Dr Umesh Kumar Bhadani, head of the expert committee formed by the Patna High Court order and dean at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Patna on Saturday said that there was a growing need for increased surveillance, testing, vaccination and more treatment, but the most important factor remained Covid-appropriate behaviour.
“There is expected third wave 6-8 months after the end of the second wave, which may end in July 2021. It may be in pockets or localised areas, depending on the vaccinated population. The virus mutates and vulnerable people are likely to get infected. Therefore, it is important to reach out to maximum people, as infected persons without symptoms are more dangerous,” he said, while speaking at a meeting on Covid-19, organised and moderated by senior advocate and former additional solicitor general SD Sanjay.
Bhadani said that during the first wave, all were equally vulnerable, but aged people got sicker and so they were vaccinated first. “In the second wave, the virus has mutated, but those vaccinated are less vulnerable. The young people move more for livelihood and so got more infected. The third wave is anticipated to affect the younger population more, which are not vaccinated and move more. As per data, when 86% of people develop immunity, it is called the stage of herd immunity,” he added.
The AIIMS doctor said that there was a need for massive information and awareness campaign for basic hygiene and social protection, as also preventing large gatherings. “Vaccination has to be in. creased, but it takes time. The Gram Panchayats should play an active role and empowered with proper awareness and action plan. The resources should now be directed to the grassroots level and there should be mobile vans for testing and vaccination. There should be centralized and state-level experts group,” he added.
Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey said that the state government and the Centre were working together to control the pandemic and the results were showing, with the positivity rate dropping from 16% around 25 days ago to just 4% today, resulting in a large number of beds in Covid care centres and dedicated Covid hospitals unoccupied. He said the pace of vaccination would also pick up in June and improve further in mid-July.