'Third Wave of COVID-19 Could Hit India in 6-8 Weeks': AIIMS Chief

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Hindi Female

A third wave of COVID-19 in India is 'inevitable', said All India Institute of Medical Science Chief (AIIMS) Dr Randeep Guleria, on Saturday, 19 June.

He went on to predict that the impending third wave may hit India in the next 6 to 8 weeks, reported NDTV.

Dr Guleria stressed on the importance of COVID appropriate behaviour at this time amid unlocking in many parts of the country after strict restrictions for weeks.

"As we have started unlocking, there is again a lack of Covid-appropriate behaviour. We don't seem to have learnt from what happened between the first and the second wave," Dr Guleria was quoted by NDTV.

"Again crowds are building up... people are gathering. It will take some time for the number of cases to start rising at the national level. Third wave is inevitable and it could hit the country within the next six to eight weeks... may be a little longer."
Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi to NDTV

Combatting the Threat of New Variants

"the Virus is still mutating, we need to be careful", he warned, adding,

"During the first wave (in India), the virus was not spreading that rapidly... all that changed during the second wave, and the virus became much more infectious. Now the Delta variant that's spreading is much more infectious. Faster spread is likely."
Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi to NDTV

Recent studies have found single doses of the COVID vaccine to be less effective against the Delta variant, underscoring the need to reduce the gap between the two doses.

Currently, India's guidelines recommend a gap of 12 to 16 weeks between the two doses.

Speaking of the possibility of reducing this gap, Dr Guleria told NDTV, "Nothing is written in stone. We will have to look at new strategies. But we need to have strong data to take that decision."

He added that this decision should be based on scientific evidence and not vaccine availability.

He went on to stress on the need to ramp up vaccination, calling it 'the main challenge'.

"Unless we're vaccinated, we're vulnerable in the coming months," Dr Guleria was quoted by NDTV.


Third Wave in India Likely in October: Experts

A recent poll conducted by Reuters between June 3-17, involving 40 medical experts pointed to the third wave likely hitting India by October.

Over 85 percent of respondents (21 out of 24) said that the next wave will hit by October, while three of the respondents predicted that it would hit in August and 12 said September.

Three others forecasted that it could hit between November and February.

Dr Guleri, however,emphasised that, though, the third wave is thought to take up to three months, how soon it hits will depend on various factors including the efficiency of vaccination, mass covid appropriate behaviour and crowd control.

(Written with inputs from NDTV and Reuters.)

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