Amid a rapid spike in Covid-19 cases in Bengaluru, as many as 472 children below the age of 10 have been reported positive for Covid-19, since the beginning of this month. Of the infected children, 244 boys and 228 girls have been infected from March 1 to March 26, the official data showed.
According to experts, children have been getting exposed to Covid-19 because of the reopening of schools. They are also more vulnerable than others as there is no vaccine for children yet.
The daily coronavirus cases among children were limited to eight or nine during the early days of March, but it has steadily risen to 46 on March 26.
Why are children more vulnerable to coronavirus?
Children are now vulnerable because they are constantly exposed to outdoor activities, functions and gatherings, as also schools reopening for a certain age group, which was not the case last year due to lockdown, experts told PTI.
“There is more and more exposure of children because of the opening of schools, also a lot of functions and gatherings. Earlier they used to be protected, but since they are exposed to several of these events, the risk has also gone up considerably,” said Dr Giridhara R Babu Professor and Head Lifecourse Epidemiology, Public Health Foundation of India.
The epidemiologist added that children, in many cases, may also be spreaders among family members. “…children going to schools or indulging in outdoor activities on contracting the virus from others, there is a high possibility of them spreading to others, like family members, friends,” he added.
Further, he said children are also easily vulnerable as it is difficult for them to maintain physical distance and wearing masks for long.
“As one of the measures to control the spread among children, we have recommended closure of schools for students other than those who have public exams”, Babu said, adding, “We have even recommended that they should be passed to the next grade without examination, but the government has to make a decision.”
Lockdown in Bengaluru
As coronavirus cases in Karnataka rise, state Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar hinted at reimposing lockdown-like restrictions for the next few days. Suhdakar expressed disappointment over people’s complacent behaviour as many people were not following corona norms, not wearing masks or maintaining social distancing.
“If the cases further go up, we will have no other option. It will become inevitable for not just me but the Chief Minister too to consider a lockdown. Several states have already imposed a lockdown/partial lockdown. That is why we are seeking people’s support and hope they will cooperate with us in containing the spread,” the minister said.