The question Mumbaikars are asking is: will the city witness a third wave of Covid-19? The way things stand, with the drop in the number of cases and deaths due to Covid, the obvious answer would be ‘no’. However, this newspaper can reveal that the number of tests has decreased by 26% in the last 30 days. The data accessed by The Free Press Journal says the state Health Department conducted 39.43 lakh Covid testing tests between September 24 and October 23, which has now dropped to 29.5 lakh (from October 24 to November 23).
The Health Department officials are confident; they claim there is no correlation between the number of Covid cases and testing, as there are multiple factors such the receding second wave, already immune population, and vaccination coverage.
The experts, however, differ. They say the situation is almost similar to what the city witnessed last year. The medical experts say that the “thick tail” of the pandemic may have pushed the third wave to the next year.
Dr Pradeep Awate, the state’s surveillance officer, said the healthcare experts have observed that India in general was “two-and-a-half months behind the West” in terms of Covid-19 pandemic. With all-round efforts, Indian healthcare officials have been able to keep the pandemic under control and the decline shows that the country has now all but reached the endemic stage. “We saw how the Delta variant created havoc during the second wave but it is currently in the declining stage. We are relieved that the genetic make-up of the virus is not changing. However, the state was seeing an overall decline in active Covid-19 cases largely because of two factors, such as vaccination drive and herd immunity,” Dr Awate said. “Largely, our population has antibodies against the Delta variant and its derivatives, as it was the most dominant strain through the second wave. But if the variant changes, we may be back to square one,” he warned.
Awate said the decline in cases was directly proportional to the number of new infections. “The decrease in active cases indicates the decline in Covid infections. Our sustained efforts to control the virus are bearing fruit in the form of a lower number of new cases,” he said.
A senior official from the Health Department, however, said the situation was more or less the same last year. “We saw a similar decline last year too. However, what we are witnessing this time is the thick tail of the second wave,” he added.
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