The third wave of COVID-19 is likely to hit India by October, projected a group of medical experts surveyed by news agency Reuters. However, the third wave will be handled better than the second wave as cases will be less because more vaccinations would have been rolled out, the experts said.
40 healthcare specialists, doctors, scientists, virologists, epidemiologists and professors from around the world were questioned for the survey, which was conducted from June 3 to 17. More than 85% or 21 out of 24 respondents predicted the third wave would hit by October. Three experts projected it to arrive by August and 12 said it would come by September. The remaining said the third wave would arrive between November and February next year.
Meanwhile, 70% of experts or 24 of 34, were of the opinion that the possible third wave of COVID-19 would be better controlled compared with the second which was far more devastating as the country faced shortage of medicines, oxygen and hospital beds than the smaller first wave last year.
“The third wave would be more controlled as more vaccinations would have been rolled out, leading to a lesser number of cases. Also, there would be some degree of natural immunity from this wave,” said Dr Randeep Guleria, director of Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
Moreover, 26 out of 40 experts projected that children would be most at risk in the potential third wave, the remaining 14 said this would not be the case.
"If children get infected in large numbers and we are not prepared, there is nothing you can do at the last minute," said Dr Devi Shetty of Narayana Health and an advisor to the Karnataka state government on pandemic response planning. "It will be a whole different problem as the country has very, very few paediatric intensive care unit beds, and that is going to be a disaster," he added.