There is considerable speculation about the dreaded third wave of the pandemic. According to Dr Om Srivastav, infectious diseases expert and member of the state’s Covid task force, it’s all (up) in the air, so your best bet is to stay safe and scrupulously adhere to Covid protocols
When is the third wave likely to strike?
A- This is something which we are unable to ascertain. It could start any time from the middle of September up to December. There is no way to predict when the third wave will start.
Is Maharashtra likely to see a Kerala-like resurgence - more than 31,000 cases in a single day?
A- Hopefully, Maharashtra will be socially responsible during the festive season. What happened in Kerala was the total movement of people from other countries. By now, we know that coronavirus is airborne so people need to take extra precautions in following Covid norms.
What measures should be taken by the BMC to curb cases during the festive season?
A- There is no other way except to encourage people and create awareness through various modes of communication to reach out to as many people as possible. In the midst of everything opening up, people need to adhere to Covid protocols and if they don't do it, then there will be no other way to control cases during the festive season.
Based on the lessons learned from the earlier two waves, are there any new guidelines the taskforce will issue, to handle cases?
A- Since the pandemic has started, we have been making guidelines and making sure there are no loopholes. All taskforce members meet every Monday, during which we correct or refine our own guidelines so that these can be used in a similar situation.
Recently, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said there could be 60 lakh cases across Maharashtra in the third wave and Mumbai could have 5-6 lakh cases. How likely is this possibility?
A- We are preparing for various scenarios but no one can predict whether there will be 60 lakh cases or less than that. Rather than thinking how many cases are likely to emerge, we would prepare for it and make sure all necessary things are in place.
Local trains have been opened up for the fully vaccinated. How is this going? Is this the main reason for the surge in cases across Mumbai?
A- It could be a significant factor. But travel and festivals can be two game changers. Once again, people need to behave responsibly, follow social distancing and wear masks.
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