AIIMS Delhi Director Dr Randeep Guleria on Tuesday said there is no data, either from India or internationally, to show that children will be seriously infected in any next wave of COVID-19.
Addressing a joint press conference on the COVID-19 situation in New Delhi, Dr Guleria said 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,” he said.
He said 60-70 per cent of the children, who got infected and got admitted in hospitals during the second wave in India, had either co-morbidities or low immunity and healthy children recovered with mild illness without need for hospitalization.
“Waves normally occur in pandemics caused due to respiratory viruses – 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,” the AIIMS director said.
“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 said.
He urged people to strictly follow COVID-appropriate behaviour.
“Whenever cases increase, there is a fear in people and human behaviour changes. People strictly follow COVID-appropriate behaviour 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,” he said.
“If we have to stop subsequent waves, we need to aggressively follow COVID appropriate behaviour until we can say that a significant number of our population is vaccinated or has acquired 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 added.
Luv Agarwal, Joint Secretary of the Union Health Ministry, said 86,498 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the last 24 hours.
“There is almost 79 per cent decline in cases since the highest reported peak in daily new cases. Last week, a 33 per cent decline was seen in overall reported cases and 322 districts have seen a decline in daily cases in the last one month,” he said.
“Overall recovery has increased to 94.3 per cent (both home isolation + medical infrastructure) and 6.3 per cent overall decrease in positivity between June 1 to June 7. There is a 33 per cent decline in the number of cases in the last one week and a 65 per cent reduction in active cases. There are 15 states with less than 5 per cent positivity,” he added.