3rd Wave of Covid-19: The new variant of coronavirus keeps on emerging as its mutating capabilities show no signs of abating. As per the experts and scientific community opinion, the Delta and Delta+ variants of the virus are going to be the dominant strains in the future. The Delta+ variant is also known as AY. 1 and spreads rapidly, attaches easily to the lungs and potentially resistant to monoclonal antibody therapy. Coronavirus are named for their crown-like spike protein on the surface.
There are 4 main sub-groupings known as the following:
After the gruesome devastation caused by the 2nd wave of Covid-19, Government agencies, hospitals and other stakeholders are gearing up for the possible 3rd wave of the coronavirus. The WHO (World Health Organization) has already announced the arrival of the 3rd wave of the covid-19. Latest projection estimates that the nest 2-3 months will be crucial in combating the threat of the virus.
What is a wave in the Covid-19 pandemic?
There is no set definition of what constitutes a wave in the Covid-19 pandemic. The term can be used to explain the rise and fall in the cases over a period of time. The growth curve is similar to the shape of an ocean wave with the crest representing the maximum no. of cases while the trough indicated the lowest no. of cases. The pattern of the wave can be different for different continents, countries and regions. The rising and falling wave is also an indication of the periodicity. Covid-19 has been relentless in inflicting pain and misery across the world with surges and falls. Till now, India has seen 2 major surges in the last 18 months. Many states, however, have seen more or less than 2nd wave in the same period.
Can we identify the 3rd wave of Covid19, if it does hit the Country?
The Delta+ variant has been dubbed as the variant of concern. The variant is expected to cause the 3rd wave of cor of the pandemic in India. Predicting with accuracy, however, remains a tough task. Even with low risk, the scenario could change within days if not weeks. Identifying the 3rd wave is possible to some extent by extensive proactive work like genome sequencing. Genome Sequencing is figuring out the order of DNA nucleotides or bases in a genome- the order of As, Cs, Gs and Ts that make up an organism’s DNA.
- Until the month of June, India had sequenced 30,000 samples. However, experts believe that operations need to be ramped up. The figure is nevertheless a step in the right direction.
- Current available vaccines appear to work on known variants. There is no guarantee that it will be effective on new variants also.
- Another wave seems inevitable but it can be delayed with measures like sequencing that keeps an eye on mutations and strict enforcement of safety protocols.
Will the 3rd wave be more dangerous than the previous waves?
Generally, it is expected that the current wave should be weaker than the previous ones. This is based on the concept that the virus has had a free run and the population has developed increasing immunity to it. The logic received a massive jolt when the 2nd wave of the coronavirus hit the country hard resulting in unprecedented misery and fatalities.
Whether the 3rd wave of covid 19 will be stronger than the earlier ones depend upon the gene mutations of the virus. A new strain with advanced mutating capabilities may pose a greater risk as it could not be treated with available vaccines.
How well are we Vaccinated?
The severity of 3rd wave of the coronavirus also depends upon the level of immunity that is acquired from the population both from prior infections and from vaccines. Last available data (13th July) related to vaccination drive in India are listed below-
- The total no. of doses stands at 37.7 Cr.
- 7.33 Crore from the total population has been fully vaccinated.
- % of the total population that has been fully vaccinated stands at a paltry 5.4%.
Vaccination still remains the strongest first line of defence against the looming 3rd wave of the virus. To fight the dangers from a possible new strain, it is vital that we ramp up our vaccine administration drive. In the absence of vaccination, a bulk of the population will become highly susceptible to the threat of the virus.
Although many might have developed natural antibodies because of the previous infection, complacency should not creep in, it is still not known up to when will the antibodies will last.
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