|Year : 2021 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 111-112
Mask up: Getting ready to prevent the third surge
Department of Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry, Sharad Pawar Dental College, Sawangi, Maharashtra, India
|Date of Submission||21-Jun-2021|
|Date of Acceptance||21-Jun-2021|
|Date of Web Publication||29-Jul-2021|
Department of Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry, Sharad Pawar Dental College, Sawangi, Maharashtra
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Baliga S. Mask up: Getting ready to prevent the third surge. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2021;39:111-2
As India grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, the health-care systems are reportedly battered in the face of the fierce second wave. A declining trend of the trajectory of COVID cases in India has been projected by scientists behind the “Sutra” model – susceptible, undetected, tested (positive), and removed approach, estimating a flattening of the surge by the end of July 2021. Nevertheless, there are raised expectations and concerns of a third COVID wave occurring toward the end of the year. The extent and severity of the third wave depend on variable factors such as the number of the vaccinated populace, maintenance of social distancing norms, evolution of the virus, and its early detection; for containment.
Amidst these concerns, predictions about the likelihood of the third wave having a greater impact on children are to be considered and preparedness ensured. Children are generally asymptomatic and seldom require hospitalization after acquiring COVID-19 infection. Even in infected children, the symptoms are usually mild; the presence of mild and less frequent cough may not transmit infected particles into the surroundings. In addition, due to the early closure of schools, community contact is less, and therefore transmission of COVID infection from children to the community is less likely.
Pointing to the lack of evidence regarding the possibility of a third wave causing severe infection in children, the Indian Academy of Pediatrics states it to be highly unlikely. In a study published in pediatrics, contact tracing of children aged <16 years with confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection to identify the infected household contacts revealed that, only in 8% of cases, the child was the suspected index case, and the rest of the children developed symptoms after or concurrent with the adult household contacts. The authors concluded that the child is not the source of infection, and children do not transmit but acquire coronavirus disease from adults. Similarly, other studies from China and Australia also have reported less transmission of COVID infection from children to adult households. Nevertheless, it is necessary to take all due precautions not to make this vulnerable population a part of the transmission chain.
Several theories have been put forth to describe the exclusiveness of SARS-CoV-2 in children. Pre-exposure to milder coronaviruses leading to antibody production, an abundance of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptors, trained immunity, an efficient immune system with a greater amount of lymphocytes and T cells, and a balanced immune response are all factors contributing to reduced susceptibility to COVID infection in children.
In times of the pandemic, it is very important to follow all the guidelines for dental settings including proper screening for symptoms of COVID-19 and exposure. On the one hand, it is necessary to create a process for dealing with the exposure at the same time, and the use of personnel protective equipment and all other protective measures including the necessary social distancing is also essential. Some of the reasons why preventive care may not be sought after by parents may be, the fear of risk of exposure to the coronavirus disease, inability to get appointments from pediatric dentists, as only emergency care is being offered during the times of the pandemic. Consultation and abiding by the practices recommended by local authorities are important to curb the spread of COVID infection. Wearing of masks for children aged 12 and above has been advocated by the advisory from the WHO and UNICEF, especially in areas of widespread transmission and where a safe distance of 1m cannot be maintained.
In the face of documented transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in children being infrequent, the accumulating evidence and collective experience all point to the fact that children are less important drivers of the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
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