As the possibility of the third COVID-19 wave looms large, scientists and health experts across the country cautioned people to maintain COVID-19 appropriate behaviour for the next 125 crucial days to minimise the effect.
Alerts have been extended from overcrowded public places to religious conglomerations which experts are saying can be the obvious possible epicentre, if not restricted at the moment.
While stating the next 125 days to be crucial, the Union health ministry has observed that fall in cases has slowed down which should be treated as a warning sign.
Moreover, commenting on the country's vaccination programme, Dr VK Paul, Member of NITI Aayog has said that country has not reached the stage of herd immunity yet, but added that it does not want to acquire herd immunity through infections either.
The Union Health Ministry also termed the delta variant, which caused havoc this year in April causing high causality, as 'variant of concern' as it has 'high infectivity and transmissibility'. However, now its further mutant Delta plus is said to be perhaps more critical for immune escape and antibody response.
Dr Arvind Kumar, Director and Head of Department, Paediatrics, Fortis Shalimar Bagh, said, "the second wave started as a small focus in the country and because of repeated faulting of COVID behaviour it spread like wildfire. It caused a lot of morbidity and mortality. The third wave has been predicted based on the model of other countries as well as our behaviour and a high degree of infectiousness of this delta virus."
"Our children become vulnerable if the adult population is infected. Children above five years should wear a mask," the paediatrician further said.
To avoid the maximum impact of the wave, the experts are repeatedly advising to maintain a social distance of six feet at public places, avoid crowded places, always wear a mask in public places among other COVID appropriate behaviour.
According to Dr Sheeba Marwah, Assistant Professor and COVID-19 Nodal Officer, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, three factors that can actually determine the timing and magnitude of future waves in the country are "individual choices and safe practices, rapid vaccination coverage and rate of mutant viral Variants."
Dr Marwah said, "instead of highlighting the wave and when it might encumber, the focus of each one of us should be on practising COVID appropriate behaviour/restrictions to contain the spread of the disease."
As governments across the country are easing lockdown restrictions for over two months now, the residents have been seen flouting COVID rules.
"Such crowding, despite repeated warnings of an imminent third wave, is a sign of mental apathy developed due to limitations, besides simmering economic distress across public," the doctor added.
During the second wave, the country has witnessed an unprecedented upsurge in death toll and caseload. With acute fall in daily Covid-19 cases, health experts speculating of a third wave in between late August and early September. For the past three days, India has been witnessing more than 500 COVID-19 fatalities.
India recorded 41,157 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the daily positivity rate to 2.13 per cent, the Union Health Ministry informed on Sunday. The COVID-19 death toll climbed to 4,13,609 with 518 fresh fatalities in the last 24 hours. India witnessed 42,004 recoveries in the last 24 hours, taking the recovery tally to 3,02,69,796.