soumya: Chances of Covid-19 spread in schools low: WHO chief scientist | India News – Times of India


TAMIL NADU: Tamil Nadu should consider reopening schools for all classes, WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan has said, citing sero-survey results and huge learning loss over past 18 months.
Addressing an event here on Sunday, Soumya said one of the main findings of ICMR’s fourth sero prevalence study conducted in June and July was that nearly the same percentage of children as adults had antibodies against Covid-19 despite schools remaining closed. School education minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, who inaugurated “Every child a scientist” programme at MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, said CM MK Stalin would take a final call on reopening classes.
ICMR’s survey found that sero-prevalence in the country was 67.6%, while it was 57.2% in 6-9 age group and 61.6% in the 10-17 age group. At the function, Soumya said antibody prevalence among kids was because of the community exposure as kids go shopping, playing and mingling with others. “The chances for Covid infection spreading in schools are low and if we follow protocol like improving ventilation, social distancing, sanitation, it should be possible to open schools.”
There is no scientific basis to claims that the next Covid wave will affect children, she said. “Children are not vaccinated. So, it’s possible that the proportion of infection will change, but severity of disease is very minimal among children when compared to adults. Among the younger age group, less than 1% of children are getting admitted to the hospitals.”
Clinical trials are being conducted for two vaccines for children in the country by Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila companies.
Earlier, the WHO chief scientist said that the children had been away from school for the last 18 months and there has been a huge loss of learning.

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