India to hit by third COVID-19 wave in 6-8 weeks: Medical experts
While India is still recovering from a devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, health experts are warning of a third wave of infections that is likely to hit the country in the coming weeks.
According to a Reuters poll of medical experts, more than 85 percent of the respondents said that India could see a third wave of COVID-19 by October, while others are predicting it to hit the country by August-September.
AIIMS chief Dr. Randeep Guleria has also warned that India could witness a third COVID-19 wave in the next 6-8 weeks. In a recent interview with NDTV, the AIIMS chief noted that the new wave in India is “inevitable”. He further called for reinforcing efforts to vaccinate the maximum population against COVID-19 in order to minimize the impact of the approaching wave.
“Unless we’re vaccinated, we’re vulnerable in the coming months,” he affirmed.
In view of the new virus strains being discovered around the world, Dr. Guleria stressed the need for intensifying compliance with precautionary measures and preventing large crowds to limit the spread of the virus. In addition, he recommended imposing mini lockdowns in those regions which witness surge in infections and rise in COVID-19 positivity rate beyond 5 per cent.
“A new wave can usually take up to three months but it can also take much lesser time, depending on various factors. Apart from Covid-appropriate behavior, we need to ensure strict surveillance in hotspots,” Dr. Guleria said.
As per media reports, India’s financial capital Mumbai could see a third COVID-19 wave as perilous as the second wave by September. The conclusion was reached based on projections of the Brihanmumbai MunicipalCorporation (BMC). Taking note of the approaching risks, the state government has already started preparing to effectively address the third wave.
Medical experts have pointed out that the impact of the third COVID-19 wave in India will significantly depend on vaccination coverage around the country.In this regard, Dr Guleria noted that the new wave could be handled better than the current wave with the help of aggressive vaccination efforts. A prominent degree of natural immunity achieved from the second wave will also support India’s fight against the new wave of infections.
As of July 19, India has administered more than 27 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines. While more than 22.1 crore individuals have received the first dose, a little over 5 crore people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This is about 5% of the 950 million eligible population of the country.
Amid fears of a new wave, a majority of health experts have urged against easing curfew measures and restrictions to control new infections.
Meanwhile, a report by The Lancet COVID-19 Commission India Task Force has confirmed that there is no evidence so far indicating that the third wave will have a greater impact on children than adults in the country.