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India Should Prepare for Third Wave of Covid-19 in October, Health Experts Say | India News

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BENGALURU: A third wave of coronavirus infections is likely to hit India in October, and while it is expected to be better controlled than the last outbreak, the pandemic will remain a public health threat for at least another year, according to to a Reuters poll of medical experts.
The June 3-17 quick survey of 40 health specialists, physicians, scientists, virologists, epidemiologists, and teachers from around the world showed that a significant increase in vaccines will likely provide some coverage for a new outbreak.
Of those who did venture to make a prediction, more than 85% of those surveyed, or 21 out of 24, said the next wave will arrive in October, including three that predicted it in August and September 12. The remaining three said between November and February.
But more than 70% of experts, or 24 out of 34, said that any new outbreak would be better controlled compared to the current one, which has been much more devastating, with shortages of vaccines, drugs, oxygen and hospital beds, than the current one. smallest first increase. in infections last year.
“It will be more controlled as the cases will be much less because more vaccines would have been implemented and there would be some degree of natural second wave immunity,” said Dr. Randeep Guleria, director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. (AIIMS).
So far, India has only fully vaccinated about 5% of its estimated eligible population of 950 million, leaving many millions vulnerable to infection and death.
While most health care experts predicted that the vaccination campaign would increase significantly this year, they cautioned against early removal of the restrictions, as some states have done.
When asked if kids and those under 18 would be most at risk in a possible third wave, with nearly two-thirds of experts, or 26 out of 40, saying yes.
“The reason is that they are a completely virgin population in terms of vaccination because there is currently no vaccine available for them,” said Dr. Pradeep Banandur, head of the epidemiology department at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS).
Experts warn that the situation could get worse.
“If children become infected in large numbers and we are not prepared, there is nothing I can do at the last minute,” said Dr. Devi Shetty, a cardiologist at Narayana Health and advisor to the Karnataka state government on planning for the response to a pandemic.
“It will be a completely different problem since the country has very, very few beds in pediatric intensive care units, and that is going to be a disaster.”
However, 14 experts said the children were not at risk.
Earlier this week, a senior health ministry official said children were vulnerable and susceptible to infection, but that analysis has shown a less severe health impact.
While 25 of the 38 respondents said that future variants of the coronavirus would not render existing vaccines ineffective, in response to a separate question, 30 of the 41 experts said that the coronavirus will remain a public health threat in India for at least one year. As many as 11 experts said the threat would last for less than a year, 15 said for less than two years, while 13 said for two years, and two said the risks would never go away.
“Covid-19 is a problem with a solution, as it was obviously easy to get a vaccine with a solution. In two years, India will probably develop herd immunity through the vaccine and exposure to the disease,” said Robert Gallo, director of the Institute. of Human Virology. at the University of Maryland and International Scientific Advisor, Global Virus Network.



Times of India

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