Next Covid wave will reach its peak faster, Centre warns

As the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has started flattening in the country with every State registering a significant dip in the number of daily infections and fatalities, the Centre on Friday issued a warning saying the situation has not improved because the virus has changed its mind. "If we again start doing what we were doing as a society in December, January, the situation can again go into a difficult phase," Niti Aayog (Health) member VK Paul said.
"More of that we do higher will be the wave but if we proceed slowly and continue the tightrope walk, the wave will be small. Maybe there will be no wave at all," he said.
According to the Health Ministry's data, there has been a 68 per cent decline in daily cases from May 7, when the highest peak of the second wave was reported. Around 377 districts are reporting less than five per cent case positivity and only 257 districts are reporting more than 100 daily Covid-19 cases.
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"This is not happening automatically. There are no crowds.. a price that we pay. But we have made it difficult for the virus to travel. But we have to remember that when the peak is declining, if we start doing what we were doing in January, it will come back again. This is mathematically valid and also valid by common sense," Dr Paul said.
"If we suddenly go back to the situation of January, February, the next wave will be fast and will reach its peak faster. But if we maintain Covid appropriate behaviour, the wave will be smaller and may not come. We have to buy time to ensure that we achieve high coverage of vaccination before that," Dr Paul said.
According to experts, a third wave of the pandemic in India is very much possible the way the second wave struck the country. But its timing and impact cannot be predicted as it will depend on the lifting of restrictions and the extent of vaccine coverage etc. It has also been predicted that the third wave might impact children for which State Governments are ramping up Covid care facilities for children. The Centre has also issued guidelines for the care and protection of the children infected by Covid and fixed responsibilities for the States, District Magistrates, police, Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local bodies.