Third coronavirus wave in 6 to 8 weeks: AIIMS chief
A third wave of coronavirus infections in India is now unavoidable and could hit the country as soon as six to eight weeks, AIIMS chief Dr. Randeep Guleria said today. The vitality of the new wave, however, would depend upon the vaccination coverage and the level of adherence to COVID-19 protocols. Many Indian states have begun reopening after lengthy lockdowns over the second wave.
'We don't seem to have learned from second wave'
"As we have started unlocking, there is again a lack of COVID-appropriate behavior. We don't seem to have learned from what happened between the first and the second wave," Dr. Guleria told NDTV. "It will take some time for the number of cases to start rising at the national level. But it could happen within next six to eight weeks...may be a little longer."
What can be done to reduce the impact?
Dr. Guleria highlighted it is instrumental to follow COVID-19-appropriate behavior such as social distancing and wearing face coverings to slow the spread. "It all depends on how we go ahead in terms of COVID-appropriate behavior and preventing crowds." He also suggested that local-level lockdowns in any part of the country, which sees a rise in positivity rate beyond 5%, should be imposed.
Some experts projected third wave may hit by October
Dr. Guleria has offered a more pessimistic estimate about the third COVID-19 wave than some experts had earlier projected. According to a recent opinion survey of 40 healthcare specialists, doctors, scientists, and virologists from around the world, a new wave was expected to hit the country around October, Reuters has reported.
Will the new wave be more dangerous for children?
A recent seroprevalence study was done by the World Health Organization and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on 10,000 samples. Citing that study, the Indian government has made it clear that the level of antibodies was quite similar among both adults and children. Hence, the new wave is not expected to affect a certain age group more than the other.
India's devastating second wave of COVID-19
India faced the world's worst coronavirus outbreak over the past couple of months and its handling of the disease got marred by acute shortages of necessities such as hospital beds, drugs, vaccines, and medical oxygen. Daily cases in India had peaked at 4,14,000 in early May. The situation has since improved, with the country's daily cases hovering around 60,000 over the past few days.
How is vaccination drive going in India?
India has three approved coronavirus vaccines - the indigenously-developed COVAXIN, Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield, and Russia's Sputnik V. More than 26 crore total vaccine doses have been administered in India, however, only 3.5% of the population is fully vaccinated. The Indian government aims to inoculate all Indian adults by the end of this year. Meanwhile, there is no approved vaccine for children in India as yet.