States that did not face an intense second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic are now showing early signs of the third wave with the increasing trend of COVID-19 cases, Dr. Samiran Panda, the head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Monday. Panda further said it is important to not talk of India as a whole and to instead take a state-specific view when talking about COVID-19 because all the states are not homogenous.
"Several states began imposing COVID-19 restrictions and increased vaccinations, learning from Delhi and Maharashtra. Due to this, the second wave in several states was not as intense, leaving scope for a third wave. Therefore, the increasing number of COVID-19 infections in some states presently is indicating the third wave," he said.
"Every state should look into their number of COVID-19 infections and its intensity in both the first and the second wave of the pandemic to decide about their strategy/pandemic preparedness for the possibility of the third wave," the doctor added.
Commenting on the reopening of the schools, Panda said we should not panic about it. "The fourth national serosurvey clearly shows that more than 50 per cent of children are infected, a little less than adults. So, we need not panic unnecessarily," he said.
Further, he added that the more important thing than wondering if or not it is safe to open schools is to prepare well.
"Teachers, parents, supporting staff, bus drivers and conductors should be vaccinated. It is important that the Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) is implemented, and it is necessary to display hoarding showing what CAB is. Other than that, it is fine to reopen schools, especially in the states where the second wave was intense. However, for the states which didn't experience an intense second wave, the schools should be reopened gradually and with caution," he said.
(With ANI inputs)