3rd wave of Covid-19 may not occur everywhere, explains govt's expert
K Vijay Raghavan, the principal scientific advisor to the government, on Friday clarified his earlier comment that a third wave of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is inevitable in the country and said such a wave may not take place everywhere in the country if adequate precautions are taken. "It may not take place at all if precautions are taken. The pandemic has different peaks and falls across the country," the expert said, adding that the only condition for such waves is the presence of a susceptible population.
"It may be useful to talk about the location, timing and intensity of infections instead of waves and their number, although the latter is in common usage. If we take strong measures, the third wave may not happen at all places or indeed anywhere at all. It depends on how effectively the guidance is implemented at the local level, in the states, in districts," Raghavan said, referring to Covid-19 appropriate behaviour, local lockdown measures etc.
The "insidious, asymptomatic" transmission of the virus can be stopped, if the guidance on testing, treating, containing is followed, he said. "This sounds difficult, it is difficult but we can and must do it," he added.
"Very simply put, the infections rise when the virus has the opportunity to infect people. When the virus runs out of opportunities, infections fall," he said. Explaining, the principal scientific advisor said that when a large number of people is vaccinated against the virus or is following social distancing and other precautions, the virus runs out of opportunities.
But when the virus runs out of opportunities, it does not mean that it has been eliminated. If new opportunities are given to them, cases will again rise. And new opportunities can arise if people become complacent, and if people think the pandemic is over, the expert explained.
"The frequency and the size of these ups and downs may be reduced as this is in our hands. Remember, asymptomatic people can also transmit the infection. This is all the more reason why you should maintain social distancing and proper hygiene," he said.
This comes as a departure from his earlier comment where he warned the country of a third wave of the pandemic. In his earlier warning, he said a third wave seems inevitable given the high levels of the virus in circulation, though it's not clear when the third wave may attack. As people are building immunity against the virus, the virus is finding new ways to infect people. That's how the virus has worked so far, Raghavan earlier said.