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3rd wave: Hospitals prepare to handle cases among children
Even as more than 6,000 cases were reported among those below 18 years in the first week of June, experts said the likelihood of severe disease is less common among children.
“The presence of ACE-2 receptor in children below 12 years is rare. Thus, the severity of the infection is low. However, in third wave children, are expected to the primary victims due to lack of vaccination and exposure. This will lead to a higher risk of severe infection among children aged 12 and above, while the younger children can be affected but won’t develop serious infection,” said Dr Mohan Kumar, paediatrician, Government Stanley Medical College Hospital.
Public health expert Dr K Kolandaisamy agreed that the cases are likely to increase among children in case of a third wave because they have not been vaccinated. “While preparatory measures can be taken to deal with the surge among children, a plan has to be devised by the Centre and State to prevent the surge,” said Dr Kolandaisamy.
Health Minister Ma Subramanian had earlier said that the State was prepared for a third wave and that hospitals have been instructed to prepare to handle the surge of cases among children.
“We have about 10-12 cases, which go as high as 25 on some days. The good news is that the severity of the cases has not increased and children are stable. However, factoring in the chances of higher risk to children in the next wave, a separate block has been dedicated to COVID positive children, and oxygen concentrators, essential drugs, oxygen beds and ventilators are being stocked to ensure adequate availability,” said Dr S Ezhilarasi, director, the Institute of Child Health.
The Government Stanley Medical College Hospital is expecting the separate block for children to be ready by June end. “There are about 10 cases among children every day, and the numbers have declined compared to the last two weeks,” said Dean Dr P Balaji.