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Second Covid-19 wave amid winter chills

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: While  there seems to be some sense of relief over the reduction in the number of Covid-19 cases across the country, it’s not the time to drop guard yet, as a second wave might be witnessed soon after winter, warn epidemiologists.

“Looking at the time when we hit the peak in India, the considerable decline in cases, and the way the virus is behaving, we could see a second wave hit the country sometime during the winter or after the season,” a senior virologist pointed out. However, experts feel that the coming of the second wave should be looked at separately in each state and also in the districts.

“Though we are seeing a decline in numbers in the country, we can’t say that it’s the same for all states. We can talk about a second wave in Karnataka when there is decline in cases in the first wave,” explained Dr Giridhara Babu, senior epidemiologist and also advisor to the state government on Covid-19 management.

The Niti Ayog has recently pointed out that states like Kerala, Karnataka and West Bengal have to be more careful as the case load is going up there. However, Dr Jacob John, senior virologist and former professor at Christian Medical College, Vellore, and also member of ICMR, explains, “When we look at all over India, we hit the peak some time in September first week and now we are seeing a considerable decline. One must understand that this data is cumulat ive of a l l states put together.”

He explained that when states are viewed individually, except for Kerala, none of the other states have seen any considerable decline as such. Dr Giridhara Babu said the state governments should now mainly look at the districts and zones where there had been no surge in cases but are now slowly witnessing new clusters.

First wave of Covid to continue peaking

Meanwhile, epidemiologists and virologists in Karnataka feel that the first wave will continue to peak at least till the end of December and start seeing a downward trend in some districts after that. “By the time this decline is seen, even if we are hit by a second wave, it won’t be a cause of much concern, at least in terms of mortality rate and also in the increase in number of cases,” said Dr Giridhara Babu.

Agreeing with this, Dr John Jacob said by the time the second wave is seen in most of the states, the virus might have lost its virulence. “Several serological surveys have shown that the percentage of infected population in most cities has been high and hence, the second wave will not really affect many people,” he explained.

The state governments can now probably work towards micro-focusing on districts, explained Dr Babu.
He said the state should look at each district — if they have reached the peak, then continue to control mortality rate, and if not, then ensure that the health care system there is well prepared for the surge that will come.

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