Third wave of COVID-19 inevitable in India, warn health experts
According to experts, third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic will severely impact children
The government has warned that a third wave of COVID-19 is inevitable considering the ongoing surge of infections in the country. Addressing a press briefing on Wednesday, K. VijayRaghavan, principal scientific adviser to the government, stressed the need for updating COVID-19 vaccines to tackle new virus strains and mutations.
“A phase three is inevitable, given the higher levels of circulating virus,” he said. Noting that there is no clear-line on the emergence of the third wave, he called for proactive measures to prepare for the upcoming waves and vaccine upgrades.
“Previous infections and vaccines will cause adaptive pressure on the virus for new kinds of changes which try to escape, and, therefore, we should be prepared, scientifically to take care of that,” VijayRaghavan added.
He underlined that the scientific community is mapping all possible changes in the virus to understand how the changes in virus could affect immune and vaccine evasion. It will help in ensuring robust preparedness and appropriateresponse to tackle the new wave.
VijayRaghavan said several factors resulted in the second wave and the emergence of new strains was one of the factors. In this regard, he stressed the need for adhering to COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and getting vaccinated.
Reportedly, medical experts and scientists are studying the reasons for the unprecedented surge in COVID-19 infections in India, particularly in the aftermath of the emergence of the B.1.617 variant of the disease. Notably, the UK variant is being considered one of the reasons behind the flood of infections in India.
Addressing the press briefing alongside VijayRaghavan, Dr. Sujeet Kumar Singh, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Director, affirmed that theauthorities are closely monitoring the virus, its impact, transmission and response to the vaccines. He explained that the Health Ministry and NCDC is regularly sending written communications to all states and Union Territories, stressing for implementing more stringent measures to tackle the spread of the virus.
“The States have also been advised to keep strict surveillance in the districtsreporting new variants of concern and take up stringent public health measures, including contact tracing and genome sequencing of positive samples of persons having history of international travel,’’ Dr. Sujeet added.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to prepare for the third wave with a scientific approach to vaccinate all people.“The third surge in India which is around the corner according to experts will affect children. We need to plan for this in a scientific way and thus make arrangement,” a SC bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah said.
The apex court was hearing a case on Centre’s allocation of oxygen to Delhi. During the hearing, the SC asked the Centre to revamp its strategy to adopt pan-India approach for distribution of oxygen across the states amid the approaching new wave in the country.
Currently, India is grappling with a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic which has stretched the country’s healthcare infrastructure to its limit.