'Not a challenge': Govt reacts to SBI's August prediction of Covid-19 3rd wave
Waves are not a challenge, health minister joint secretary Lav Agarwal has said, adding that the challenge is the fact that the second wave of the pandemic in India is not yet closed.
Reacting to the SBI research report that the Covid-19 third wave will arrive in August and peak in the month of September, joint secretary of the Union health department Lav Agarwal has said waves are not the challenge. "Waves are more of a post-facto analysis of what is happening in the system. Waves are the interaction between the virus and the human, Waves will come, the virus will be mutated, people will develop immunity and the impact of a wave will depend on all these factors," Agarwal said on Tuesday.
"The first challenge is that we have not yet closed the second wave. And the next challenge is human behaviour -- by the time a possible future wave comes at all, how much we can mitigate the impact of it through our behaviour, by maintaining social distancing, by adhering to containment rules etc., is the challenge," Agarwal said, adding that instead of looking at a possible wave, more focus should be on immediate local-level action. "If we see Covid-19 cases are increasing at any particular area, we should be able to contain the spread of the infection by imposing immediate restrictions," the secretary said.
"Instead of saying X study told this, Y study told this, what is critical is containing the infection whenever there is any surge in any part of the country," Agarwal said.
Though the Covid-19 situation has improved across the country with daily Covid-19 cases falling sharply, northeast states are reporting a higher number of infections. At present, there are 73 districts in the country which are reporting more than a 10 per cent test positivity rate.
Director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research Dr Balram Bhargava said, "Close watch on the test positivity rate should be maintained. This helped us during the second wave as well. The moment the case positivity rate reaches beyond 10 per cent, those places need to be investigated and contained."
The threat of a third wave of Covid-19 is looming large in India as several other countries are under the grip of a resurging third wave. Respiratory infections come in waves and that is why the scientific community in India is also certain that the advent of the third wave is just a matter of time. While a Reuters poll predicted that the third wave of the pandemic will come by October, SBI Research has claimed that the cases will start rising by August. However, the impact of the third wave will be lesser as many Indians will be protected by vaccination.