It may appear like the worst is over, with restrictions relaxing in several states and tourists flocking to hill stations. However, Professor Samiran Panda, a leading scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), predicts that the third wave of COVID-19 would arrive in India around the end of August, with about 1 lakh cases each day.
Professor Panda, speaking about the severity of the third wave, says that if the virus does not further mutate, the scenario will be similar to the first wave, according to a report by the India Today. However, if it does mutate, things might get a lot worse.
Professor Panda is the director of the ICMR’s epidemiology and communicable diseases division.
While the third wave may not be as devastating as the second wave in India, Panda believes that a low vaccination rate and loosening of restrictions may result in an increase in cases. The Imperial College London and the ICMR collaborated on mathematical modelling to arrive at this conclusion.
“Looking at the present situation, one can assume that there will be the third wave,” Professor Panda said. He further added that non-pharmacological interventions, like avoiding mass gatherings and wearing masks will help contain the spread of the infection.
Professor Panda agreed that India requires a strategic immunisation plan and stressed that travel should be minimised as much as possible because it causes population density shifts.
He cited an ICMR research that looked at breakthrough infections and found that 86 percent of them were caused by the Delta variant. Getting vaccinated, according to Panda, helps to reduce the infection’s lethality and makes the third wave less dangerous.
Along with Professor Panda, NITI Aayog’s Dr VK Paul has also issued a warning saying the next 100-125 days are critical in the fight against COVID-19.