The third wave of Covid-19 infection in the country is inevitable. It is likely to hit the country by October this year. As many as 40 healthcare specialists from around the world recently took part in a survey with regard to the influx of the deadly third wave. They noted that the third wave should be better managed than previous outbreaks, considering the increase in the pace of vaccinations in India.
However, they added that Covid-19 will remain a major public health concern in our country for at least another year. However, it is hard to say exactly what will happen. If the next six to eight weeks are risky for us, we need to avoid wrong behaviour that may inflict the virus. If we remain negligent, it will be taken as total avoidance of what happened between the first and the second wave.
Again, crowds are building up and people are gathering. This will lead to a rise in the number of cases at the national level. As the unlocking process continues, a lack of Covid-appropriate behaviour can be seen. Lifting of lockdowns in many parts of the country may relieve people, but the spread of the virus cannot be restricted. Covid cases have declined steadily across the country with a reduction in the number of deaths, yet, the number of new Covid cases has not minimised. The daily positivity rate stays below 5% .
Vaccination remains the core weapon against the virus and increasing the gap between the two doses of the vaccine may not be a bad approach to provide more people with protection, but this task is the main challenge. A new wave can usually take up to three months to spread.
So, we need to adhere to Covid-appropriate behaviour to ensure strict surveillance. Last time, we saw a new variant that came from outside and developed here, leading to a massive surge in the number of cases. We know the virus will continue to mutate. Aggressive surveillance in hotspots is urgently required. The gap between two waves is shortening and it is worrying.
“During the first wave in the country, the virus was not spreading as rapidly. All that changed during the second wave as the virus became much more infectious. Now, the Delta plus variant that’s spreading is much more infectious. An even faster spread is likely,” said Dr Guleria explaining that we need aggressive genome sequencing to see how the virus is behaving. Does the vaccine efficacy come down, does the monoclonal antibody treatment work? To achieve all of that, we need to have a large or very good network of labs to study the data.
A brutal second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic was seen in in April and May this year, claiming a massive number of lives daily. To add to the woes, there was a shortage in oxygen supply. There needs to be an aggressive surveillance strategy at Covid hotspots and lockdowns in case of any significant surge. The moment a significant surge in cases is noted in a particular area and positivity rate goes beyond 5%, area-specific lockdown and containment measures must be implemented.