains of the virus are causing more infections amongst kids right now.

Should kids continue to practice preventive measures?

While experts do point out that heightened preventive and distancing measures may impact children’s immunity, it is important to remember that masks, social distancing will still need to be followed, and encouraged amongst kids till the time we do not have a vaccine available for kids, which may take some months to come through.

More so, even if the risk is considered low, making kids follow good hygiene measures also go a long way in minimizing and preventive COVID-19 risks for parents, guardians and immediate family members, since children may also act as super-spreaders of the disease.



Source link