As India prepares itself for the third wave of COVID-19, an SBI report issued on 1 June 2021 warns that it could be just as severe as the second wave and last for an average of 98 days.
The report draws its prediction based on the international experience of the third wave in top countries. However, we can avoid a repeat of the mortality rate seen in the second wave if we are better prepared for the eventuality with rigorous vaccination and better health infrastructure.
“We find that if serious cases decline from 20% to 5% (due to better health infrastructure and rigorous vaccination) in the third wave, then the number of deaths in the third wave could significantly reduce to 40,000 as compared to current deaths of more than 1.7 lakh,” the report said.
Furthermore, children could be the next vulnerable age group, and their vaccination should be considered a priority. “With around 15-17 crore children in the 12-18 age bracket, India should go for an advanced procurement strategy like that adopted by developed nations to inoculate this age group,” the SBI Ecowrap report stated.
While in the first wave, urban and semi-urban areas were affected the most due to international travellers introducing the virus, the second wave saw the rural and semi-rural area being affected more, leading to a lowering of overall economic activity.
Even as the second wave has started to wane, several chief ministers have begun shoring up their defences in anticipation of the new wave.
The month of May saw 8000 children falling sick of Coronavirus in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. Amid the predictions of the third wave affecting more children, a special children’s ward has been created in Sangli city in preparation. CM Uddhav Thackeray, in an address to the people of Maharashtra, said people should remain vigilant as they do not know when the third wave may hit.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal gears up to take the first steps towards protecting the capital city from the third wave after the second wave hit it with a vengeance.
Kejriwal took to Twitter, announcing that arrangements for the third wave are already underway with 6000 oxygen cylinders imported with the help of HCL and Give India. The CM has also set up two meetings today with the expert committee to discuss further preparations, his office tweeted.
In an interview with PTI, Niti Aayog member V K Saraswat said, “We expect by July-August, we have to take all preparations because the third wave is likely to start from September-October onward.”
The second wave has started to ebb out after having a catastrophic effect on the country. With about 1.63 million active cases as of 4 June, it is finally on the decline.