The first wave of COVID-19 was marked by the death of hundreds of thousands across the world, with most casualties being senior citizens. However, it would be safe to say that the second wave made no such distinction and people from all age groups, including children, became victims of the global pandemic.
In India, COVID-19 orphans have become a well-known and extensively used term. Children have been one of the biggest victims of the pandemic. According to a PTI report, over 30,000 children have been orphaned due to COVID-19. But children have not only been at the receiving end of the pandemic, they have also at times been the victims in many instances.
However, it would also be wrong to say that the global pandemic has hit children hard: Among children infected with Covid-19, a large number will likely be asymptomatic or the extent of the illness mild, a new study has found as reported by The Print. Towards the end of May, AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria AIIMS Director had told Indian Express that though it has been said children will be infected the most during the third Covid-19 wave, the paediatrics association has stated that this is not based on facts.
Team EastMojo has collated data from all Northeastern states to find out how many children were infected by COVID-19 and the number of fatalities as of June 2021. Assam alone has reported over 34,000 cases of those below 18 years testing COVID-19 positive during second wave of pandemic.
Altogether 34,066 children below the age of 18 years have tested positive for COVID-19 during the second wave of the pandemic in Assam, Director, National Health Mission of the state, Dr Lakshmanan S said on Monday. This accounts for 12 per cent of the total cases reported since April this year.
A total of 5,755 cases are children below five years, whereas 28,851 are between 6 and 18 years. Of the 34,066 positive cases, 34 children, mostly with comorbidities, have succumbed to the infection, he said.
Most of them had comorbidities like congenital diseases of the heart, kidney, rare malformations and others, especially among those less than five years of age.
Kamrup Metro has the highest caseload with 5,346 children found to be infected by the virus. This comprises 10.04 per cent of the total caseload of 53,251 in the district.
Like every other state, Meghalaya felt the second wave much stronger than the first and the same was reflected in the number of children who were diagnosed with COVID-19. During the second wave in April, 6,140 below the age of 18 were infected by COVID-19, with eight losing the battle to the deadly virus. In the first wave, a total of 1,905 were infected in this group with four recorded deaths.
According to the state surveillance officer of Manipur Dr Somorjit Ningombam, two children below the age of 15 have succumbed to the COVID-19 virus this year. He also informed that 5,318 children contracted the virus, of which 2,756 are males and 2,562 are females.
In Arunachal Pradesh, 1,380 minors were infected by the COVID-19 virus during the first wave, out of which 702 were males, and 678 were females. Until June 16, 2021, 2,250 children have been infected by the virus with three total deaths being recorded.
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Mizoram’s COVID-19 cases in the state until June 20, 2021, stood at 12,315, out of which 2,262 were children.
Tripura’s COVID-19 nodal officer Dr Deep Kumar Debbarma, told EastMojo that 3,002 individuals under 18 years of age have tested positive so far, while three succumbed to COVID-19, including a 6-month-old baby who succumbed to the deadly virus after coming down with fever, shortness of breath and vomiting.
The baby died within two hours of arriving at the hospital, he added.
The Himalayan state has seen 1,200 children in the 0-15 age group test positive for the novel coronavirus.
As of June 4, the state reported a total of 3,029 cases of COVID-19 positive cases among people below the age of 20, including cases from the first wave. However, this data does not present the complete picture since it includes those above the age of 18 (thereby adults) and below the age of 20. Thankfully, the state has reported no casualties below the age of 18.