India, on Wednesday, May 4 surpassed another grim milestone and recorded the highest-ever single-day spike with 4,12,262 fresh cases and 3,980 fatalities in the last 24 hours.
Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu have remained the worst-affected states, contributing to the mounting caseloads.
While the country is still reeling under the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the central government's top scientific adviser said that a third wave of the outbreak was inevitable.
Dr KV VijayRaghavan, the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister, said, "Phase 3 is inevitable given the high levels of circulating virus. But it is not clear on what timescale this Phase 3 will occur. Hopefully, incrementally, but we should prepare for new waves."
In a media briefing, he stressed the need to upgrade the vaccine in accordance with the variants as well as the need to strengthen surveillance against the vaccine, according to The Indian Express.
He explained that the virus operated with a 'hit and run' tactic to break the immunity that people had developed during the first wave of the pandemic. This explained the mutation in the virus and the higher transmission of the virus during the second wave.
It has been reported that the UK variant that initially caused a surge in the cases is now declining while the double mutant variant (B.1.617) is now the cause of the disease severity and the rise in infection in India.
The scientist characterised these new variants as "fitter" viruses which were capable of breaking through increased host immunity. He said as the virus adapts more, it could increase or decrease disease severity, but the rate of transmission is expected to slow down.
Phase 1 of the virus was more generic and less likely for a devastating infection while the second phase has adapted to enter bodies with post infection immunity, according to him.
"The fraction uninfected, due to the cautionary steps taken in the first wave (lockdowns etc), had been large," he said.
The current variants represent better adaptation and are triggered by the human population.
The advisor assured that the current wave would plateau, however, people should remain vigilant and follow COVID-appropriate protocol including masking and social distancing because as long as the human bodies are available for infection, the virus will adapt to break the immunity.
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