NEW DELHI, Jul 15
The third wave of Covid is likely to hit the country at the end of August and chances are that it will not be as intense as the second wave, Dr Samiran Panda, Head of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research, has told NDTV.
"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 Panda told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
Four things, he said, could lead to the third wave. The first of these is an instance where the immunity acquired in the first and second wave due drop. "If that goes down, it could lead to a third wave," he said.
Secondly, there could be a variant that can bypass the immunity acquired. Third – the new variant may not be able to bypass immunity but can circulate fast in the population.
Fourth -- if the restrictions are lifted prematurely by States, it could lead to a fresh surge, Dr Panda said.
Asked if the variant involved could be Delta Plus, he said both Delta and Delta Plus have swept the country and "I'm not expecting any more public health havoc from the Delta variant".
Earlier this week, the top doctors' body in the country, the Indian Medical Association, said the third wave is "inevitable and imminent", pointing out that "in many parts of the country both the Government and public are complacent and engaged in mass gatherings without following Covid protocols".
The Government has also said the people are taking predictions about the second wave about as seriously as "weather predictions".
Earlier today, the World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the world is in the "early stages" of the third wave of Covid-19, driven by the Delta variant of the virus.
The variant, found now in more than 111 Nations, had first surfaced in India and was behind the devastating second surge of the virus.
"We expect it to soon be the dominant COVID-19 strain circulating worldwide if it isn't already," the WHO chief had said. NDTV