Covid-19: As crowds swell, AIIMS director warns of early 3rd wave – Times of India

NEW DELHI: A third wave of Covid-19 is inevitable and could hit the country earlier than expected, AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria warned on Saturday. He said it usually takes 4-5 months for a subsequent wave to peak.
“But given the way people are crowding in the markets and malls without following any Covid-appropriate behaviour, I feel a third wave may hit earlier, possibly in 12 to 16 weeks,” he said. Earlier, while speaking to a TV channel, he had said that it could come as early as 6-8 weeks.
He explained that the Delta variant, which is highly transmissible and is supposed to be responsible for the devastating second wave, continues to pose a high risk to a large section of the population that is not vaccinated and hasn’t been exposed to the virus yet. “There are also reports of cases due to a Delta plus variant. If we don’t follow Covid norms, cases may start rising again,” he said.
Several countries, including the United States of America and the United Kingdom, are witnessing a rise in Covid-19 cases caused by the Delta variant. The UK, in fact, recently decided to postpone lifting of lockdown restrictions fearing another wave of cases due to the new variant.
The highly transmissible variant, first identified in India, now makes up 99% of fresh cases in the United Kingdom, according to news agency PTI.
Public Health England (PHE), which has been tracking variants of concern (VOC) on a weekly basis, said its data shows an increased risk of hospitalisation with Delta VOC compared to Alpha, the VOC first detected in the Kent region of England.
It also pointed to its previous findings that two doses of a Covid vaccine give a “high degree of protection” against hospitalisation from the Delta variant.
India reported its first case of Covid in January last year. Cases of the viral infection peaked in September with nearly one lakh reported in a single day.
From the middle of September last year to the first week of February this year, there was a steady decline in cases which reached about 10,000 cases daily. One can say that the second wave started from the second week of February when new cases started increasing steadily once again. It reached a peak in the second half of April, and by April-end the cases had touched about four lakh daily. From May first week, Covid cases have been on the decline.
Delhi recorded its biggest single-day jump of over 28,000 cases on April 20. It registered a record 448 deaths on May 3. In the past two weeks, there has been a steady decline in new cases in Delhi as well as in the country following which many states have lifted or eased lockdown restrictions.
“Since unlocking has started, we are seeing a huge rush in markets and malls and few people are following Covid-appropriate behaviour. Our vaccine coverage is also low. Together, this may lead to an early onslaught of the third wave in India,” an expert said.
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