BENGALURU: Ahead of the possible third wave of Covid-19, experts have expressed concern over the new Lambda variant which is prevalent in over 25 countries. The 14-member committee of paediatric experts, set up by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), has said that the government should start preparing by ramping up infrastructure as there is very little clarity on how the new variant will affect children, who are likely to be affected the most in the third wave.
The BBMP has identified 260 paediatric beds in the city, of which 60 are ICU, HDU (high dependency unit) and oxygen beds. The paediatric experts’ committee has, however, emphasised on the need to create 400-450 paediatric ICU, HDU and oxygen beds to face the third wave.According to the committee, the infection rate among children during the first two waves of the pandemic was 12 per cent. So far, only 5 percent of the infected children needed hospitalisation and less than 1 percent required ICU treatment, said an expert.
“There are around 25 lakh children in Bengaluru alone. So, if 2.5 lakh children get infected, 2,5000 of them may need medical intervention. So, at least 450 ICU beds with oxygen will be needed,” the expert added. “It is a rough estimate and the same calculation can be done for the state as well,” the committee has told the government.
Dr Sanjay K S, Director, Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health, told TNIE that children are the most vulnerable as they are not vaccinated against Covid-19. “Preparations should be made well in advance as we have seen cases of children developing multi-inflammatory infections post Covid-19,” the doctor, who is also a member of the paediatric advisory committee, added.While the committee has expressed relief that the State Government has already started setting up Covid Care Centres (CCCs), it has also recommended for peripheral vaccination at the earliest — jabbing all those who handle children, including parents, grandparents and other family members, attendants and teachers in schools, drivers, helpers and others.With experts suggesting that most of the Covid-positive patients don’t require hospitalisation and can be treated for symptoms at home, the committee members have recommended to the government to enhance surveillance.