Is there a 3rd wave of Covid-19 on the way?

by Yogiraj Sadaphal

Don’t lose hope. When the sun goes down, the stars come out.

Officials and Health Authorities are now constantly alerting people about the likelihood of a third wave of Coronavirus infections, after failing to sufficiently prepare for the second wave whereas Principal Scientific Advisor K Vijay Raghavan calling the third wave “inevitable”.

What exactly is a wave?

There is no textbook definition of what comprises a wave. The phrase is used in a broad sense to describe the rising and falling variations in infection rates throughout time. The growth curve has the appearance of a wave. Historically, the term “wave” was used to describe the disease’s periodicity.

Covid-19 has been running nonstop for the past year and a half, but there have been periods of rise followed by a relative slowdown in every location. So far in India, there have been two different phases of growth, each separated by a long severe recession. For example, Delhi has been hit by four waves so far. Even before the current wave, its development curve featured three clear peaks, whereas growth curves other states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh were considerably more diffused until February, without a sharp apex. In such a case, identifying different waves would be challenging.

So, if a 3rd  wave occurs, how would one recognize it?

The third wave, which is now being discussed, relates to a prospective increase in national cases. After peaking on May 6, the national curve presently appears to be on a downward trend. The daily case count has declined to around 2.6 lakh from a high of 4.14 lakh in the last two weeks, while the number of active cases has dropped to 32.25 lakh from a high of 37.45 lakh. If there is a huge influx after that, it will be considered as the third wave if it lasts for a few weeks or months.

Will the 3rd Wave be Stronger?

There has been rumors that the third wave will be even more powerful than the second. This, on the other hand, isn’t something that can be expected. Every new wave is typically predicted to be weaker than the previous one. This is because the virus has a relatively free run once it arises, given that the entire population is vulnerable. There would be significantly less vulnerable people in future instances since some of them would have developed immunity.

Only a small percentage of the population had been infected when the number of infections began to decline in India after mid-September last year. Given that such a high fraction of the population was still susceptible, there was no reason for the disease’s spread to have slowed. The causes for the five-month continuous decrease in occurrences in India are yet unknown.

Because the second wave was predicted to be weaker than the first, many people believed the pandemic was coming to an end. With the hard lessons learned, there are now predictions that the third wave will be even more powerful. That, however, may not be the case. During the second wave of infection, substantially more persons were infected than during the first wave. The unconfirmed illnesses — those who were never tested — are projected to be enormous, with the positivity rate nearly four times that of the first wave. Vaccination would also provide immunity to a substantial percentage of the population.

Is it Unavoidable?

The chance of a third wave exists. It will almost certainly happen, however neither the scope nor the date can be foreseen. However, it is not unavoidable. It’s also likely that the new wave will be significantly smaller than the previous one, causing less suffering and allowing for more efficient management.