With Covid-19 cases steadily declining and states embracing unlocking, a possible third wave has entered in scientific and public discourse. If a third wave of the pandemic hits India, its impact will largely depend on vaccination coverage, which scientists have emphasised in their finding.
Is a third wave of Covid-19 expected in India ?
New Delhi [India], June 21: An IIT Kanpur study done by Prof. Rajesh Ranjan and Mahendra Verma, along with their team, on Monday said the third wave peak of COVID could be around September – October this year.
What the government said:
The issue of a possible third wave has been addressed by government experts who emphasised that the impact of it will depend on whether the virus and its variants are getting any scope to infect people. “There will be variants. But there is no new way to fight any new variant,” Niti Aayog member (health) VK Paul said on Friday. The unlocking process should be measures, social distancing and other Covid appropriate behaviour should be followed, govt’s experts have said adding that the timing of the possible third wave can’t be predicted.
How India can prevent third wave of Covid-19 pandemic:
The Delta Plus variant of SARS-CoV-2 has become a worry for an anticipated third wave, which can be prevented or mitigated at least on the basis of lessons learnt from the past two waves. The Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 was responsible for towering the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The Delta variant had been first reported from Maharashtra last year. It is, however, not known whether the Delta Plus variant is more infectious or fatal compared to the Delta variant. Delta variant has been found to be deadlier and capable of causing more severe Covid-19, leading to higher rate of hospitalisation of patients.
TAKE BEHAVIORAL VACCINE:
Covid-19 pandemic rushed scientists into developing vaccines at the fastest speed. Efficacy of lab-developed vaccines differs for each candidate and against different mutant variants of SARS-CoV-2. However, behavioural vaccines offer best defence against all variants of SARS-CoV-2.
Behavioural vaccines include appropriate wearing of face masks, practicing Covid-appropriate hygiene and maintaining adequate physical-social distance. The Tana Bhagat community of the Oraon tribe in Jharkhand has shown how to beat Covid-19 without vaccines.
Staggered opening of marketplaces and offices can stop overcrowding of places. Both public authorities and private managements should opt for staggered timings and sites, including continued adoption of work-from-home mode to prevent the congregation of workforce in one place.
This is more important for offices requiring more indoor staff than those depending on field workers. Studies have shown that spread of Covid-19 is greater indoors as wind and sun rays help faster disintegration of SARS-CoV-2 outdoors.
‘Test, track and treat’ has been the mantra of health agencies across the world, including the World Health Organisation. But what has been observed is that this principle has remained mostly on paper and enforced less rigorously on the ground for various reasons.
As India is heading to another ebb of the pandemic wave, this could be the best time to ensure that Covid-management fatigue does not creep in as it happened on the retreat of the first wave. Fresh Covid-19 cases should be aggressively managed, contact-traced and treatment protocol thoroughly followed at the local level.
SPEEDING UP VACCINATION:
Despite frequent controversies over their efficacy and use of certain ingredients, and rumours taking cyberspace by storm, vaccines, according to health experts, remain the best hope against Covid-19.
Pandemics or epidemics are known to fizzle out when a population attains herd immunity, meaning the virus has no further scope of growth. Vaccines offer herd immunity artificially.
In absolute numbers, India’s vaccination speed looks impressive compared to other countries, but not in terms of percentage. India has roughly provided vaccination coverage to its 16 percent of eligible (above 18) population. In contrast, the UK has provided 59 per cent coverage, the US 51 per cent, Israel 62 per cent and even Brazil 22 per cent.
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