Covid 19 pandemic has gripped the world for more than one and a half years. It has been one of the most dynamic diseases till date unfolding its horizon every day in terms of pathophysiology, presentation, treatment, and complication. We were hit very hard by the second wave and it created a lot of fear and panic which was real. The healthcare system got overwhelmed and many could not access the resources in need. And now there is a prediction and fear of a third wave and there are speculations that it will target the kids more.
We know that the 3rd wave has already made its presence felt in some countries. Mostly it’s the delta or delta plus variant. So, there are fair chances that we too will witness the 3rd wave in the coming months. But a large number of Indian populations were infected in the second wave and considerable numbers are vaccinated providing immunity against covid. Even children were affected in good numbers and the seropositivity rate is found to be to the tune of more than 55% in a study conducted by AIIMS. Moreover, both in the first wave or second wave children were small in percentage as compared to adults and the presentation was asymptomatic or with mild symptoms.
Barring a small number, children only required symptomatic treatment and recovered well without any specific therapy. So, it seems unlikely that children will be the preferential target for the virus in the 3rd wave. Looking at these factors it doesn’t seem that the magnitude or the severity of the disease would be profound in the 3rd wave or even as bad as the 2nd wave or the kids will be the main victims unless the virus mutates into a completely different variant. If the natural or vaccine immunity works well against the prevalent or a new mutant virus, the damage should not be grave.
Nonetheless, we should be well equipped to tackle it in a planned way if it doesn’t respect the immunity we have acquired. The real risk is that we have lowered our guards and we are moving and gathering freely without taking precautions. So, the first and foremost thing for everyone to realize is that covid is still there and covid norms are still mandatory. Proper well fitted masks covering the bridge of the nose and chin, physical distancing, and hand sanitization are still the most important tools to protect oneself and prevent the spread. Early testing and isolation to contain the spread need to be understood and strictly followed.
Government and healthcare systems are gearing up to handle it even if it comes in a big magnitude so that we do not run out of resources. We are prepared with increased staff, staff, and space, especially for the pediatric population. We will need more PICU beds, staff trained to handle the kids, and pediatric size equipment. But though we are prepared, though we have gained immunity through natural infection and vaccination to guard us, we must follow the covid appropriate behavior at any given point to fight the virus.
Tips for parents
Follow covid norms strictly
Give your children a balanced diet, ensure adequate rest and physical exercise
Seek the advice of your pediatrician if your child has symptoms
Do not self medicate or follow Whatsapp prescriptions
Give supplements only if the doctor has advised you
Vaccinate your children as per schedule
All above 18 years should take covid vaccine and children < 18 years to be vaccinated as and when there are recommendations
Manipal hospital is the best childcare hospital in Delhi having the best pediatrician in Delhi, nurses, and other staff to ensure excellent care for infants and children. The Paediatric Department is manned 24 x 7 by trained pediatricians, providing round-the-clock cover to Paediatric ICU, Neonatal ICU & Emergency Room.
Stay safe, stay healthy!
Senior Consultant, Department of Pediatrics
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