Covid third wave inevitable… we should be prepared’: Centre’s top scientific advisor

Even as India grapples with the ferocious second wave of Covid-19, the government Wednesday warned that a third wave of the pandemic was “inevitable”, although a time-frame for it could not be predicted.

“Phase three is inevitable given the higher levels of circulating virus, but it is not clear on what time-scale this phase three will occur. We should be prepared for new waves,” K Vijay Raghavan, the principal scientific advisor to the Centre, said during a press briefing.

On Wednesday, India reported a record 3,780 fresh Covid fatalities in the last 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 2,26,188. As many as 3,82,315 new coronavirus infections were also recorded at the same time.

Raghavan further pointed out that vaccines are effective against the current variants. “New variants will arise all over the world, as well as India, but variants that increase transmission will likely plateau,” he said, adding that immune-evasive variants and those which lower or increase disease severity will arise going ahead.

“Scientists in India and all over the world are working to anticipate these kinds of variants and act against them rapidly by issuing early warnings and developing modified tools,” he said.

The Health Ministry officials also said that the long Covid wave of such “ferocity” that the country was experiencing currently “was not predicted”.

On being asked if a nationwide lockdown was the only solution to rise in cases, NITI Aayog member Dr V K Paul said there was already a guideline issued to states to impose restrictions to suppress the chain of transmission. He added that more options will be discussed in case of a necessity.

The Health Ministry, meanwhile, said 12 states, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh have over 1 lakh active cases. It further said that Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Bihar are among the states that have shown an increasing trend in daily cases.

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