The third wave of COVID-19 might hit the country by August end, says Dr Samiran Panda, Head of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases, at Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). He warned states that witnessed the low impact of the first two waves of coronavirus might experience a severe third wave if restrictions are not maintained.
Dr Panda told ANI that it is important for each state to examine pandemics and take a call regarding the COVID-19 situation. “There are states where the first and second waves of COVID-19 had a low impact. If the restrictions are not maintained now, then these states may be severely impacted by the third wave,” he explained. “There might be a third wave as it is not inevitable than the second wave. If the third wave happens, it will hit sometime around August end, it is not inevitable.”
The epidemiologist highlighted that when and how are related to many factors which are not known to the full extent. “They say that the second wave is not over yet because there are fluctuations in the reported number of cases. The fluctuation certainly has to do with the test conducted and the reporting mechanism.” Dr Panda said the pandemic is taking a very heterogeneous course in states, so each state must look into their state-specific data and try to see at which stage of the pandemic they are in.
Dr VK Paul, NITI Aayog member (health) warned about the third wave. “Our population is still vulnerable. We have not reached herd immunity – not even through infection; not that we want to achieve herd immunity through natural infection. We are making continuous progress in vaccination. At least 50% of our vulnerable population is vaccinated. So we are still vulnerable. But the situation as of now is under control and we will have to maintain this situation.”
The expert has described the next 100 days as crucial to understand whether the third wave has arrived in India or not. The Health Ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal said waves are a post-facto evaluation of how we are managing the situation. “The intensity of the waves is more important than the number of the wave. So it does not matter whether it is the third of the fourth wave, as this is the natural interaction between virus and human beings.”