Watch | COVID-19 and children

A video explainer on how SARS-CoV-2 directly and indirectly impacts children around the world

Updated - August 30, 2020 12:17 pm IST

Published - August 30, 2020 12:02 pm IST

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept paediatricians busy with worried parents seeking advice for the best possible way to protect children from SARS-CoV-2.

Studies have shown that children infected with COVID-19 generally tend to have milder or no symptoms compared with adults. Because of this, children may play a major role in community-based viral transmission.

A recent study by Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Mass General Hospital for Children has found that infected children have a viral load comparable with adults in ICUs for COVID-19 treatment.

According to the study, those aged 0-22 years have a significantly higher viral load during their early infection phase. The study also stated that the age of children did not have any impact on viral load.

COVID-19 mortality is significantly lower in children. But a small sub-set of children tend to develop severe cardiac complications, including hypotension, shock, and acute heart failure.

Apart from the threat of being infected by the virus, children worldwide have been profoundly affected by the social and economic upheavals caused by COVID-19.

A study published in The Lancet journal states that the global prevalence of child wasting in 2020 could rise by 14.3% due to COVID-19. Child wasting, which means lower weight for height, is a strong predictor of mortality among children under five.

The disruption of food systems and impeded access to health care services due to the pandemic could result in an additional 6.7 million children under the age of five suffering from child wasting .

The worldwide closure of schools and the adoption of remote learning has made accessing education harder for some.

In poor households, the COVID-19 crisis could lead to a rise in child labour and increase the risk of all forms of malnutrition.

In India, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights has issued an advisory for care and protection of children moving with migrant families, children living on streets and childcare institutions during the pandemic. 

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