According to the data available with the Empowered Group-1, the group that is tasked with formulating the country’s Covid emergency status, there has been a steady rise in the share of Covid positive children under the age of 10.
The data reflects that the share of children between the age group 1-10 has increased steadily in the total active Covid-19 cases, from 2.80% in March this year to 7.04% in August. This means that for every 100 active cases, 7 of them are children.
The experts insist that this shift towards children cannot be termed ‘dramatic’ as the rising cases in children can be because of the reduced vulnerability of adults to the virus.
Out of 18 states and Union Territories for which data is available, in the month of August, Covid-19 cases among children were the highest in Mizoram (16.48% of total active cases) and the lowest in Delhi (2.25%).
The data from the Empowered Group holds significance as the experts say that the third wave of Covid is inevitable, and given the high levels of virus in circulation, there is a possibility that the next wave can impact children as well.
While there is no specific reason for the rising Covid cases amongst children, the experts suggest that the trend could be because of ‘more exposure and more testing.’ “The proportion of children getting admitted is higher than before. It is mainly because of two reasons. First, there is more awareness and alertness; second, vulnerability might have also increased proportionately,” said another source, pointing to the sero surveys that suggest high exposure to the virus among children. The sero survey also indicates a positivity rate of 57-58 percent amongst children.
The source indicated that the mortality rate for children is low against Covid-19. The source also specified that the strategy to deal with the Covid cases among children were vaccine candidates like Biological E that are in the process of getting the necessary approvals.
The EG-1 had also proposed that 5 percent of ICU beds and 4 percent of non-ICU oxygen beds be earmarked for pediatric care in view of apprehensions that children could be affected in the next wave of Covid-19.