Srinagar, June 25: The possibility and the timing of the third wave of Covid-19 would depend on a number of factors including public behaviour, population vaccinated and the virus mutations as important variables, experts said Friday.
Pulmonologist and influenza expert Prof Parvaiz A Koul said, “I hope I am proven wrong and the third wave doesn’t hit us at all. However, if it does hit, it usually takes three to four months between the waves of the pandemic. May be we are looking at 12-16 weeks from now.”
He said the factors that would decide the timing of the wave would be primarily dependent on what population was exposed to the virus without any immunity.
“The more people we are able to vaccinate, we will have lesser chances of another wave,” Koul said.
He said a good vaccination percentage was over 70 percent of population.
Prof Koul said the vaccinated population would prevent deaths and severe disease.
“Vaccines have been shown to have less severe disease and no deaths due to the viral disease,” he said.
Prof Koul said that the third wave would hit all sections of population that was not vaccinated.
“If our elderly are vaccinated in god numbers, they will be less affected. Our youth and our children need to be protected,” he said.
Prof Koul said that the unlocking needs to be calculated and authorities must weigh the fallout of every permitted activity.
“Containment measures must be strict and mingling of people must be minimised,” he said.
Prof Koul said that masks would continue to be of “great significance”.
Social and preventive medicine expert
Dr Rouf Hussain Rather, who is working in Divisional Covid Control Room, said two possible scenarios would decide the third wave timing and magnitude solely on the basis of the virus mutation. “If there is minor mutation in the virus, which is very likely, the third wave could hit us possibly after October this year,” he said.
Dr Rather said that the wave would not be as severe and vaccination would be effective in protecting people.
However, he said that the second case scenario could also be major virus mutation.
Dr Rather said it was very less likely but if it happens, the third wave could hit J&K any time.
“Even tomorrow,” he said.
Dr Rather said that in such a case, vaccination may not be effective against the mutated virus and the wave could be “severe”.
The government’s Advisory Committee on third wave last month said that all pandemics had been seen to follow a wave pattern over the defined period and generally show three waves of varying degree, intensity, and severity. “Generally speaking, though not exclusively, the ensuing waves are more severe and more lethal than the previous wave,” it said. “Covid-19 third wave could occur within 6 months of the decline of the second wave and calls for intensive surveillance for the period between June to December 2021,” the committee report said.