The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Assam has shown an alarming rise in the number of children being infected by the virus. The prominent doctors of the country raised their concern on the issue that the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic may affect the children. Assertions have been made that the third wave of the pandemic has started, after children got infected in different parts of the state. In addition to the state capital of Assam, Guwahati, few other states in the Upper Assam area have witnessed unexpected rise in the COVID-19 cases among the children; however, an opposite scenario has been observed in Barak Valley.
As compared to the other parts of the state, the number of infected children in Karimganj, Cachar and Hailakandi is much lesser. Amid the rising panic among the people regarding the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the children, the principal of Silchar Medical College & Hospital (SMCH), Dr. Babul Kumar Bezbaruah has some positive assertions to convey. Dr. Bezbaruah asserted, "The number of COVID-19 positive cases among children in Barak Valley is not alarming. As of now, we observe no sign of the third wave in the valley."
During the second wave of the pandemic, a total of 74 COVID positive children were admitted at SMCH. A total of 3 children died in the hospital. The Principal of SMCH, Dr. Bezbaruah, along with the vice-principal of the medical college, Dr. Bhaskar Gupta, presented a set of datas regarding the issue. They informed that a total of 2,054 COVID-19 positive patients were admitted at the hospital during the second wave of the pandemic, out of which 74 cases were those of children. This infers that only 3.6% of the total COVID-19 positive cases, admitted at the hospital, were children. Besides, the number of children currently under COVID treatment in the hospital is meagre as well. Only 2 COVID-19 positive children are under treatment at SMCH.
Regarding the 3 cases of COVID-19 positive children, who died at the hospital, Dr. Bezbaruah said, "Those 3 cases of death were not directly due to COVID-19. Each child was affected by some other disease." He added, "One among the 3 showed signs and symptoms of encephalitis, while another was suspected to be a patient of septicemia." Dr. Bezbaruah asserted, "In brief, the children didn't succumb to COVID-19 but they were certainly infected by the disease."
Despite the fact that the number of COVID-19 positive cases in Barak Valley is currently not alarming, the SMCH officials have adopted alertness on the basis of the assertions made by the experts. If the number of COVID infected children in the valley increases in the upcoming times, SMCH has all its resources prepared for the same, as informed by the officials. Following the directives of the Chief Minister of Assam, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, a new facility, with 40 ICU beds, is being set up in the hospital, to treat the COVID positive children. Dr. Bezbaruah informed that the construction related works for the ICU facility is being carried out with urgency. "Meanwhile, if the COVID cases among children increase rapidly, we will arrange the 39 beds of the Ophthalmology Department for their treatment.
In an answer to a question, Dr. Bezbaruah informed that the number of patients, diagnosed with COVID-19 in Barak Valley has come down, and thus the positivity rate in the 3 districts has decreased significantly. He added, "However, that has not resulted in a decrease in the number of COVID-19 admissions at SMCH. The reason can be the decision of the Government to restrict the provisions of home isolation, and consequently, the patients are now resorting towards the hospital."