V K Paul, member, health, Niti Aayog, on Friday allayed fears about children being affected during a potential third wave of Covid-19.
Sero studies have showed that children were as infected as adults during the second wave and production of antibodies was similar in all age groups, indicating that children had contracted the virus but had mild infections, Paul said. The infection has been passing through families, but children did not get seriously infected, he said.
While the perception of threat to children may have reduced, the government will not let its guard down, Paul said. The government will continue to prepare for a surge in paediatric Covid-19 cases as the virus is mutating and it is hard to predict if infections in children will remain mild or turn severe, Paul said.
Schools will not be reopened in a hurry. Reopening them would depend on many factors such as vaccination of teachers and support staff, social distancing in schools, and vaccination of children.
Paul expressed concern over crowding in public places and the rush in malls after restrictions were relaxed. He called for restraint and discipline to avoid a surge in cases. Covid-19 case positivity has to be kept below 5% and if it crosses this level, there will be quick action to limit the outbreak, he said.
The country reported 62,480 new cases on Friday with 1,587 deaths. The number of districts reporting more than 100 cases came down from 531 districts in first week of May to 147 districts on June 16. Total active cases on June 17 were at 7,98,656 from the peak of 37,45,237 on May 10. Case positivity rate came down from 21.6% in the first week of May to 4% in the June 11 to 17 week. Recovery rate has reached 96%.