Assam has recorded an alarming 96.67 per cent rise in COVID-19 infection among children and teenagers below 18 years from the first wave to the second wave of the pandemic even though the state as a total has seen only a 27.31 per cent rise in the total number of cases.
The state has also witnessed over three times increase in deaths of the below 18 year age group of which 55 per cent were toddlers, 0 to 5 years age group.
The statistics send an alarming message at a time when the Delta Plus variant, which has already made its presence in the country and is predicted to be a reason behind a possible third wave, according to researchers, may infect children more than the Delta variant that has been found in the second wave.
Assam Health Minister Keshab Mahanta had earlier said in the samples sent for analysis between April and May had 77 per cent presence of the Delta variant.
According to statistics released by the National Health Mission (NHM) in Assam, a copy of which is available with News Move, the number of Corona virus-infected between the age group of 0 to 18 years was 17,457 in the first wave that has increased to 34,333.
This consisted of 3,014 toddlers and 14,443 minors and teenagers between 6-18 years old in the first wave (March 31, 2020 when the first case was reported to March 2021) that has now increased to 5,778 toddlers and 28,555 of the rest below 18 in the ongoing second wave (April 1 to the last available data on June 25). This means a 91.70 percent spike in the infection of toddlers and a 97.71 per cent spike among those between 6-18-year-olds.
The rise in death among toddlers was more alarming. While only three toddlers had died in the first wave, the second wave took 19 lives, an over six times increase. Of those between 6 to 18, it went from six deaths in the first wave to 15 in the second, a two times rise.
Among the hotspot districts of contamination among the below 18 age group, Kamrup Metro tops with 5,346 cases followed by Dibrugarh with 2,430 case, Nagaon with 2,288, Kamrup Rural with 2,023 and Sontipur with 1,839 cases.
NHM had on Monday released a press intimidation saying, “From 1 April till 26th June, 2021 the State has reported 34 deaths among the above category, many of them having comorbidities like Congenital Diseases (heart, kidney, rare malformations, etc), especially among less than 5 years.”
Delving on the reason behind more children getting infected in the second wave, NHM mentioned that the cases of children contracting the highly transmissible disease from their parents or other family members at home isolations are particularly high.
With schools and colleges shut due to the COVID-induced restrictions, the chances of transmission through other means are very bleak.
Assam as a whole has recorded 27,8069 new cases in the second wave of COVID-19, 59,657 cases more than the first phase, 2,18, 412 cases.