The Maharashtra state task force on COVID-19 warned of a potential third wave that could hit the state within the next two-four weeks if the swelling crowd in markets and streets over the last three days is taken as an indication.
Maharashtra had begun to gradually unlock two weeks ago, and curbs have been relaxed in over 15 districts and some cities like Nagpur and Pune.
These predictions were presented in a meeting to review the readiness for the anticipated third wave. The meeting chaired by CM Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday had task force members, state health minister Rajesh Tope and senior bureaucrats in attendance.
Data presented in the review meeting suggested that the total number of cases in the third wave could be twice that in the second wave, with active cases touching the 8-lakh mark. As many as 19 lakh cases were reported in the first wave, which more than doubled to 40 lakh in the second wave. Only 10 percent of the total caseload in the first two waves comprised children or young adults and this trend is expected to continue.
Dr Shashank Joshi, a task force member told Times of India, “The UK is facing a third wave within four weeks of ebbing of the second wave. We could be in the same situation if we don’t stay vigilant and practice COVID-appropriate behaviour.”
Dr Rahul Pandit, the task force member said, “How to keep wave 3 limited is in our hands. We must avoid crowded places and ensure double masking. If we give away basic cognizance, the third wave will be bigger.”
Epidemiologists are expecting up to 100 days between the peaks of the two waves or eight weeks from the decline of one wave to the next peak.
On June 16, the state recorded 10,107 positive cases and 237 deaths, while 10,567 patients were discharged. The total number of active cases now stands at 1,36,661.
As of June 16, Maharashtra has vaccinated 2,64,79,757 people and tops the list of states with the highest inoculation, as per government data. 28,01,117 individuals in the age group of 18-44 years have received jabs.
An SBI Ecowrap report had suggested that the third wave of COVID-19 could be as severe as the second wave and could last for an average duration of 98 days. It also noted that the death toll could be potentially reduced by ramping up vaccinations and improving the health infrastructure.