CHENNAI: A large number of cases of Covid-19 are being reported among children in the current surge of Covid-19 cases. Healthcare authorities say that children are reporting very mild symptoms such as throat infection, which is common among kids with Covid.
Most kids testing positive have symptoms like fever, cold and cough, which are often mistaken for the common flu.
“There are cases of children with no symptoms testing positive. We see at least 5-10 cases of kids in a week with Covid symptoms, but due to low testing among children, it does not reflect while counting cases. The mortality is low but when other interventions are done for kids, based on their medical condition, that’s when we realise they have Covid,” says Dr Mohan Kumar, senior consultant paediatrician, Stanley Medical College Hospital.
As testing among children remains low, doctors identify infection among children only after they’ve it passed to their parents or grandparents. Experts also say that there can be an increase if proper testing is done among kids.
Dr Suresh Kumar, consultant, Infectious Diseases at Apollo Hospitals, points out, “Parents are afraid to test their children and assume that children are not at risk of getting Covid-19 because the previous waves witnessed a low incidence of infection among children. But, mild or not, infection can be passed on, especially to elders, who then become the main carrier.”
He added that the management of paediatric cases remains similar to adults. “Fortunately, severity is low unless there are any comorbid conditions are reported,” he stated.
Doctors say that as the nature of the sub-variants of Omicron causes only mild infections and does not impact the oxygen levels much, hospital admissions are low.
“We’re not witnessing serious complications which is why not many admissions of paediatric Covid cases are being reported in hospitals. There’s a risk of children being infected from adults too, mainly from schools after re-opening,” explains Dr S Ezhilarasi, director of Institute of Child Health. “There’s not adequate testing among children to conclude that children have passed on the infection or they have been exposed to Covid-19.”