Third COVID Wave No More? Data Says Don’t Go Lax in Festival Season
India's overall daily COVID cases are on the decline. In fact, 26 October saw the country report the lowest single day COVID cases in almost a year.
Offices are opening up, schools are abuzz with life again, and everything seems to be swiftly falling back into 'normalcy'.
But, are we letting our guards down too soon?
Have we successfully dodged the third wave, or, with the festive season around the corner, are we on the cusp of yet another upward spike?
FIT looks at the data. This is where we are, and where we're headed.
Festivals vs COVID-19
Last year, FIT reported on the post Diwali spike in COVID cases across the country.
A look at West Bengal's daily case count post Durga Puja, points to the possibility of a similar upward trend post-Diwali in other parts of the country, this year as well.
The COVID positivity rate in West Bengal went up from 5.6 percent on 14 October to 7.1 percent in 21 October– just a week after Durga puja.
The rise in cases post Durga Puja has reportedly put health authorities on alert.
At the same time, a similar spike in COVID cases was also seen in Assam which saw a 50.4 percent increase in cases last week. The state reported 2,187 new cases in the week following Durga puja, as compared to 1,454 cases in the previous week.
In spite of the upward trend, COVID restrictions in Assam were eased on Tuesday, 26 October, limiting the night curfew to 11 pm to 5 am, PTI reported.
Apart from this, the state of Himachal Pradesh has also been seeing a rise in cases in the past few days, while Kerala continues to report the highest number of daily cases in the country.
Flu Season, Pollution and COVID-19
Apart from being packed with a slew of festivals, the months of October to December also make up the 'pollution season' in many parts of the country.
Mounting research points to a strong link between air pollution and COVID-19 and how the former worsens the latter.
To put it simply, pollution damages your body in more ways than one, especially weakening your lungs, making you more susceptible to severe COVID. It also increases your risk of developing other ailments like diabetes, and asthma which are comorbities of COVID-19.
On top of that, a spike in cases of viral fever and flu has led to experts warning of a possible 'twindemic' on the horizon.
A committee set up by the Home Ministry said in August that the third wave was likely to peak in October.
Back in June, Dr NK Arora, Chief of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India (NTAGI), said that the third wave wouldn't peak until December.
Experts agree that while the third wave is not likely to be as devastating as the 1st and 2nd waves, the intensity will depend on the behaviour of the population, and how cautious we are at this time.
So, although it might seem like the pandemic is on it's way out, this festive season, keep your masks up, maintain social distancing, and practicing hand hygiene to keep cases from spiking yet again.
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