Reserve 10% ICU beds for children, open schools with caution: Lancet

Says kids at risk must be vaccinated on priority

Reserve 10% ICU beds for children, open schools with caution: Lancet

Photo for representational purpose only

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 13

The Indian taskforce of the Lancet Covid Commission on Sunday said paediatric Covid cases would rise with the subsequent waves and India should reserve at least 10 per cent of the adult Covid ICU beds for children and 20 per cent in Covid wards.

In its paper on paediatric Covid protocols, the commission advised caution on reopening of schools, urgent prioritisation of vaccinations for children with comorbidities and massive ramp up of pediatric infrastructure with critical and oxygen support.

The commission says though there is no substantial evidence suggesting that children would be more affected in the third wave, pediatric cases are anticipated to rise corresponding to the increase in absolute numbers and the wave.

The publication in the Lancet coincided with a declining second wave with India reporting 80,834 fresh cases today — the lowest after 71 days and a daily positivity rate of 4.25 per cent.

“The proportion of children of all confirmed cases may also be expected to increase because a substantial proportion of adult population is expected to be completely vaccinated. We urge the government to earmark at least 10 per cent of the adult Covid ICU beds for children, 20 per cent in Covid wards, with sufficient isolation rooms so that healthy parents can stay with their children as needed,” said the commission based on recommendations of top experts from India.

It has suggested cautious reopening of schools saying the reopening should be dependent on the transmission rates in the local community and compliance to the mitigation measures, especially in older children.

Mortality rate low in below-10 age group

  • Among the confirmed cases of Covid in India, less than 12% were children and young adults under 20 years and only 3-4% were children under 10 years
  • Among hospitalised children, mortality rate in below-10 kids was 2.4% and 40% children who died had comorbidities

Most patients asymptomatic

As of early June 2021, SARS-CoV-2 has caused 175 million cases and 3.7 million deaths across 220 countries. Children under 20 years of age comprise 1-2 per cent of all cases worldwide. A majority of patients are asymptomatic and mild, and can be managed with standard home isolation protocols. Increasing incidence has been correlated with increasing age.

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