Govt scientific advisor alerts of “inevitable” 3rd COVID wave, asks authorities to prepare for such new waves

India’s Covid-19 grew by 3.82 lakh on Wednesday, the health ministry data showed even as testing has slowed in many areas.

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As India's battles, a dangerous second wave of Coronavirus which is crushing the healthcare system and killing several people due to a shortage of oxygen, a top scientific adviser of the government on Wednesday said that the country may witness a third wave of the virus if it continues to mutate further and the authorities should be prepared for it. 

Warning that the 3rd wave of Covid-19 is “inevitable”, the government official stated that Covid-19 vaccines will need to be "updated" to deal with the new strains that have paced up the infection in the country, overburdening hospitals and killing thousands of people.

“A phase three is inevitable, given the higher levels of circulating virus but it is not clear on what time scale this phase three will occur. We should prepare for new waves,” principal advisor to the government K Vijay Raghavan said at a press briefing on Wednesday. 

"Variants are transmitted same as original strain. It doesn't have the properties of new kinds of transmission. It infects humans in a manner that makes it more transmissible as it gains entry, makes more copies and goes on, same as original," Raghavan added.

Highlighting more on the new Covid-19 variants, Raghavan said that these get spread in the same way as the original strain, adding that the new strain of the virus infects people in a manner that makes them more transmissible. 

“Vaccines are effective against the current variants. New variants will arise all over the world and in India too but variants that increase transmission will likely plateau,” he remarked.

Raghavan further added, “Scientists of India & all over the world are working to anticipate these kinds of variants & act against them rapidly by early warning & developing modified tools. It's an intense research program, happening in India & abroad.”

India is currently grappling under a massive second wave of coronavirus which has seen lakhs of cases daily breaking all records for over a month now, while thousands of deaths are being reported every day. The health infrastructure has come under great pressure with an unprecedented medical emergency. The per-day death rate in the second wave is higher than the corresponding figures during the first wave. Since April 22, India has registered over 300,000 cases every day, the highest by any country since the beginning of the pandemic, while the number of daily fatalities has been more than 3,000 for a number of days. India is also the only country to have logged more than 400,000 cases in a single day -- registering 401,993 infections on May 1 -- as per the health ministry’s dashboard.

Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad are among the top cities facing never-seen-before oxygen deficiency. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday said that India accounted for nearly half of the Covid-19 cases reported worldwide last week.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday as many as 3,82,315 new coronavirus cases were reported along with 3,780 deaths due to the infection.

Nearby 2.4 per cent day on day growth in Covid cases has been seen in the country, the Union Health Ministry stated. 

"12 states have more than one lakh active cases, seven states have 50,000 to one lakh active cases and 17 states have less than 50,000 active cases. Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have more than 1.5 lakh active cases," Joint Secretary, Health, Luv Aggarwal said.

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Aggarwal stated that 24 states and UTs have reported over 15 per cent Covid positivity rate while 10 states have more than 25 per cent positivity rate. Maharashtra has a reported positivity rate of 24 per cent.