The third covid-19 wave would unlikely be as severe as the second wave, according to a modelling study by a team of scientists from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Imperial College London, U.K.
According to the reports, for the wave to be as devastating, at least 30 per cent of the population who had been infected earlier must entirely lose their immunity, or an emerging variant of the virus must have a reproductive rate (R) over 4.5, that is, each infected person should be spreading to at least 4-5 others and these must occur almost immediately after the second wave ends.
Rapid scale-up of vaccination efforts could play an important role in mitigating the present and future waves of the disease, says the study.
The study results showed that under all of these situations, the peak number of infections remained much lower than during the second wave.
“Currently data does not support the circulating strain is causing more severe disease – in terms of more deaths or hospitalisation. Secondly, we have a large number of people who already got the infection… so there is some degree of immunity, and the vaccine is also being rolled out. So, my own feeling is that subsequent waves won’t be as bad,” AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria said.
Wearing masks consistently and correctly as well vaccination are critical to ensure that a third wave isn’t severe, the study cautions.