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How Prepared Is India For COVID-19 Third Wave

Central and state governments have said that they are more prepared this time around to tackle the third wave in India. Here is a look at some of the numbers shared by the government showcasing the preparedness of the country to beat COVID-19

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How Prepared Is India For COVID-19 Third Wave
Highlights
  • More than 52% of its adults have been partially vaccinated: Health Ministry
  • The plan is to vaccinate 944 million adults as soon as possible: Ministry
  • India might experience local surges rather than one big wave: Expert

New Delhi: COVID-19 infections have started to rise once again in the country and experts warn of another big jump around October, India’s peak festival season. Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr Samiran Panda also said on Monday (August 30) that the states which did not face an intense second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic are now showing an increasing trend of COVID-19 cases, stressing on the fact that this is an early sign of the third wave.

However, many health experts are predicting that the third wave will be better controlled as compared to the second wave in India. Dr Randeep Guleria, Director at All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) says, “It will be more controlled, as cases will be much less because more vaccinations would have been rolled out and there would be some degree of natural immunity from the second-wave.”

Also Read: COVID-19 Explainer: What Is The New Covid Variant “Mu”? WHO Warns It Could Be More Resistant To Vaccines

Even, central and state governments have said they are more prepared this time around. Here are some numbers shared by the government in Parliament as of July, 2021:

Hospital Beds – As per the government, the dedicated hospitals to treat COVID patients have jumped 27 times to 4,389 beds now from April 2020, last year. More than 18,000 other centres have been set up mainly for less-serious patients.

– Oxygen-supported beds have increased eight-fold to 416,947 beds now from April 2021

– Total isolation beds jump to 1.8 million from 10,180 in March 2020

– ICU beds rise to 124,598 NOW from 2,168 in March 2020

– The government also said that testing capacity has jumped to more than 2 million samples a day from 30,000 in April 2020

Preparations For The Future Wave

The government said that almost all states are setting up special paediatric wards as experts warn unvaccinated children could be vulnerable to any new mutations in the virus.

Along with this, the centre is aiming to vaccinate a majority of its 944 million adults with at least one dose before another COVID wave. As per the data, more than 52% of its adults have been partially vaccinated so far.

NDTV speaks with Dr Jayaprakash Muliyil, Ex-principal of Christian Medical College, Vellore and Epidemiologist about India’s current COVID-19 scenario.

“At the moment, we have a large number of Indians who were previously infected with the virus, making them immune to the disease for the longer period of time, sort of working as a vaccination,” he explains and goes on to add

When we talk about the infection numbers, the focus should be on deaths, if we are able to prevent mortality or not. Infections by inlarge are mild or moderate that is not a public health issue, the death prevention is and that is why we need to step up our vaccination programme and the strategy should now focus mainly on the same.

Also Read: Breakthrough COVID-19 Infections Found In 25 Per Cent Healthcare Staff: Study

He further said that COVID-19 waves are difficult to understand and added,

Diseases waves are different. For a disease to spread at a larger rate, we need a more susceptible population. Our latest sero survey and the health data every day tells us that the proportion of the susceptible people is coming down on a day-to-day basis. So, I think, in near future, India will experience surges in some areas, like we are seeing currently in Kerala.

Also Read: Increasing Number Of COVID Infections In Some States Presently Indicate Third Wave: ICMR’s Dr Samiran Panda

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.  

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