“It may be useful to talk about location, timing and intensity of infection instead of waves and their number… If we take strong measures, the third wave may not happen in all the places or indeed anywhere at all. It depends much on how effectively the guidance is implemented at the local level, in states, in districts and cities. The guidance about precautions, surveillance, containment, treatment and testing,” Prof VijayRaghavan said.
He stressed the “insidious asymptomatic transmission can be stopped if we follow the guidance”. Even though it may sound difficult, it can be done, he added.
On Wednesday, Prof VijayRaghavan said a third wave of Covid-19 is “inevitable” even while underlining the need to prepare for it by strengthening surveillance, upgrading vaccines and maintaining Covid-appropriate behaviour.
“A Phase-3 (of Covid-19 pandemic) is inevitable given the high levels of circulating virus but it is not clear on what timescale this phase will occur. Hopefully, incrementally but we should prepare for new waves,” he had said.
While his earlier comment had raised concerns with many asking about policy decisions to tackle another wave, some also felt that it created unnecessary fear while the country is still fighting the second wave.
“There have been peaks and falls in different places in India and all over the world in different times. It is useful to understand how and why the rise of infections takes place, how the strength varies, how they fall and what can happen subsequently…Infections rise when the virus has opportunities to infect humans,” Prof VijayRaghavan said.
The job of principal scientific advisor entails immense responsibility, especially when an epidemic is raging across the country. Every word he utters publicly ought to be well thought out. Changing one’s position glibly within days on such a critical issue doesn’t inspire confidence either in him or the government.
Explaining the process of bringing down the rate of infection or containing it, he said the infection falls when the number of people vulnerable to the infection falls drastically.
This can happen because people who have been infected earlier are unlikely to be re-infected for sometime. Besides, vaccination gives immunity and people are also protected with the use of masks and maintaining physical distance.