The dreaded third wave of coronavirus pandemic could hit India by October, however, it could be controlled more efficiently than the current outbreak, a recent poll of medical experts by Reuters stated.
The experts opined that vaccination could help curb the potential outbreak. So far, nearly 5 percent of the estimated 950 million population have been vaccinated, the report read.
A worldwide survey of 40 healthcare experts, including doctors, scientists, virologists, epidemiologists, and professors, was conducted between June 13-17.
Of the total people, more than 85 percent of respondents (21 of 24) estimated the third wave to hit by October. Three of them forecast the wave to hit the country by August-September, while the rest estimated between November and February.
Around 70 percent (24 of 34) said any new outbreak would be better controlled than the present one, which has been far more devastating than last year, owing to the shortage of medicines, oxygen and hospital beds, vaccines, and so forth.
"It will be controlled, as cases will be much less because of vaccinations and there would be some degree of natural immunity from the second-wave," the media quoted Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
While some specialists also estimated that the vaccination drive to speed up in the coming days significantly, many cautioned against revoking COVID restrictions early, as many states have done.
Children At High Risk
The survey stated that children and people under 18 years of age would be most at risk in a third wave. "The reason being they are a completely virgin population in terms of vaccination because currently there is no vaccine available for them," the media quoted Dr Pradeep Banandur, head of Epidemiology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS).
If young people contract the virus in large numbers, the situation would be severe, given that the country has fewer pediatric ICUs and adequate medical services. But, around 14 experts denied this estimation, saying that children were not at risk.
According to the report, about 24 of 38 respondents said future variants of the virus would not affect vaccines' effectiveness in response to a separate question.
Experts said that COVID might remain a public health threat for at least a year, forecasting India developing herd immunity through vaccine and exposure of the infection while many estimated two years. Two of them claimed the outbreak to stay forever.