Second wave declining, third can be prevented: scientist


  • Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India K. Vijay Raghavan said that India can avoid a third COVID-19 wave.  
  • Dr Vijay Raghavan had previously made the statement that the third COVID wave is inevitable in India given the high levels of virus that is circulating. 

Second Wave: Why are the cases on the rise?

  • When cases started declining, people violated COVID protocol like wearing a face mask, washing hands regularly and maintaining social-physical distance. Gatherings began becoming large particularly from January 2021 onwards.
  • Rules were relaxed. Penalties were not enforced. The pattern was seen across the country allowing the novel coronavirus to create a second and possibly stronger wave.
  • The queues outside polling booths and gatherings at the election rallies of all the parties defied Covid-19 protocol. 
  • The government even allowed festivals. This sent a confusing message to the public and also the grassroots-level functionaries of the government. It weakened the vigil against the pandemic.
  • Poor health infrastructures in our country like oxygen shortage and lack of beds in hospitals added to the misery. 
  • India has recorded most cases of Covid-19 concentrated around cities. Greater mobility here enables the virus to spread drastically.
  • In the current wave, the marking of the containment zone has been less strict. In cities, the government has asked civil authorities to adopt micro-containment, with perhaps just a floor or a house defined as a containment zone. Earlier, an entire apartment or area would be made a containment zone, reducing the chances of transmission of the virus.
  • The mutations in coronavirus are another major reasons for the second wave. Numerous mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 has been detected. Some of these mutations have produced riskier variants. They are called Variants of Concern (VOCs).
  • India has reported such VOCs from several states including the worst-impacted ones by the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The L452R mutation found in the variant B1.671, first detected in India, too has been associated with increased infectivity.

Way Forward

  • Immunity can be developed either by getting infected or through a vaccine. Hence it is important to boost the vaccine programme across the country along with mass testing.
  • Tests should be increased and contact tracing should be done properly.
  • Complete lockdowns are a luxury we cannot afford. It is something only the privileged can manage. 
  • District Action Plans should be formulated with a focus on mapping cases, reviewing ward/block wise indicators, 24x7 emergency operations centre, incident command system area-specific rapid response team and timely sharing of information.
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