A Lurking Third Wave

INDIA on Wednesday recorded 46,164 new Covid cases which is a 22 percent increase from the previous day. 607 more people died during this time taking the total fatalities to 4.36 lakh. The country's overall case load now stands at 3.25 crore. However, close to 70 percent of the new Covid cases are from Kerala alone.  The second worst-hit state is Maharashtra, which reported 5,031 new infections. The daily positivity rate at the national level remains less than 3 per cent for the last 31 days and is presently at 2.58 per cent. In the rest of the country,  the number of infections has drastically come down. In J&K, the last 24 hours have  added just 126 cases.

But this is no reason to be complacent. If people don’t observe precautions, the situation could still get out of hand. The pandemic remains very much around us. According to chief scientist of the World Health Organisation Dr Soumya Swaminathan India may be entering the endemic stage of Covid which means the point when a population learns to live with a virus.  She said that given the size of India and heterogeneity of population and immunity status in different parts of the country, the situation may continue like this with ups and downs in various parts of the country.

That said, the government's effort should be to root out the pandemic in the country. And this will require not only observance of a Covid-appropriate behaviour by the people but also a strict enforcement of the Standard Operating Procedure by the government. At the same time, the vaccination needs to be speeded up.

As per data compiled by Johns Hopkins, India has administered over 60 crore doses of the anti-coronavirus vaccine, second only to China. Experts are calling for expediting the vaccination to avert a scenario like the second wave. More so, when the third wave is expected to be much more virulent and likely to affect children more than the adults.

The need for caution thus can’t be overemphasised. In Kashmir too where on ground, the Covid protocols are observed in breach. The situation has, more or less, gone back to square one. The people seem to have concluded once again that the pandemic is all but over. And which is not the case – albeit, the second Covid-19  wave may be waning. The  government’s priority therefore should be to focus on vaccination. It is only when there is 100 percent vaccination that the pandemic could be effectively controlled.

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