Too early to heave a sigh of relief: Experts
Although there has been a marked slowdown in the new COVID-19 cases reported daily, experts said it is too early to heave a sigh of relief. Threat of a third wave still looms and the next six weeks are crucial, experts said.
Cautioning against lowering the guard, COVID-19 experts said people’s behaviour in the next six weeks will predict the outcome of the third wave.
M.K. Sudarshan, who heads the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), said with the State reporting around 2,000 new cases daily, it cannot be said that the second wave had subsided as yet.
“After the first wave subsided during December-January, the State had been reporting around 500 new cases for some time and that was without the availability of vaccines. Now, with vaccines we are still reporting around 2,000 cases and this is a cause of concern,” he said.
“It is unfortunate that people have forgotten the miseries of the second wave so early and have got back to the pre-COVID-19 period lifestyle. People have started visiting hill stations and tourist spots, which are non-essential in the given scenario, attending social gatherings such as weddings, parties and going shopping without following protocols. We will only be advancing the arrival of the third wave by this kind of COVID-19 inappropriate behaviour,” he warned.
Concerned over this, the TAC will meet in the next two days to review the situation. “We will review the district-wise test positivity rates and distribution of Delta and Delta Plus cases during the meeting,” Dr. Sudarshan said.
C.N. Manjunath, nodal officer for labs and testing in the State’s COVID-19 task force, said that although it is understandable that people are flocking tourist spots due to lockdown fatigue, any kind of crowding without following norms will prove costly at this juncture.
He advised that people should not let their guard down now, especially during the upcoming festival season. “Festival celebrations should be confined to homes. If there is another mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the coming days, crowding will provide more space for multiplication,” he pointed out.
Haleema Yezdani, a general physician who has been regularly tele-triaging and tele-treating COVID-19 patients through the Emergency Response Team and Project StepOne groups that offer free service to people in getting beds and treatment, said it is unfortunate that people have not learnt lessons even after the second wave. “If people do not behave responsibly now there are all possibilities of the State witnessing super spreader events,” she said.
Pointing out that nearly 8,000 people visited Nandi Hills during the first weekend after the lockdown was lifted, Dr. Yezdani lauded the Chickballapur district administration’s decision to ban public entry to tourist spot during weekends.
“There are crowds everywhere and weddings and shopping are going on in full spree. It is difficult to make people understand, who are under the false belief that the second wave has subsided. The irony is that we doctors are finding it difficult to convince our own family members as they think we (doctors) are overreacting,” she said. “With some projections pointing towards the onset of a third wave by August, the next four-six weeks are crucial,” she added.