By now we are all aware that the 2nd wave of COVID-19 has arrived. According to the latest coronavirus news, several states have imposed renewed COVID restrictions and vaccination has been liberalized and accelerated so that more people can get the COVID vaccine as soon as possible.
The surge in COVID-19 cases in India has happened quite suddenly and has taken a lot of people by surprise.
It’s no wonder that people are asking what the second wave is, what triggered it, and will the same COVID precautionary measures we adopted throughout last year suffice? Read on for all the answers.
What is the second wave and what caused it?
India recorded the first cases of COVID-19 in March 2020 and then on until September of 2020, COVID cases continued increasing. After September, fewer cases began to be reported and the first wave of COVID officially began to decline. By the beginning of 2021, only a handful of cases were reported pan India, and normalcy was almost restored.
However, from February onwards, cases began to rise exponentially, and in 1 month (February to March) we recorded as many cases as in 6 months of 2020. This is the second wave because it is the second time that COVID cases are on the rise.
What exactly caused the second wave is unknown however, this second wave could have been triggered by a few new strains of the coronavirus including the UK virus, South Africa virus, and the double mutant. These mutants of coronavirus are very infectious and have a high R-value (the number of people who can be infected from one person).
2 other reasons why the second wave has spread like wildfire are –
- People’s apathy towards COVID-19 precautions like not wearing masks, not washing hands, not using sanitisers. (pandemic fatigue)
- Large-scale congregations especially during the election season and for certain ceremonies.
Why is the second wave so concerning?
The second coronavirus wave is of concern because this new mutant SARS-COV is very contagious and has learned to dodge our antibodies. Even the 18-45 age group, who supposedly has strong immunity, is susceptible. This group has been classified as the COVID-19 super-spreader. They are the ones who have to be out in public the most. And once they come home with the infection, they rapidly spread it to others in the house/apartment building/housing society. This new COVID-19 strain is also infecting children.
Are the symptoms of the second wave COVID infection the same?
Even though the new strains of COVID are accompanied by new symptoms, that does not mean the old symptoms are no longer seen. COVID positive people may still have a fever, body ache, loss of smell/ taste, soreness or dryness in the throat, runny nose, cough. This time, however, solitary symptoms may confuse people. For example, someone with diarrhoea may attribute it to a stomach infection but it is also now a symptom of COVID. Some new COVID-19 symptoms have been noticed. Sometimes just one of these symptoms is exhibited –
- Loose motion
- Body ache
How to keep ourselves safe from the new COVID-19 wave
The new double-mutated coronavirus too spreads through droplets from infected persons or through contact with contaminated surfaces. That is why the same precautions as before will help you now –
- Since this virus spreads through contact and is very contagious, you should only go out when necessary. Stay home at least for the next four weeks which are very critical.
- People who have to go out for work need to wear an N95 mask and a surgical mask over it. Stay masked the whole time you are outside. If the double mask seems too suffocating, wear the N95 masks and a face shield.
- If you are travelling by cab, turn the AC off and wind the windows down to allow air circulation. The driver must wear a mask.
- Use the lift only when you have to, like when you have to reach the top floor of a multi-rise or you are physically not in a state to take the stairs. Lifts can easily spread COVID if an infected person uses them. So, wear a mask inside the lift and do not talk to anyone else sharing the loft with you.
- Wear a double mask even if you are going out to your neighbourhood grocery store.
- Sanitize your hands when you touch a high-contact surface or any object outside your home.
- Wash your clothes and disinfect anything you were wearing/carrying when you went out.
- Go out only when absolutely necessary.
- Educate children because the new COVID-19 infects children.
- Get vaccinated as soon as you can. The COVID vaccine reduces the chances of getting infected and even if you do, the infection will not be serious.
If you notice anyone in your family or yourself showing the symptoms of COVID-19, practise home isolation and book a COVID test right away. Contact your doctor even before the reports arrive. Observe the COVID-19 protocol at all times.
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.