The only way forward is vaccination at war footing. If we do not do mass vaccination now, it will allow the virus to circulate freely, and newer variants will emerge. We must prepare for worst case scenario and do the following apart from vaccination
India is seeing a decline of its deadly second wave which peaked in first week of May 2021 with daily cases over 4 lakhs. Highest cases in the first wave which peaked on 17th September 2020 were less than 1 lakh, which means in the second wave we had seen four-fold increase.
Third wave of COVID-19 infections is imminent considering the pace of vaccination in our country. Also many European countries have already experienced third and fourth wave of COVID-19 infection and similar pattern is expected in India too. Questions being asked now are; when will the third wave hit us? and will it be worse than the second wave? Instead of delving into future possibilities, it crucial to gear up for the third wave so that we are not taken by surprise as we were before the second wave hit us. Second wave highlighted glaring loopholes in our public health system and crippled the entire country including the rural areas.
As of today 12%, of our population has received at least single dose of vaccine and only 3.2% have been fully vaccinated with two doses. At this point in time approximately 2% of our population has been infected with SARS-CoV2, hence a total of 14% of population has some immunity towards COVID-19. This leaves 86% of population still vulnerable for the infection and which mainly includes younger population.
The only way forward is vaccination at war footing. If we do not do mass vaccination now, it will allow the virus to circulate freely, and newer variants will emerge. We must prepare for worst case scenario and do the following apart from vaccination;
1. Create more Oxygen and ICU beds with ventilators. 2 Increase production of medical oxygen 3. Stockpile the medicines which were scarce in second wave 4. Not dismantle the temporary healthcare facilities created during the second wave. 5. Perform aggressive testing and follow quarantine and containment measures 6. Genomic surveillance to identify newer mutation 7. Conduct serological (antibody) surveys at regular intervals. 8 To have clear guidelines from government authorities against mass gatherings 9. Covid appropriate from public 10. Dissemination of latest knowledge and guidelines among medical professional for treatment of COVID-19. 11. Take measures to avoids hospital acquired infection like fungal infections seen in second wave.