The Covid-19 third wave is inevitable and can hit India in the next couple of months, AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria has said. The third wave will hit the country in the next six to eight weeks and vaccinating the huge population will be the main challenge, Dr Guleria was quoted by NDTV as saying.
Dr Guleria said, "As we have started unlocking, there is again a lack of Covid-appropriate behaviour. We don't seem to have learnt from what happened between the first and the second wave. Again crowds are building up... people are gathering. It will take some time for the number of cases to start rising at the national level. Third wave is inevitable and it could hit the country within the next six to eight weeks... maybe a little longer."
"It all depends on how we go ahead in terms of Covid-appropriate behaviour and preventing crowds," he added.
Less than half of the population has so far been covered under country's ongoing vaccination programme.
"That (vaccination) is the main challenge. A new wave can usually take up to three months but it can also take much lesser time, depending on various factors. Apart from Covid-appropriate behaviour, we need to ensure strict surveillance. Last time, we saw a new variant - which came from outside and developed here - led to the huge surge in the number of cases. We know the virus will continue to mutate. Aggressive surveillance in hotspots is required," said Guleria.
Meanwhile, according to an AIIMS survey, the third wave of Covid-19 is unlikely to affect children much. As per the survey, the SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity rate among children was high compared to the adult population, which was conducted in five selected states with a total sample size of 10,000 by WHO.
Dr NK Arora, Chairman of India's Covid-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), had said Indian data does not show specific predilection of the currently circulating virus strains either for the youth or paediatric age group.