COVID-19: ‘Second wave affecting children more’

In other countries, particularly in the US, an emerging trend points to an increase in average daily cases among younger people.

  
Doctor’s hands in protection gloves putting COVID-19 test swab into kid’s mouth in hospital. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Doctor’s hands in protection gloves putting COVID-19 test swab into kid’s mouth in hospital. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Health experts are urging the community to take extra measures to keep children safe from Covid, as case studies show youngsters could be just as vulnerable to the disease as adults.

In other countries, particularly in the US, an emerging trend points to an increase in average daily cases among younger people.

In the UAE, though Covid cases are visibly going down, doctors are reminding parents and families not to drop their guard and ensure kids are protected at all times.

Dr Geetika Dheer, paediatrician at Prime Medical Centre Ajman, said “the second wave of Covid-19 is known to affect children more than in the first wave. Also, a reverse trend is being seen — children are developing symptoms first and then adults are getting it from them”.

She added that since kids have mostly been home-bound amid the pandemic, they may not have enough natural antibodies yet. “So, now, with increasing exposure due to outdoor play, travelling and lack of Covid-19-appropriate behaviour, they could possibly contract the virus. At this time, it appears that severe illness due to Covid-19 is rare among children. However, there is an urgent need to collect more data on long-term impact of the disease on children.”

Whether children are less often infected by Covid-19 is still an ongoing debate, the UAE doctors said. Large epidemiological studies suggest that children comprise only one to two per cent of all cases.

Most children infected by the disease have mild respiratory symptoms. They generally have fever, dry cough, or a sore throat. Some children may have gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhoea or vomitting.

Dr Nazeeya K A, general physician at Aster Clinic, Qusais, said: “With the vaccination drive going on, cases have reduced in adults, but there are kids testing positive. Also, after vaccination, sometimes parents become more relaxed and often do not follow much of the Covid-19 protocols, like social distancing and avoiding gatherings. This may lead to children getting more exposed and they don’t have the necessary immunity, unlike their parents.”

Extra caution must be taken as kids move back to classrooms, she added. “Many parents have now opted for their wards to attend face-to-face classes after a year or so of online learning. They were sheltered all this while, but the situation is changing now. “There could also be some recent mutations in the virus whereby children are getting more symptomatic than earlier and children were not being tested rather extensively. Hence, I would request all parents to continue adhering to all Covid-19 protocols for the wellbeing of themselves and their families.”

Dr Manjunath M Nagalli, paediatrician at Burjeel Specialty Hospital, Sharjah, said they are “seeing cases among children sporadically, when there is definite contact with one of the family members or relatives”.

 
 

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