Srinagar, Jun 19: A day after the AIIMS chief stated that the third wave is inevitable and could hit India in next six to eight weeks, experts in Jammu and Kashmir stated that the second wave continues to prevail and that the third wave is quite possible.
The experts said to avert or to make the effect of third wave less, authorities must ramp up the vaccination process, boost the genome sequencing surveillance, increase ICU bedding capacity and people must cooperate and continue to follow Covid appropriate behavior.
Doctors’ Association Kashmir President and the Flu expert Dr Nisar Ul Hassan said that the only predictable thing about Covid-19 is that it is unpredictable. “Third wave is quite possible as in some countries, third wave has already started,” he said. Dr Nisar said that despite the fact that there is 50 percent fully vaccinated population, third wave has started and “we have just around five percent of the population has been fully vaccinated and 95 percent of the population is still susceptible so the possibility of third wave can’t be ruled out.”
He said that there is possibility that third wave could be more severe as there are more emerging variants and that the Delta plus(+) variants have also been found .
Dr Nisar said that even those who have recovered from Covid-19 in the first wave, there are chances that their antibodies may have waned off and can get infected besides that even vaccinated people can get infected as covidshield vaccine has efficacy of around 60 to 70 percent.
“Our 40 percent population comprises children. So without vaccinating children, it is impossible to achieve herd immunity. Need of the hour is to ramp up of the vaccination process,” he said.
Dr Nisar said that to keep vigil on existing variants and emerging variants, there is need to boost genome sequencing surveillance and there should be one regional laboratory of genome sequencing in J&K. “This is a must so that on time we can get information whether vaccination is effective for new variants or not,” he said. “There is a need to continue with avoiding of gathering, crowding, maintaining social distance and personal hygiene and ramp up testing, tracking and isolating process.”
He said that wherever there is a positivity rate of above five percent, area should be locked completely so that it won’t affect other areas. “Hospitals must be kept ready, especially pediatric hospitals, as the third wave may affect children. There are no vaccines available for them as of now,” he said. “ICU bed capacity for both adults and children must be increased as it is ICU beds which saves lives during pandemics not the regular beds as even a third wave will affect just three percent Children population severely. It will be huge so ICU bed capacity must be strengthened at every district and sub district hospitals.”
Dr Saleem Wani Head of Department for Community Medicine at GMC Srinagar said that they are still in the second wave and positivity is still there. “Third wave is possible but if the government will be able to vaccinate 70 percent of the adult population, we will achieve herd immunity and the effect of the third wave will be less,” he said. “As of now, there is no evidence, third wave will affect children more but if we will be able to vaccinate 70 percent of the adult population, there will be less chances of transmission to children.”
He added that government must ramp up vaccination process and people must adhere to Covid appropriate behaviour.