From the Viewsroom

Declaring victory too soon, again?

TV Jayan | Updated on July 06, 2021

The shutting down of temporary Covid centres is unwarranted

With Covid-19 cases fast falling in India once again, States barring a few that report higher test positivity rate are folding up the temporary Covid centres set up to deal with the deadly second wave, which peaked at 4 lakh cases in early May.

But how far are we from a third wave and how severe would that be? These are questions begging for answers. Expert opinion is divided. While a team of Indian researchers who developed a mathematical model to simulate the pandemic in the country thinks the third spike is at least a few months away and would be a “ripple” as compared to the second wave, a SBI report expects it to break out as early as August with a peak potentially at 1.7 times the second wave in September.

If the latter scenario turns out to be true, the rush to dismantle these makeshift centres would certainly be inappropriate.

Soon after the first wave of the pandemic subsided in January, States shut down these temporary centres. Not only had cases come down, States were keen to reallocate the healthcare staff back to hospitals. Besides, there was also much euphoria that Covid-19 was on its last legs in India. This was despite a few cases of different variants of concern — Alpha, Beta and Gamma — being reported from some parts of the country.

The flare-up, however, was caused by Delta variant, which was first reported in Maharashtra. Though it was first detected in October last year, it was declared as a variant of interest in April and subsequently a variant of concern in May. The overall complacency combined with the campaigning for the five Assembly polls gave wings to the more infectious Delta strain to spread to most States. At one point in time, India was struggling with around 40 lakh active cases, with patients running helter-skelter for an oxygen bed.

Have we learnt our lessons despite burning our fingers?

Published on July 06, 2021

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