By Karan Manral | Hindustan Times
NEW DELHI, India, 18 June 2021
A group of medical experts surveyed by news agency Reuters has projected that India’s next Covid-19 wave, the country’s third, would arrive here by October, adding that though this third wave would be handled better than the second wave, the Covid-19 pandemic would remain a public health concern for at least one more year.
40 healthcare specialists, doctors, scientists, virologists, epidemiologists and professors from around the world were questioned by Reuters for this snap survey, which was conducted from 3-17 June. Among those who predicted there would be a third wave, more than 85%, or 21 out of 24 respondents said it would hit by October, including three who projected it to arrive by August and 12 who gave a September timeline. The others predicted an arrival of the third wave between November and February next year.
However, 24 out of 34 or more than 70% experts were of the opinion that any possible third wave would be controlled better than the second one. The second Covid-19 wave was at its peak in India in April-May and, during this period, the country registered record daily cases and deaths due to the viral disease. A shortage of vaccines, oxygen, medicines and hospital beds was also reported during the second wave. Since then, however, the daily cases and deaths have seen a steady decline, partly due to restrictive measures imposed by state governments.
“The third wave would be more controlled as more vaccinations would have been rolled out, leading to a lesser number of cases. Also, there would be some degree of natural immunity from this wave,” Dr Randeep Guleria, director of Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said.
The experts, however, seemed divided over the impact of a potential third wave on children and those below the age of 18. While 26 out of 40 experts said children would be most at risk, the remaining 14 said this would not be the case.
30 respondents projected that Covid-19 would continue to be a public health threat in India for at least another year.