No data to show children will be seriously affected by COVID in future waves: AIIMS Chief

To avoid the future, we should aggressively follow Covid appropriate behaviour, said Dr Guleria.

AIIMS Delhi Director Dr Randeep Guleria on Tuesday said that presently there is no data, either from India or internationally, to show that in the next wave of Coronavirus children will be severely affected. 

“It is a piece of misinformation that subsequent waves of the COVID-19 pandemic are going to cause severe illness in children. There is no data - either from India or globally - to show that children will be seriously infected in subsequent waves,” Dr Guleria informed at a media briefing on Covid-19. 

He further added that 60% to 70% of the children who got infected and got admitted to hospitals during the second wave in India, had either comorbidities or low immunity and healthy children recovered with mild illness without need for hospitalization.

To avoid the future, we should aggressively follow Covid appropriate behaviour, said Dr Guleria. 

Waves usually occur in pandemics caused due to respiratory viruses, Guleria explained, citing that “in the 1918 Spanish Flu, H1N1 (swine) flu are examples. The second wave of 1918 Spanish Flu was the biggest, after which there was a smaller third wave.”

SARS-Cov-2 is a respiratory disease, Guleria said, adding that multiple waves occur when there is a susceptible population. “When a large part of the population acquires immunity against the infection, the virus becomes endemic and infection becomes seasonal - like that of H1N1 that commonly spreads during monsoon or winters. Waves can occur due to change in the virus (such as new variants). Since new mutations become more infectious, there is a higher chance for the virus to spread," he added.

Dr Guleria cautioned that one of the biggest reasons behind the occurrence of a wave is negligent human behaviour. He said: “Whenever cases increase, there is a fear in people and human behaviour changes. People strictly follow COVID Appropriate behaviours and non-pharmaceutical interventions help break the chain of transmission. But when unlocking resumes, people tend to think that not much infection will happen and tend to not follow COVID appropriate behaviour. Due to this, the virus again starts spreading in the community, leading potentially to another wave.”

To stop succeeding waves, the AIIMS Chief said that we need to follow COVID appropriate behaviour aggressively until a significant amount of our population is vaccinated or has got natural immunity. 

“When enough people are vaccinated or when we acquire natural immunity against the infection, then these waves will stop. The only way out is to strictly follow COVID appropriate behaviour,” he stated.





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