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Norm flouting during Puja may steer Bengal into third wave, say experts

“The third wave may wreak havoc again across the country particularly the states that are getting prepared for festive seasons. We are requesting the people to avoid crowd, use masks and get vaccinated in order to prevent yet another tsunami of pandemic in Bengal,”

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

With fluctuating spurt in Covid cases in the state experts fear that the third wave may wreak havoc again similar to the second wave during MayJune if the Covid appropriate behavior (CAB) is violated mainly during the Durga puja.

About a month ago, an expert panel, set up by an institute under the Ministry of Home Affairs, had predicted the third wave hitting the country anytime between September and October and suggested ramping up vaccination.

The committee of experts, constituted by the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), had also said that children would have a similar risk as adults since paediatric facilities, doctors and equipment like ventilators, ambulances, are nowhere close to what may be required in case a large number of children become infected.

Medical experts in Kolkata have also pressed an alarm button urging the administration to force people to follow CAB like vaccinations, using of masks, hand sanitisations and social distancing.

“The third wave may wreak havoc again across the country particularly the states that are getting prepared for festive seasons. We are requesting the people to avoid crowd, use masks and get vaccinated in order to prevent yet another tsunami of pandemic in Bengal,” said Dr Sukumar

Mukherjee, general medicine expert and a leading member of the global advisory board (GAB) formed by the state government a year ago. Dr Samiran Panda, senior epidemiologist attached with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), told The Statesman from Delhi, “We have to strongly follow the Covid-19 protocols including vaccinations, wearing masks and maintain social distancing to fight the third wave. We can’t stop festivals belonging to any religions but at the same time people will have to be conscious about the CAB.”

It is said that the third wave could peak in October with 3.2 lakh cases per day, according to the report submitted to the MHA in August. But this has now been complicated by the new and more virulent mutated variants of SARS Cov-2 that have the ability to escape immunity and in some cases even the vaccines, it said. Children with Covid-19 infection have largely been seen to be asymptomatic or develop mild symptoms. But if children have comorbidities, it becomes dangerous.

According to the Union health ministry, out of all the children hospitalised due to Covid19, 60-70 per cent had comorbidities or low immunity. CoWin portal data showed, out of the total 5,29,24,709 vaccinated so far till 21 September in Bengal, 76, 64,159 have got first dose while the rest have got the second