WORLD COVID-19's third wave fear looms large in India: experts

WORLD

COVID-19's third wave fear looms large in India: experts

Xinhua

07:58, August 24, 2021

Fear of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic looms large in India even as an expert panel set up by an institute under the federal government suggested three likely scenarios for the third wave based on the level of unlocking process, reported the Press Trust of India (PTI) on Monday.

A health worker takes a nasal swab sample from a passenger for COVID-19 testing at the airport in Prayagraj District of Uttar Pradesh, India, Aug. 13, 2021. (Str/Xinhua)

The report has been submitted with the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for further action.

Quoting prediction an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), the panel of said that in scenario one the third wave could peak in October with 320,000 positive cases per day.

And in scenario two, the third wave could peak in September with likely half a million positive cases per day, while in scenario three the third wave could peak in late October with 200,000 positive cases per day.

The experts panel constituted by the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), cited different reasons for all the three scenarios such as the emergence of new and more virulent variants.

It also said that children will have a similar risk like adults since paediatric facilities, doctors and equipment like ventilators, ambulances, etc. are "nowhere close to what may be required in case a large number of children become infected".

The report observed that only around 7.6 percent (104 million) people are fully vaccinated in India, and if the current vaccination rate is not increased, the country could witness 600,000 cases per day in the next wave.

The NIDM is now taking a clue from several warnings indicating an imminent third wave, trying to understand them and prepare for the third wave. With this backdrop, it engaged with multiple stakeholders from diverse backgrounds in an attempt to formulate consolidated recommendations for actions that can prevent or mitigate an impending surge, said the PTI report.

The report further said that there isn't sufficient data to back widespread fears that children will be hit more severely in the anticipated third wave of the pandemic. However, as the virus continues to evolve, this is going to be a major challenge for children as there is no approved vaccine for children in India yet (first week of August), it added.

Quoting data from the federal health ministry, it said that out of all the children hospitalized due to COVID-19, 60 percent to 70 percent had comorbidities or low immunity.

According to a parliamentary standing committee report in 2015, there is an 82-percent shortage of paediatricians in the country's primary health centers and up to 62.8 percent of positions for paediatricians in community health centers were vacant.

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