As India begins to unlock, new concerns are emerging of a possible third wave of COVID-19. It has come to the fore in Maharashtra. The health department has flagged concerns of the Delta Plus variant, sparking the third wave as early as in the next couple of weeks. In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Dr Chandrakant Lahariya, epidemiologist & expert, Public Policy and Health Systems, and Dr Shashank Joshi, member of Maharashtra COVID Task Force, assessed the risk and the preparedness to deal with the ongoing pandemic.
First up, Dr Joshi said, “As we are unlocking and Mumbai is in level-III. In the last couple of days, we have seen some unusual overcrowding, without masking. So, when the easing of restrictions is happening, there has to be some responsible behaviour, which is absent. Therefore, the only red flag is that there is hardly any adherence to COVID-appropriate protocol. Vaccination, as well as masking, are a must, as we very mindfully unlock the various geographies.”
“The mistake we made between the first and second wave should not be repeated in the gap between the second and third wave. Therefore, if we mask appropriately and vaccinate with both doses in the next 3-4 months, we should be in a better situation. The likelihood of a third wave is between September and December, based on predictive models, which have been published, but that could get shortened if there is no adherence to COVID-appropriate protocols or behaviour,” said Dr Joshi.
Meanwhile, Dr Lahariya said, “Delta Plus variant is not very different from the Delta variant, which caused the second wave in many parts of the country. The only difference is the clinical outcome – the Delta Plus variant is being reported to have little resistance towards monoclonal combination antibody therapy, but that is only for the sick patient. However, it won’t be correct to say at this point that the Delta Plus variant can lead to the third wave.” He further said that there is no scientific data to prove more children will be affected in the third wave.
For the entire discussion, watch the video.