The Covid pandemic has been around for so long that people are already getting sick of it. The terms themselves sound dark and brooding. However, in light of coronavirus and its long-term effects on humans, we must remind ourselves that the pandemic is not yet over.
Reasonable conjecture predicts that the Covid third wave is inevitable and could hit many countries, including India, in the near future.
There are two key segments of the above statement. First, is the third coronavirus wave really inevitable? Is the prevention of COVID third wave completely hopeless? Second, if it is really unavoidable, how can we prepare ourselves to overcome the third wave?
The possible reason for the potential third wave
The un-mutated Sars-Cov-2 spread to the world during the first wave did not appear as deadly as it does now. The virus infection then was opportunistic and caused severe effects in the elderly and others suffering from other ailments. The viral spread was kept under control, with the majority of the infected people recovered without many long-lasting sequelae.
All this changed during the second wave, which was almost catastrophic. The virus mutated and evolved into a deadlier strain affecting the previously unexposed population. Therefore, the naïve immune system of the newly infected people with stronger strains couldn’t get rid of the virus right away, and they eventually succumbed to the virus. Similar to how humans are experts in taking advantage of the loopholes for their benefit, the virus detected the loopholes in our immune system and evolved into its superior alternate.
The viruses with RNA as their genetic material behave in a general manner. Sars-Cov-2 demonstrated behavioral similarity with the Spanish Flu virus; therefore, the scientists conjectured the probability of the third wave from the available infection patterns of the Spanish flu of the 20th century. Thus, it is highly probable that the third wave would eventually come; however, its consequences may depend on how the situation is handled.
However, in the UK, it is deemed that the second wave has been the deadliest compared to the first and third waves. Therefore, does it imply that we can drop our guards? Of course, not! The second wave has opened our eyes to the possibility of a disastrous situation on an even larger scale.
What can be done to address this situation?
Since it is highly improbable that the situation can be remedied or controlled within a few months, we need a targeted immediate and long-term approach at both personal and national levels.
Long term measures
The only long-term solution to the current catastrophe is the development of herd immunity to curb viral immunity. Since the naturally acquired herd immunity calls for large-scale infection of the population, it is highly undesirable. Therefore, the only humanitarian option available to us is mass vaccination. Even though the effectiveness of vaccines against the newer mutants, especially the delta strain, is questionable, experts believe that partial protection can be delivered by the vaccines. However, the efforts have to be multiplied to achieve complete immunization to ensure that other strains do not emerge, rendering the efforts useless.
Since complete vaccination-based immunization cannot be achieved before the onset of the third wave, we have to rely on other methods to limit and counter the adverse effects of the third wave.
Therefore, the immediate responses must be prioritized at the personal and organizational level since a permanent lockdown is not a solution but the last resort for curbing the long-lasting disaster. To prevent an epic surge in the number of active Covid infections, strict monitoring and tracking of the active cases must be done. Improving the availability of COVID diagnostic kits can ensure regular testing to ensure treatment can be provided at the right time.
Proper training of the healthcare professionals can help prevent and limit hospital-acquired bacterial and fungal infections in other patients, especially since the second wave depicted an uncommon increase in fungal infections. The common people should also be made aware of the usage of oxygen cylinders to prevent unnecessary wastage during critical times. Availability of necessary drugs, antibiotics, and antifungals can ensure timely treatment of the diseased.
Since panic cannot resolve the issues, we have to be vigilant in our fight against the virus. Strict measures have to be taken at the personal level to ensure the prevention of the disease. We have to safeguard ourselves first so that we can help the ones who would probably need our help, should the inevitable happen. So, we cannot become complacent, and therefore, here is a small reminder –
Use loads of sanitizer and frequent washing of hands and clothes
Avoiding public and crowded places
Constant Monitor health and symptoms for timely diagnosis and treatment
The virus has been at the center of many controversies starting from its earliest outbreak to its widespread treatments and not barring its eventual doom. However, facts remain facts, and conjectures are well conjectures. We need to be cautious and attentive towards its treatment and identification of new symptoms because, let’s be honest, we know that more unique and more virulent strains are emerging at a faster knowledge. Eventually, the knowledge acquired for diagnosis, treatment, and development of vaccines could be rendered useless. Therefore, we need to tackle the situation before our defenses become outdated. Potentially, this can be achieved by speeding up the vaccination process since time is of great essence. Procuring the final developed vaccines from abroad can be one solution to counter our country’s manufacturing capacity with the primary focus on the complete vaccination of the elderly and potentially vulnerable people.
The only optimism comes from the fact that the world has witnessed significant improvement in the healthcare systems by leaps and bounds, which should at least prevent us from other rampant outbreaks in the future.