‘Signs of 3rd Wave visible in Kashmir’

Srinagar sees significant increase in positive percentage; the wave can be contained by vaccination, COVID19 appropriate behavior
‘Signs of 3rd Wave visible in Kashmir’
A health worker collects swab sample of a man for COVID-19 testing at the entrance of Shalimar Garden in Srinagar on Thursday August 26, 2021.Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: With Srinagar for some days swiftly adding to the number of covid cases in Kashmir, the rise in the positive percentage of the district indicates to the onset of 3rd Wave, an expert said.

As per the samples tested from the district, the positive percentage has increased from 0.2 in the previous weeks to 0.44 in the week gone by, said Dr Rouf Hussain Rather, a Social and Preventive Medicine Expert working in Divisional COVID Control Room.

He said the rise is significant and “possibly signaling to the onset of the Third Wave in Kashmir” according to analysis of data carried out by J&K Government.

Dr Hussain said that it was not currently known whether the rise in the wave was due to change in the variant causing the infections as the genome data of the latest weeks was not available yet.

“We have data of July and the trend during that time was the same as in June,” he said. The variant change would be the decisive factor, he said. “One thing is certain, the infection is spreading at a faster rate, especially in Srinagar and it might now show in other districts as well,” he said.

Dr Hussain said that vaccination could help mitigate the effect of the wave but its coverage was low as on date.

Both doses combined, he said, only 15 percent of the eligible population was protected while the number decreased to just 10 percent when children were also included. “For this reason, we are not yet in ‘safe zone’,” he said.

He said previous exposure to COVID19 and the natural immune response it triggers could also protect but it was yet poorly understood how reliable this could be.

“The wave can be averted with COVID19 appropriate behavior and vaccination, and hopefully the immunity developed during the previous two waves” he said.

The coming wave, he said, was different given the availability of vaccination and its coverage would be crucial. “The virus can be defeated.”

Currently, there are 448 active cases in Srinagar, accounting for nearly 48 percent of all cases in Kashmir division. On Monday, 65 people tested positive in Srinagar out of the 145 from Kashmir division. In J&K, a cumulative of 169 people tested positive on the day. A day before 77 people tested positive from Srinagar out of the 137 from Kashmir. Srinagar district has continuously been showing a high number of positives since mid week.

J&K Government had said that a genome sequencing facility would be set up in GMC Srinagar to expedite genetic sequencing of the circulating variants and enable timely mitigation based on this knowledge.

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