The BMC has decided to reconsider its decision of dismantling Jumbo Covid centres at Dahisar, Goregaon, Malad, Sion and Kanjurmarg. A statistical model published by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT-K) has claimed that there will be a fourth wave in June. Earlier, the civic body had decided to retain only three Jumbo centres – in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), Byculla (Richardson and Cruddas) and Worli (NSCI), along with the SevenHills Hospital in Marol, deciding to dismantle others. For now, though, all other Jumbo centres will be shut, but not dismantled.
The IIT-K model has suggested that the fourth wave will start in June-end and peak in August, but the severity will depend on the variant and the vaccination status across India. Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said there have been many predictions and mathematical calculations in the past and they have been prepared for everything.
Kakani said, “The decision to dismantle the centres was taken as the cases dropped drastically and we seemed to be moving towards an endemic stage. However, the IIT- Kanpur study has made us give it a second thought. We are in discussions with Covid-19 Task Force members. We are also awaiting the 10th genome sequencing report in the next two days, which clearly shows Omicron is dominant in the city.”
Dr Mala Kaneria, consultant for infectious diseases at Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, said that mathematical models are indicative of trends but are not 100 per cent definitive. The combination of host, viral and environmental factors will decide the occurrence of the fourth or future waves.
She said, “The virus is unlikely to stop mutating and variants will undoubtedly emerge. Antibody responses of the host will decay with time. Environmental factors and human behaviour are difficult to factor in. None of the statistical models have been very accurate till now. Lastly, even if a fourth wave were to emerge, a fast-paced mass vaccination programme, including boosters, may change the tide and diminish its intensity.”
A doctor said all patients at the Dahisar Jumbo centres have been discharged and there are hardly any asymptomatic cases in the out-patient department. He said rather than shutting down the centres completely, it would be better to keep them on the buffer, for immediate steps in case of emergency. He said the Jumbo centres have been useful for urban slums where isolation was not possible due to small houses.