Covid-19 third wave may hit India at the end of August and will not be as deadly as the second one, a top doctor has told a television news channel.
"There would be a nationwide third wave but that does not mean that it would be as high or as intense as the second wave," Dr Samiran Panda, the head of epidemiology and infectious diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research, told NDTV.
Samiran Panda also listed four things that could lead to the third wave of Covid-19, including a drop in the immunity among people against the coronavirus disease acquired in the first and second waves of the pandemic. "If that goes down, it could lead to a third wave," Panda told NDTV.
He also said that there could be a variant of the coronavirus that can bypass the acquired immunity and if the new variant doesn't do that it can circulate fast in the population. The Covid-19 third wave could also be brought about by the premature easing of Covid-19 curbs by states, Panda said.
"I'm not expecting any more public health havoc from the Delta variant," Panda told NDTV when asked if Delta Plus could bring on the third wave.
Panda's comments come as Dr Randeep Guleria, All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) director, said on Thursday that a possible third wave of Covid-19 can be precipitated by waning immunity among people, the emergence of a more transmissible variant of the coronavirus and relaxations by governments in lockdown curbs.
Dr Guleria said that several studies and models have been conducted to project the possible third wave's trajectory under different scenarios. "One such model from an IIT shows that if all restrictions are lifted and if a virus (variant) is also able to escape immunity then the next wave can be bigger than the second wave. If some restrictions are kept and the virus also remains stable then cases will not be much and if we keep more restrictions then cases will further reduce," he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
The Indian Medical Association said earlier this week the third wave is "inevitable and imminent" and urged state governments to disallow large gatherings as these could become "potential super spreader" events.
"However, it is painful to note that in this crucial time, when everyone needs to work for the mitigation of the third wave, in many parts of the country, both governments and the public are complacent and engaged in mass gatherings without following Covid protocols," IMA said in a statement on July 12.