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The third Covid wave will attack Indian children. Here’s how we must prepare for it

d00od00o

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The third Covid wave will attack Indian children. Here’s how we must prepare for it
Devi Shetty
One of India’s best virologists, Dr Ravi from Nimhans Bengaluru, predicts that the third wave is likely to attack children predominantly. The Maharashtra government has created a task force to manage Covid-infected sick children during the third wave. I am not an epidemiologist, but common sense tells me they may be right.

The Covid virus mutates to attack as many new hosts as possible. During the first wave, Covid attacked mainly the elderly and spared youngsters. The second wave is attacking a large number of young breadwinners. The third wave is likely to attack children, since most adults are already infected or immunised.

Uday Deb
Unfortunately, children under the age of 18 cannot be vaccinated. As a result, the only host left for the virus to attack will be children, and we have 165 million of them who are less than 12 years old. Even if we assume that just 20% of them get infected and 5% of the infected need critical care, we need 1.65 lakh paediatric ICU beds. Today we are struggling with about 90,000 ICU beds for adults and less than 2,000 beds for children.

I love children, and spent most of my professional life building one of the largest paediatric cardiac surgical ICUs in the world, during which I learnt many lessons.

Children are not miniature adults. Unlike adults, we cannot have a two-month-old baby in the Covid ICU without one of the parents. How do you send a young mother or father of three children to the Covid ICU without vaccination? Unlike adult Covid ICU patients – who are left to be managed entirely by nurses and doctors – infants and small children cannot be left in the ICU without their parents.

Mothers need to breastfeed their babies, and someone should be there to ensure that the baby doesn’t throw the oxygen mask. In cardiac ICU, most kids are partially sedated, and when they are fully alert, we send them to the ward. In the Covid ICU we cannot sedate the child; they need to breathe well to maintain oxygenation.

That means we need to quickly vaccinate all the parents of young children with two doses. And this should happen now. We need to vaccinate at least 300 million young parents in the next few months. The good news is that vaccination protects. Our hospital, which always has over 500 Covid patients, has never seen a single ICU patient who had both doses of vaccine.

Today, the market price for the first dose of vaccination is between Rs 800 to Rs 1,500. Rs 3,200-6,000 for two doses for both parents from working-class and low-income families is very expensive. For affordable vaccination, the government should negotiate with Indian and foreign vaccine manufacturers for 300 million vaccines and pay them in advance to deliver in record time.

Sputnik V, I believe, has already tied up with four or five vaccine makers from India to manufacture their vaccine. Unlike in the past, we have options now. Any vaccine used on millions of patients anywhere in the world should be accepted without regulatory hurdles. What we need to do is to move quickly and get the deal done.

Once the delivery date is confirmed, the health ministry should distribute 70% of the vaccines to the private sector and 30% to public hospitals to vaccinate 300 million young parents in just one month. This can be accomplished only with the active participation of the private sector, which has the flexibility to run services 24×7.

For example, if the government delivers the vaccine for Rs 500, most big and small hospitals will agree to charge Rs 100 or 150 for the injection as a service to society. Today, most of the parents will be willing to pay Rs 500 for the vaccine, and the cost of injection of Rs 100 or 150. It can also be sponsored by corporates and philanthropists. Once the parents are immunised, the chances of the children getting infected go down significantly.

Many hospitals are acutely short of nurses and doctors. It’s not uncommon for two nurses at night to manage an ICU filled with over 20 sick Covid patients on oxygen and ventilators. That cannot happen in a paediatric Covid ICU. Parents will insist on constant attention from nurses. If the family is not happy with the medical care, and God forbid something happens to the child, there will be serious consequences for the medical staff, which results in attrition.

We need to prepare an army of young nurses and doctors on standby to move from one city to the other based on the Covid wave, to support busy hospitals. This cannot happen unless these doctors and nurses are given grace marks for various entrance and exit exams. Money will not motivate young doctors and nurses to work in a Covid ICU, risking their life.

The production of drugs and disposables used for children in the ICU, starting from Crocin syrup to oxygen masks, should be enhanced to prevent a repetition of the struggle for oxygen and remdesivir. We need to procure a large number of ventilators that can ventilate newborn babies quickly.

God has given us a window of opportunity, let’s make the best use of it and show the world what we are. I am optimistic that our government, under the able leadership of PM Modi, will address this crisis without any delay.

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Views expressed above are the author's own.


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VkdIndian

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The third wave is likely to affect children not only in India but across the world.

While some people are busy trolling on this human catastrophe it wouldn’t be a bad idea for everyone to unite and fight it.

Some people draw immense pleasure form others misery the smarter ones prepare for the worst.
@d00od00o I see that you are feeling hilarious about my comment above.
Can you share the reason of this laughter?
 
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Daghalodi

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The third wave is likely to affect children not only in India but across the world.

While some people are busy trolling on this human catastrophe it wouldn’t be a bad idea for everyone to unite and fight this pandemic.

Some people draw immense pleasure form others misery the smarter ones prepare for the worst.
@d00od00o I see that you are feeling hilarious about my comment above.
Can you share the reason of this laughter?
Nobody is making fun of this Misery.

Bharati Trolls were on full swing blaming Tableeghis, Jamatis as super spreaders. While celebrating Holi, Kumbh Mela and Shahi Asnans.

As your PM claimed Victory over covid19, bharati trolls are in damage control mode ever since Covid started ripping India apart.

Its very important to share such articles about the reality of covid19 in India as your media, Govt and callcentre trolls will never show or accept the real picture of this pandemic.
 

VkdIndian

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Nobody is making fun of this Misery.
Yes he is making fun of this misery. Look at the comments later on.

There are idiots all over the world who have spread the virus. All countries and all religions.

Its very important to share such articles about the reality of covid19 in India as your media, Govt and callcentre trolls will never show or accept the real picture of this pandemic.
Not correct. All these articles being quoted here are from India and accessible to everyone here.

It pains to see someone hiding behind messenger facade and making fun of people’s misery.
 

Vapnope

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The third wave is likely to affect children not only in India but across the world.

While some people are busy trolling on this human catastrophe it wouldn’t be a bad idea for everyone to unite and fight this pandemic.

Some people draw immense pleasure form others misery the smarter ones prepare for the worst.
@d00od00o I see that you are feeling hilarious about my comment above.
Can you share the reason of this laughter?
UK and French variants have brought corona to kids in Pakistan. What are the stats in India for now? Are these children getting infected?
 

Daghalodi

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Yes he is making fun of this misery. Look at the comments later on.

There are idiots all over the world who have spread the virus. All countries and all religions.


Not correct. All these articles being quoted here are from India and accessible to everyone here.

It pains to see someone hiding behind messenger facade and making fun of people’s misery.
I dont think he is making fun of this misery.

He is just posting what your Godi Media doesnt show.

We have Indians here claiming Modi has won over second wave. Hiding the facts, deaths, incompetence, oxygen shortages, black mailing, cheating, looting, raping, patronizing, blaming others, all the time claiming to be a rich super power 2020.

Its only fair, sharing these articles so delusional Indian trolls on damage control can get a taste of Reality.
 

VkdIndian

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What are the stats in India for now? Are these children getting infected?
Nothing certain yet. Just some experts hypothesising that kids would be the main concern in the next wave.

This virus has proven that new variants are likely to cross borders and reach across the world.

Hopefully, the shortages of various items would be sorted out by that time and next generations would be safer than what is happening currently in India.
 
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Vapnope

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Nothing certain yet. Just some experts hypothesising that kids would be the main concern in the next wave.

This virus has proven that any new variant is likely to cross borders and reach across the world.

Hopefully, the shortages of various items would be sorted out by that time and next generations would be safer than what is happening currently in India.
You are right virus transmission is really fast and it poses risk to everyone of us. We have kids here who got corona virus and it started happening two months ago.
 

VkdIndian

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You are right virus transmission is really fast and it poses risk to everyone of us. We have kids here who got corona virus and it started happening two months ago.
There are unknowns galore about the virus.
Everyday a new challenge comes up. No country in this region is adequately equipped to handle it.

While all deaths are sad, death of children is much more than sad.

Hopefully, politicians would have woken out of slumber by that time and managed adequate resources.
 
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