Is India On The Verge of COVID-19 Second Wave? Four Things To Avert

As the number of daily new cases continue to rise, fears of a possible second wave are gripping India. In fact, several nations across the world including United States and European countries have witnessed multiple waves which are normally the characteristic of a pandemic. India till now avoided second wave of COVID-19. Several explanations are given for this. The most prominent argument is that, India peaked in terms of daily new cases in the later part of the pandemic.

The union health ministry’s latest data reveals that about 125 districts in India have reported over 100% increase in Covid-19 cases over the last two weeks. The health ministry further said that there were 70 districts across 16 states where there has been 150% increase in Covid cases over the last two weeks. Also, 55 districts in 17 states have reported 100-150% increase in cases. On February 9, India reported 9,110 cases. But the daily new cases today stand at 28,902.

Four things should be immediately done to avert a possible second wave which at times can prove to be more lethal. The number of tests should be increased substantially. The RT-PCR test should form a sizeable chunk of these tests whose share has, of late come down to 40 percent in few states.

Second, the pace and coverage of vaccination has to be increased. Third, the social behavior that marked the early stage of pandemic like wearing of masks, maintaining social distance, use of sanitizer etc, need to be promoted again. This is essentially so as top scientists observed that it is not any new mutated variant of SARS-Cov-2 causing COVID-19, leading to the spike in positive cases in many parts of the country but it is most likely due to the social and behavior laxity of the general population. However, “if we continue to allow the virus to spread, new variants are likely to emerge and may lead to worse outcomes”, cautions CCMB director Rakesh Mishra.

Fourth, the genetic profiling of the virus has to be stepped up to identify mutations, if any.

-By Prof K Nageshwar

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