The argument that children and youngsters are more susceptible to COVID-19 infection is not true. We had been talking about reverse quarantine earlier to keep the elderly safe. It was meant to avoid our parents at home contracting the virus from youngsters and others who go out for various reasons.
The spurt in children and youngsters testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 may be attributed to the elderly, who have been inoculated against COVID-19, going out and becoming carriers of the virus. Children, who had remained at home, are also now stepping out in numbers. This, too, could have contributed to the increase in positive cases.
As mentioned earlier, the vaccinated elderly going out could become carriers and asymptomatic, and unknowingly pass the virus on to the children. Though there is no need for concern over children getting infected, it is better to prevent them from catching the virus. The elders should ensure that they do not pass on the virus, though the infection in children rarely gets aggravated.
The presence of the mutant variant of the virus has been found in Kerala. Still, it is not a matter of concern. Though it spreads over a wider area, it is not known to be severe.
Adherence to a precautionary protocol such as wearing masks, washing hands frequently and maintaining social distance helped in checking the spread of the virus to a greater extent during the first wave. It was also found that up to 89 per cent of the population had not been infected. The situation, however, has now changed.
The way forward to keep the virus away is to strictly follow preventive measures. People should not shy away from getting vaccinated. Though those vaccinated, too, could contract the virus, it is unlikely to be severe or fatal.
(The writer is Chairman, State Medical Board for COVID-19)