The third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to peak around October, warned a panel of experts constituted by the Central government in its latest report. The panel has also said that the public healthcare system in the country should have better medical preparedness for children who might be at risk.
The panel which was set up by the Union home ministry said paediatric facilities such as doctors, staff, equipment, and ambulances, etc, are nowhere close to what may be required if a large number of children get infected with the deadly virus. The panel also said that while there is no direct evidence that the third wave will affect children more than adults, there is still a risk as children are not vaccinated against the virus.
“Many health experts had initially raised concerns about the possibility of a third wave affecting children more adversely than adults. However, recent scientific data suggests otherwise,” the report said. “The Indian Academy of Paediatrics found that there is no biological evidence that the current and the new Delta Plus variant will affect children more disproportionately than adults,” it added.
“The Lancet COVID-19 Commission India Task Force has also concluded that there is no current evidence that an anticipated third wave will target children specifically. But there is a cause for worry if not panic according to public health experts, since the children below 18 years remain unvaccinated in India.”
“Also, the existing paediatric health care facilities are not robust enough to treat children on a large scale. Epidemics have the maximum impact on a country’s future, the Lancet COVID-19 Commission India Task Force report also points that though children have milder disease and low mortality rate as compared to adults, those with underlying co-morbidities might be at higher risk,” the report stated.
6 lakh COVID-19 cases a day
The panel citing a recent study said India can witness “6 lakh cases per day in the third wave” if the vaccination rate does not improve in the country.
“According to a recent study done by professors and alumni from Pandit Deendayal Energy University (PDEU) in collaboration with Nirma University, the vaccination rate of India is currently at 3.2 per cent. It stated that if the vaccination rate does not improve, India can witness 6 lakh cases per day in the next (third) wave.” the report said.
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