India is waiting for brighter days and lesser tears as the country fights the second wave of pandemic furiously. The pandemic has brought great destruction taking hundreds of lives and leaving people numb but as if that was not enough, a third wave of covid-19 is yet to come.
As suggested by the doctors and researchers this wave is predicted to be aggressive and inevitable. Studies based on the first two wave’s impact on the country suggest that the coming wave would be more crucial for children. As most of the adults would get vaccinated but clinical trials for kids are still in process.
Time and again the health ministry and the doctors are asking people to be prepared for the third wave to come as it is better to be safe than sorry. As we know for fighting a war, you need a better understanding of the enemy. So let us start by first understanding what a “wave” is!
What exactly do people mean by a wave?
A wave can be generally described as the rise and decline in the trends of an infection over a long period of time during a pandemic. The growth curve looks similar to a wave, which justifies the name. The population usually experiences a few viral infections every year which are seasonal and recurring. The infection rises, falls, repeats and the cycle continues.
In case of covid-19, the wave is persistently recurring and many areas have seen periods of surge followed by a lull.
Generally, when we talk about the third wave we talk about the country as a whole. While India has just seen two waves of the pandemic, when we talk about smaller regions of the country the number of waves may vary. For example, Delhi has already suffered four waves as the curve of corona cases for the capital has reached its peak for four times. On the other hand states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh are yet preparing for the third wave to come.
Taking India in account, the second wave hit the country with a peak reported on May 6, but the country has now reached a declining phase and the daily case count has started to decline from about 4.14 lakh in the peak to 2.6 lakh now.
Hence a third wave can be identified when a rise in the daily cases starts again and continues further for weeks or months.
Third wave – The inevitable?
While the happy news of states ready for unlocking is hovering in the air, experts suggest that it still isn’t the right time for lowering your guards as another wave is surely to come causing much more loses than the previous two. Learning from the European countries the experts are suggesting that the country should start working on the resources and strengthening the medical infrastructure in order to treat a much higher number of patients.
According to research, each fresh wave is expected to be a little weaker than the previous. The reason behind this theory is that during the first wave the disease is fresh and has the whole population susceptible to be infected but till the second wave the individuals infected in the first wave become immune to the disease and hence the number of people that can be affected by the disease and hence making the following waves weaker.
But in case of India, this theory seems to have failed completely. When the corona cases started to decline in mid-September some people thought it to be the end of pandemic. The reason of this decline was and is still unknown. This disbelieve turned into a bad dream when the loss in the second wave was much higher than estimated with a positivity rate that was four times more than the previous wave.
The loss from the second wave is yet to be soaked in, but the mistakes are surely not to be repeated. The planning has started and the children are to be put in safety and supervision by their parents while the government has already started to work on pediatric beds and vaccination for parents with children under the age of 12.
There is still a hope that the third wave might be smaller since the population affected by the second wave was vast and many people have been vaccinated so the number of susceptible people left is really very low. But there is also a chance that gene mutations in the virus may change the rules again.
It is really difficult to tell for sure if the third wave will come or when the third wave will hit the country. But as taught by the previous experiences it is better to be cautious is the need of the hour and ignoring the situation is probably not the best choice at the time.
As the pandemic spread like wildfire in the second wave, hospitals and government were struggling to provide the patients with all the medical resources, but this time they have already started to prepare for the third wave. Different states are taking different measures to survive the third wave, some of them are listed below;
- Maharashtra has decided to increase the number of pediatric Covid beds from 600 to 2300, with 500 beds in Mumbai alone.
- The DRDO in Uttarakhand which is apparently building 2 hospitals has decided to provide the facility of housing the mothers of patients in the pediatric Covid section.
- Tamil Nadu and west Bengal have planned treatment protocols focusing specifically on pediatric treatment.
- Odisha government is also allowing one of the parents of the Covid-affected kid to stay with the child in the hospital.
- Jharkhand government has contacted the experts from Delhi and Bangalore for suggestions to fight Covid in the anaemic and stunted children of the state.
- Punjab is setting up a training module for the doctors and healthcare workers.
- Goa is thinking of making the vaccination of lactating women their priority while UP government has already announced to focus on the vaccination of parents with children under the age of 12.
Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand and Delhi the governments of all these states are working to form task forces of experts specifically to handle the pediatric cases and to draw pediatric concerns.
Most hospitals are planning to build and developing the pediatric Covid cares including pediatric intensive care, sick newborn care units and neonatal intensive care units.
Governments are not just working on pediatric care but also to improve the infrastructure of the health sector of country with west Bengal developing oxygen plants, UP asking medical colleges to build a plant and Maharashtra initiating”Mission Oxygen” with an aim of increasing the production of oxygen from 1250 MT to 3600 MT, West Bengal is also working on building separate healthcare network dedicated to Covid cases only. The country is preparing for the third wave efficiently and the people should do the same.