Indians seem to be forgetting how miserable their lives had become just a couple of months ago when the second wave of COVID-19 had wreaked havoc, killing our loved ones and forcing us to knock from door to door for the arrangement of basic healthcare facilities.
As soon as the number of cases started dropping, people have once again started taking probably the deadliest virus in the history of mankind very lightly. The government lifted the curbs on travelling and visiting public places and people just lost control and thronged the hill stations and other tourist destinations completely ignoring every norm of social distancing.
The most unfortunate thing seems to be that the people did not learn anything from their mistake that they made after the first wave had started subsiding.
Why should we be worried?
The newly sworn-in Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has taken charge at a time when India is recording about 40,000 COVID-19 cases on a daily basis. With the experts claiming that the third wave is “inevitable”, it is not going to be easy for him to manage horrifying days in the offing.
Although India’s daily cases have started dropping, the third wave has appeared to have set in on July 4. A senior physicist, who has thoroughly analysed the trend of COVID-19 in India, has claimed that July 4 seems to be very similar to what it looked like back in February this year when the second wave had set in.
In another study conducted by the State Bank of India (SBI), the third wave, which is expected to be 1.7 times deadlier than the second wave, might hit India by the second week of August and possibly will reach its peak in September.
One expert is of the opinion that the 3rd wave will not be as severe as the 2nd. But we cannot be too sure, because another expert has brought to everyone’s attention the possibility of a new variant that has a capacity to overpower the immunity produced by vaccination and previous infection.
Nearly 40 crore people in the country are vulnerable because they haven’t yet formed immunity against COVID-19.
Moreover, the Union Health Ministry has also warned that there has been a slowdown in the decrease in cases and a slight increase in the positive cases. Maharashtra, Kerala and some states of the Northeast are already witnessing a rapid rise in COVID positive cases.
However, according to AIIMS chief Randeep Guleria, we can postpone the arrival of the third wave and even ensure it is not as deadly as the second wave if we adopt COVID-specific protocol.
What measures the government is taking to handle the third wave?
Learning something from past experience, the government is making some efforts to strengthen its healthcare infrastructure, which seemed to have completely collapsed during the second wave of COVID-19.
Vaccines being our strongest shield against the virus, the government is planning to inoculate all adults above the age of 18 years by December this year. Ironically, not only the people but the authorities also seem to be becoming complacent, as India has seen a decrease in average weekly inoculation in the last couple of weeks.
The government, however, is ramping up preparations to ensure adequate oxygen supply. A plan has already been prepared to set up 1,200 Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Oxygen generators.
More importantly, the government has to prepare more strategies to make people aware of the potential damages the third wave can cause. Plus, inoculating as many people as possible should be the government’s topmost priority to build maximum immunity against the third wave.
ICMR chief Balram Bhargava has highlighted that the third wave is not a future challenge for us but how we react to it will define our situation. He has also said that instead of highlighting the wave aspect, our focus should be on following the COVID-appropriate behaviour to contain its spread. Dr Guleria further stated that mutations of the virus can make coronavirus more infectious and can set India back by making goals of herd immunity unreachable in the short term. In such circumstances, people need to cooperate with the governments by adopting all safety measures.
Additionally, the experts have advised keeping a close watch on the positivity rate, especially when it goes beyond 10%.
Even if the authorities execute all their responsibilities accurately, they would not be able to stop the third wave from causing damage unless we support them in the cause. We should not violate the COVID protocols like wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, not going out unnecessarily, avoiding crowded places, etc. If we do not follow these norms, there is nothing that can stop us from getting into the same situation we were in a few weeks back.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.