The next three weeks are crucial for India in terms of the spread of COVID-19, said Dr Rakesh Mishra, Director of CSIR- CCMB (Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology) on Sunday, adding that it is very important for people to follow guidelines very strictly. Mishra emphasised that people must follow the guidelines very strictly to prevent themselves from being infected with COVID-19.
"The next 3 weeks are very critical for India in terms of the spread of the infection. People should take utmost care and precautions," he said.
Regarding the dearth of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and vaccines, Dr Mishra said that if the situation continues, the country will be in a disastrous state.
"We have seen this kind of situation in Italy, where many people have lost their lives on the corridors of hospitals due to lack of treatment medicine and oxygen cylinders. Last year, healthcare workers were very effective in handling the situation," he said.
Speaking about the increasing number of COVID-19 positive cases in the country Dr Mishra said that the second wave was very much expected.
"On many occasions over the past few months, many medical intellectuals, have been saying that the virus and its impact is just low and has not been completely wiped out. We should have been a bit more prepared for this kind of situation," he said.
He further added, "In infections like Covid-19, it is quite common that there would be a second wave as the virus mutates and whichever of the mutated variant virus is stronger will spread faster. There have been a lot of new variants that have emerged. More people will be infected with the mutated variant in India if they don't adhere to the Covid guidelines."
He further said that the reason cases are increasing day by day is because people have stopped taking care of themselves by not putting on masks, and thinking that it has gone completely.
"Though the vaccine is a very important tool to defeat the pandemic, people must still remember to follow the Covid guidelines as the virus can be spread from even those who have been vaccinated. No matter what variant comes, it cannot spread if we stick to the Covid guidelines," he added.
Speaking about the ongoing Kumbh Mela and other religious gatherings and political campaigns taking place across the country, Mishra said that it is extremely dangerous when there is a large gathering of people especially in places like Kumbh Mela and political gatherings as it is a perfect place from the virus to spread to many other people.
"People will be infected without knowing and will go back to their home towns and further spread the virus to most of the villages, thus resulting in the spread to even more people," he said.
Mishra appealed to the people to come forwards and get vaccinated. "To overcome this pandemic, the people must be vaccinated in large number and further even after getting vaccinated, one must not forget to use masks, he said.
"After a thorough air sampling of the coronavirus, it has been found that the virus can spread through the air. It can move upto 20 feet in a closed area. Wearing a mask can keep one 80 to 90 per cent safe. If the other person is also wearing a mask, then one can be 99 per cent safe," he added.
India reported its highest-ever single-day spike of COVID-19 cases with 2,61,500 fresh cases and 1,501 COVID-related deaths. With this, the total number of cases has gone up to 1,47,88,109.
The active number of cases in the country stands at 18,01,316.
(With ANI inputs)