Cases of Covid in children are being keenly observed, the Union health ministry indicated on Tuesday amid speculation about a third wave possibly targeting them. Dr VK Paul, chairman of the National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration, on Tuesday said while most children who contract the disease are asymptomatic, in some cases the virus can affect them in two ways. "In the first, they have reported pneumonia-like symptoms. In second, some cases of a multi-inflammatory syndrome has been found among children who recently recovered from C0VID19," he said.
Explaining the second situation, he said in very rare cases, six weeks after recovery from Covid, some children get fever again, along with rashes and vomiting, he said. "We are observing this. Our doctors and paediatricians are well-trained to handle these post-Covid symptoms," he added.
Children, he said, are generally asymptomatic. "They often get infections but their symptoms are minimal or nil. The infection has not taken serious shape in children," he said.
The government has dismissed the possibility of Covid affecting children, but Dr Paul admitted the possibility of the virus changing its behaviour in view of the second wave. While the first Covid wave had mainly targetted the elderly, the second wave took a toll on the younger population.
"The impact of COVID-19 may increase in children. The data has shown that a low number of children are being admitted to hospitals. We're pushing preparedness," he said.
Dr Randeep Guleria, the chief of Delhi's All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and a key member of the Centre's Covid Task Force, has said data from the first and second waves of Covid indicate that children mostly remain protected against the disease.
The hypothesis, he said, is that the virus enters the body through ace receptors – a particular variety of protein – are far less in children's bodies than in adults'.
"The people who floated this theory (of children getting infected in the third wave) say they have not been infected in the first two waves and that is why they might be impacted more in next wave. But so far, there is no evidence that such a severe infection might happen in the future," Dr Guleria said.