The Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet. While cases dipped in the middle of August, new infections have surged again with India recording 37,593 fresh cases in the past 24 hours. But even amid several reports and warnings regarding an imminent third wave in India, scientists and research institutions remain divided over the exact date and timing of the third wave, as well as its potency.
While some experts feel that the third wave is set to arrive anywhere between September and October, other experts studying recovery rate, positivity rate, and active case have claimed that it will take more time for the third wave to arrive.
So what do we know about the third wave so far?
What NIDM said:
A Ministry of Home Affairs’ expert panel has recently predicted that the third wave of COVID-19 would hit the country anytime between September and October.
A report by the National Institute of Disaster Management stated that the third wave is likely to surface by the end of October. The report, which was sent to the Prime Minister's Office also highlighted that though predictions about the third wave having a more severe impact on children were not substantiated with evidence, India's paediatric facilities were far from adequate if a large number of children do fall sick at the same time.
What ICMR said:
However, Dr Samiran Panda, Head, Epidemiology & Communicable Diseases Division of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has dismissed all these predictions and said that any speculation for any new wave for the whole of the country is incorrect.
Dr Panda spoke to Outlook and said that the spread of infection during the second wave was not evenly distributed in every district in the country.
That’s why, according to him, districts, where the spread was low, might experience an increase in the number of infections whereas those districts that reported high infection in the second wave will not witness a peak as high as that of the second wave.
What NITI Ayog said:
NITI Ayog chief VK Paul who is in charge of the Covid-19 task force formed by the central government has warned that the third wave could start in September-October. He predicted that India may witness 4-5 lakh daily Covid-19 infections in September. As per reports, Paul has asked the government to prepare 2 lakh ICU beds to meet the potential requirement.
What AIIMS said:
Earlier in June, Dr Randeep Guleria noted pulmonologist and the director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi had said that if Covid appropriate behaviour was not followed and crowding was not prevented, the third wave could strike the country in the next six to eight weeks.
What others said:
India’s scientific advisor Prof K. Vijay Raghavan had then said in a press conference that the country would face a third wave with possibly high mortality among children. Prof Raghavan never gave any scientific reasons that why and how it would happen.
(With inputs from PTI)