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India’s Battle Against COVID-19: How Is The Country Preparing For The Third Wave Of Coronavirus? Experts Explain

Experts have warned that there may be a worsening of COVID-19 outbreak as soon as this month. How is India preparing for the third wave?

India’s Battle Against COVID-19: How Is The Country Preparing For The Third Wave Of Coronavirus? Experts Explain
Highlights
  • Daily positivity rate in India is 2.8%, below worrying 5%
  • The next wave is likely to be smaller than the second wave: Experts
  • 10 states in the country are reporting an upsurge of Covid cases: Centre

New Delhi: Five months after the last wave started, the daily infections in India seem to have plateaued to around 40,000 daily new cases and for the last five days, about half of the total cases are coming from Kerala. The number of tests has increased from 1.15 million about one week ago to 1.43 million on August 2. The country’s test positivity rate which is the number of positive cases per 100, stands at 2.4 per cent which is much lower than the worrying 5 per cent. According to a mathematical model by researchers who accurately predicted the tapering of the second wave, India is likely to see a rise in COVID-19 infections building into a new, though smaller wave that may peak in October. The researchers said that the country may see a worsening of its outbreak as soon as this month, with the next wave peaking in the best-case scenario with less than 100,000 infections a day. Here is how the states in the country preparing for the next wave of Covid.

Also Read: 4 More Indian Pharma Firms Expected To Start COVID Vaccine Production By October-November: Union Health Minister

The central government has warned that 10 states in the country including Meghalaya, Odisha, Assam, Mizoram, Tamil Nadu, Manipur, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh. The central government has directed these states to ramp up testing in order to control the transmission. While talking to NDTV about how to decrease the number of cases of Delta variant of Covid, Dr PS Narang, Associate Director, Pediatrician, Max Healthcare said,

The ‘R’ or Reproductive number is increasing and is very worrying for the Delta variant. It is the number of persons one infected person that spread the disease to. So, if the R number goes below one, this would mean that the incidences of Covid will decrease and the only way to bring it down for the unvaccinated persons is to follow the covid safety norms and simultaneously keep on vaccinating others.

On the state of rising infection in Kerala, Dr Padmanabha Shenoy, Rheumatologist, Kochi said that the state is currently reporting the ‘R’ number of 1.28 which has increased from 0.7 two months ago. He said,

There has been a 28% increase in cases in Kerala in the past couple of months. It is partly because we are doing more tests now. Previously Kerala used to test 1.1 lakh, now last week the average was 1.6 lakh test per day and on some days we have even touched two lakhs. So, partly the increase in cases is because of an increase in the number of tests. Kerala’s test positivity rate has also increased and is 12.6 per cent, quite above the national average. So, the situation is worrying. The genomic surveillance data has shown that over 90 per cent of cases are of Delta variant.

Also Read: Ramp Up COVID Vaccination, Complete Sero-survey, Central Health Team Asks Kerala Government

He further said that in the northern part of the country, the states have shown a high prevalence of Covid in the serosurveys, almost 70-75 per cent but in Kerala, it is just over 40 per cent which indicates that a majority of Kerala’s population is still susceptible. He said,

What we need to focus right now is to delay the peak and flatten the curve. Also, we need to ensure that the mortality rate is low. A lot of deaths happen when there is a lack of medical infrastructure and lack of oxygen but Kerala has never witnessed those kinds of scenes because what the state is doing is flattening the curve. But even though the curve is flattening, the curve if still there and is hitting the economy very badly.

Dr Shenoy emphasised controlling crowds during the days of lockdown relaxations. He said that usually on Fridays, people go to markets in large numbers to be prepared for the weekend lockdown. He suggested that there is a need to rethink the lockdown strategies.

According to Dr Chandrashekhar Tulsigiri, Consultant Critical Care, Hiranandani Hospital Vashi – A Fortis Network Hospital, the state of Maharashtra, another state that is worst hit by Covid, is planning to lift some Covid measures and will be implementing containment strategies as required in each district. He said,

Given the situation before and after the first wave, every time the daily cases of Maharashtra have been very high. In every four patients in India, one is from Maharashtra. If you look at the affected population in Maharashtra itself, generally where the population is more and the density of population is more, there the Covid infected population is also more.

He suggested that the number of cases should be watched closely in each district so that the trend can be identified and addressed as per the situation in the district instead of implementing a blanket rule for the whole state.

The experts also recommended that the states must ramp up their medical infrastructure and set up oxygen plants also.

Also Read: COVID-19 In India: The Rise In R-Value Is A Cause Of Concern, Says Dr Randeep Guleria, AIIMS

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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