The number of Covid-19 cases started dipping in March, 2022. But was it too soon to breathe a sigh of relief? The cases have started to increase again.
The country is witnessing an increase in covid cases since May - adding to the number of deaths as well. Though the central government has ordered some states to re-implement the Covid curbs, experts believe that the fourth wave is still a far cry in India. The sudden increase in Covid infected cases is expected to be a ‘fluctuation’ in the effect of the prevailing virus. The Omicron variant of Covid-19 is still active and it is being stated as the most dominant variant detected till date. Moreover, the variant had already reached its peak position at the beginning of this year. So, the chance of a huge increase in cases that may cause a fourth wave is somewhat low.
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur had previously depicted that the 4th wave of Covid pandemic is likely to start from June and reach its peak in August. Though India has been recording an approximate 50% surge in new cases, the number of deaths has declined to 100 that rose to 200 earlier this month. Mainly seven Indian states are being marked in the red. These include districts of Kerala and Mizoram with a Covid positivity rate of 10%.
Dr. Samiran Panda, additional Director General, ICMR stated that the current state of pandemic cannot be called a new wave because the rising graph of infection is not uniform in the whole country. The phenomenon of rising Covid cases is only being seen in some particular states. Also, a wave will have more cases than the previous day in a consistent manner, which is not happening presently.
Doctors and health officials consider two main issues as the reason behind the Covid surge. Firstly, in March when the cases started to fall, most of the curbs and restrictions were withdrawn and therefore people started to move out without masks. This can be a major reason behind such an increase because apart from vaccinations, medicines and other preventives, wearing masks and maintaining proper sanitization can keep the virus away. Secondly, people with booster doses are few in number. Data shows that less than 5% of people have been vaccinated with the booster dose. The former director of the ICMR's Centre of Advanced Research in Virology has said that higher the number of people with booster dose, the lower will be the number of infected and gradually the active caseload will fall.
Two new variants of Omicron have been detected by India’s SARS CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) - namely BA.4 and BA.5. These variants are supposed to have been responsible for the spike in cases. To sum up, it can be said that if a new variant with high transmissible power and affecting ability along with low health severity is considered, then only, a new wave would be recognised. Returning to proper measures, restrictions and regulating the vaccination drive by the government can aid the situation.