With the dip in COVID-19 cases across the country, many states have reopened or planned to reopen schools for students in a grader manner.
However, health experts have warned the governments against the resumption of schools.
However, Medanta hospital Chairman and Managing Director Dr. Naresh Trehan cautioned against the resumption of schools asking the government to wait for two to three months till the children get vaccinated against the deadly virus.
“I believe that we should be a lot more cautious. And the fact is that the vaccine is now around the corner because the drug controller just approved the Zydus vaccine. So even if people get one dose, we know that the protection goes up 30 per cent to 50 per cent,” Trehan said.
“So, we should be patient for another two-three months till the vaccine arrives, children get vaccinated, and then they should be allowed to go to school but it seems we are in a rush right now to open schools”, Dr. Trehan said.
Dr Trehan said that in case a high number of children fall sick, India does not have enough facilities to actually take care of them.
“We are gearing up but we’re still a long way away from having good facilities because we don’t have enough doctors who are paediatrics, enough ICUs for children and ventilators, We are preparing and the government is trying to ramp up the availability of all the facilities as fast as possible”, he said.
Citing an example of the United States where children got infected even after vaccination, Dr. Trehan said, “If you look at the history that what is going on in the US where schools reopened and also a large number of children have been vaccinated because vaccine became available soon.”
“The Association of Paediatrics in the US says that the number of cases after the schools have reopened has gone up from 38,000 per week in July to 180,000 per week in August,” Dr. Trehan said.
Talking about the strategy that needs to be followed before re-opening of schools, he said that every aspect should be looked into.
“Primarily, all the students should be vaccinated when they go to school. Apart from this, there should be proper ventilation, and all the precautions of social distancing and masking should be followed 100 per cent,” he said.
The doctor said there is a warning from Florida, which says that the hospitals are full of children, and they don’t have any facilities left.
“So, we have to look at it in perspective for India where children are not being vaccinated at all. We also have to take this fact into consideration that we may or may not have the luxury of open spaces,” he added.