Closing of schools not a right decision: Dr Prabhat Maheswari on COVID19 rise

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Dr Prabhat Maheshwari

Rohit Shishodia

Closing schools during COVID surges were not a wise decision, says Dr Prabhat Maheshwari, Chief, Neonatal & Paediatric Critical Care of Artemis Hospital Gurugram.

“The issue of closing schools that repeatedly comes up during the pandemic, in my view is not the right decision,” he said.

Dr Maheshwari, who is also an expert in paediatric infectious diseases, said that confinement of the children at home during the COVID pandemic has resulted in the emergence of many avoidable health issues.

“Closing of schools has resulted in children facing many more problems than getting infected by COVID,” he pointed out.

“In the past two years the reporting of anxiety and obesity related issues have become very common among children, due to their remaining confined at homes,” Dr Maheshwari added.

“Many children are falling victims of vitamin D deficiency, depression,” he further added.

“Schools are not just for studies, they are the centres where kids interact with each other, engage in collective activities and undergo personality development process,” he stressed.

Stating that online studies cannot address the issue of personality development and that he is in strong favour of children attending schools, Dr Maheshwari said, “Everywhere across the world the schools have reopened; in fact, some countries, especially the Scandinavian countries like Denmark and Sweden closed their schools for a very short period of time, even during peak surges, and the children there did not report any unusual rates of infections.”

“It is not that if you do not send the kids to schools, they will not get infected; kids mostly get infected at home, from their parents, who bring the infections home at the first place,” the infectious disease expert said.

“If you look at the serosurvey reports, 70 to 80 per cent of the children in our country showed seroprevalence during the second wave itself; from where they got infected because at that time they were not going to schools,” he asked.

 “The global experiences tell us that children have much less severity, compared to adults because of COVID infections,” he said while talking to Drug Today Medical Times recently.

They required much less hospitalisation or shown the long COVID related issues compared to adults,” he added.

“The number of children with COVID who required hospitalisation was less than five per cent of all children who needed to be admitted during the pandemic when you compare the total number of kids who required hospitalisations because of all viral infections put together,” he further pointed out.

“While we do not close the schools for other viral infections, so there is no point in closing because of COVID,” Dr Maheshwari said.


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