PUNE: The third wave of Covid-19 was unlikely to be as severe as the second and India was now in the endemic stage of the disease.
Quoting eminent virologists, The Times of India has reported there could not be a large third wave in the next few months with the existing variants.
Dr. Gagandeep Kang, a member of the Covid-19 working group and professor at Christian Medical College, Vellore said there could be small waves limited to certain geographies.
“Delhi, in all probability, had four waves. A wave is an increase in cases followed by a decrease in a relatively short period in a defined geography. We are unlikely to see a sharp spike in cases in the third wave as in the case of the second because of the lower number of susceptible people and no new variants,” she said.
Kang said she was not saying there would not be a third wave even with the existing variants, but it would be a smaller one in smaller geographies.
She said earlier, there were a lot of infections and a large number of people fell sick because everyone was susceptible. “Now, with fewer susceptible people, there would be an increase in infection without an increase in people getting sick. This is a decoupling between the infection and the disease because of people being protected from severe disease owing to prior infection or vaccination,” she said.
Kang said an endemic was a disease that was consistently present at high or low frequency, which might differ in different geographies. “Given the virus has been there for over 18 months, with two-thirds of the population already infected by June/July and the continuing cases, we can reasonably say we have reached the endemic stage,” she said.
Kang said a rise in the number of cases even in an endemic disease hinged on environmental conditions and behavior changes. Seasonal fluctuations, too, affect an endemic disease.
Jacob John, another virologist, said, “We are in an endemic phase with numbers without many ups and downs for 12 weeks or 3 months. He said a wave in near future was possible only if a new variant more transmissible than Delta emerged.
Epidemiologist Giridhar Babu said the interpretation of terms such as endemicity was bound to be subjective and it needed clear definitions to track Covid’s next phase.