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HomeEditorialThe third wave of COVID is coming with rains, floods and pollution

The third wave of COVID is coming with rains, floods and pollution

Variants are only one factor of the huge second wave of the COVID-19 that is sweeping the country now, the government's principal scientific advisor K VijayRaghavan said.

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third wave of covid, covid-19, covid, coronavirus, sars-cov-2, sars, virus, infection, covid in india, research
A patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is evacuated from a hospital after it caught fire in Virar, on the outskirts of Mumbai, India, April 23, 2021. | REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

If sufficient measures are implemented in terms of social distancing, wearing masks and avoiding crowds, it declined COVID but unfortunately, the elections rallies to Kumbh Mela and above all the celebrations made serge in cases. When – inevitably – people who never respected social distance, mask-wearing or enhanced hygiene get to stroll about sharing diseases.

People thought they have developed herd immunity and now no virus can affect them and they will easily overcome the virus as they did last year but in reality, the previous year, we were not saved by any herd immunity or any other measure but only by an early lockdown which helped in curbing the spread of coronavirus.

This mistake caused the number of cases to rise rapidly and soon it became a burden on an already stressed healthcare system which causes the overexploitation of resources and eventually we ran out of oxygen supply. The government lacked in anticipating the second wave which led us unprepared and under-sourced; sooner we fell short on oxygen, the number of beds, medicines, and medical equipment.

In addition to this people started black marketing of beds, oxygen, vaccines and also plasma by worsening the already worse situation. This caused an increase in the fatality rate as the people who could have recovered started fading due to lack of oxygen support and other medical facilities.

Because people in India, especially the educated elite behave imprudently. Soon as the situation normalizes caution is thrown to the wind. I have seen so many examples I don’t even know where to begin. The only language people in India understand is astral fines and severe lathi-charge breaking their bones. Every time restrictions have been lifted, there is a dramatic surge in cases, but that was before a rollout that has seen the most vulnerable third of the nation protected.

From the figures on reduction of transmission, the impact of idiots assuming if the figures fall COVID-19 got bored and wandered off to chase butterflies, ought to be reduced by two thirds. A second wave was predicted from the beginning, and a “lockdown, was only a temporary measure while working out how to handle the virus more sustainably.

The second wave so far seems pretty bad when it comes to the number of cases. However, in terms of overloaded hospitals and mortality, it looks a little better, at least right now. So, we got an impression that the virus has done, as most viruses do, and mutated into a less deadly but more virulent version. Now the third wave is approaching.

Until a vaccine is widely spread, we will probably not go back to “normal”. And the SARS-CoV-2 is a virus we will have to learn to live with, but hopefully more as an annual “influenza” variant. As the virus mutates further, the third wave of COVID infection is inevitable and it is necessary to be prepared for new waves, the government’s Principal Scientific Advisor K VijayRaghavan cautioned the nation.

The first wave halted as a combination of a standing level of immunity in the population and cautionary steps. The second wave started because new opportunities for the spread of the infection came up. When the guard drops, the immunity is sometimes not enough to stop the infection from spreading. Many people get infected until a new threshold of immunity is reached.

Such a second wave is typically larger than the first wave. However, multiple parameters can change in small amounts and add up to a second wave which is much larger than the first wave. In early 2021, a very large number of people all over the world had been infected. As the immunity increases, the virus does not have the opportunity to grow.

Phase three of COVID is inevitable given the high levels of circulating virus, but the time scale is not yet clear. On immunity getting eroded by the evolution of SARS-CoV-2, experts said it is positioned somewhere between measles and influenza. Measles immunity never gets eroded while that for influenza gets depleted rapidly. The viral evolution of SARS-CoV-2 is somewhere in between but will change.

With active cases climbing to 34.87 lakh in India, the top scientific officer said it was not expected that the second wave would hit the country with such ferocity. Given the high levels of circulating virus, the third wave of coronavirus is inevitable but the time scale is not clear, the government’s principal scientific advisor K VijayRaghavan explained how the biology of the virus has changed between the first and the second wave.

In the third phase of the pandemic, there will be adaptive pressure on the virus for new kinds of changes as a large number of the population will get vaccinated. Variants are only one factor of the huge second wave of the COVID-19 that is sweeping the country now, the government’s principal scientific advisor K VijayRaghavan said on Wednesday. As new variants of a virus are natural, the existing variants will make way for new variants which may or may not be more virulent, but variants should not make any difference in people’s primary approach to combat COVID-19, which should consist of maintaining social distancing.

While in 2019 and 2020, the virus continued to be a generalist, like a key that can be fitted into many locks, the virus in 2021 became much fitter and efficient as it is trying a “hit and run lifestyle” to gain entry to the human body. In the coming days, the virus will become more efficient as immunity, vaccination is building adaptive pressure on the virus.

Useless preventive measures are encouraging local and national leaders in many countries to significantly overstep their boundaries. Sooner or later, probably sooner, the average citizen is going to start rebelling. Governments have lost significant credibility on this issue, and this is leading to real and potential social breakdown.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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