The third phase of the pandemic is inevitable given the high level of circulating virus and while the time scale is difficult to predict we should prepare for the new waves, principal scientific advisor K Vijayraghavan said on Wednesday as the country is still battling the devastating second wave.
“Previous infections and vaccines will cause adaptive pressure on the virus for new changes and we should be prepared scientifically,” Vijayraghavan said. He also said that it was gut wrenching to see what was happening.
He said that the variants are just one of the factors that have contributed to the second wave. “Immunity could have kept new infections low in the first wave but those uninfected may have been large. As cautionary steps decreased, new opportunities for the spread increased.”
According to the findings of the India’s Sars-Cov-2 genomic consortium the B1.1.7 lineage of SARS CoV-2 or the UK variant is declining in proportion across the country in the last one and a half months.
The double variant classified as the “B.1.617” variant has been found in Maharashtra and is also connected to the surge in some states in the last one and a half months.
The principal scientific advisor said that the variants which increase transmission are likely to plateau but those which show immune evasive variants will affect disease severity. “Our scientists are prepared to deal with that. We have to anticipate these changes from a scientific perspective…Variants do not alter the message,” he said.
A 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 prepare for new waves: K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor to Centre pic.twitter.com/c6lRzYaV2q
— ANI (@ANI) May 5, 2021
On whether India needs to go into a national lockdown, the government said that detailed guidelines have been given to the states to implement night curfews and depending upon the positivity rate impose restrictions on movement and close public spaces. V K Paul, member-health, Niti Aayog however said, “The states should make a careful analysis. We have given very balanced advisories. If anything more is required, those options are always being discussed…those decisions if required will be taken.”
India has reported 3,780 covid deaths in a single day, the highest ever so far on Wednesday. While health ministry data showed that 12 states are showing early signs of decline in the daily number of cases, including Maharashtra and Delhi. The ministry did not however give any comparison with the total number of tests being conducted in these states. Cases however are increasing north-eastern states.
So far over 671,000 people in the age group 18-44 have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine. A total of 160 million doses have so far been administered.