The COVID-19 pandemic has been ravaging the world for the past 18 months. While the first wave of the pandemic shook the rest of the world, the second wave of the disease shook India to its core and created a sense of shock and chaos in the country.
The delta variant of the virus, which emerged in interior Maharashtra in late December 2020, was the causative agent of the second wave and has now spread to other parts of the world. However, with a downward trend observed in the COVID-19 cases across the country, the states have started opening up, and easing lockdowns. Despite this, there is still a looming threat of the third wave of COVID still looming over us. If you are wondering how to protect and save yourself from a possible third wave, read on to find out more!
Possible Causes for a Suspected Third Wave of COVID-19
Before we learn more about how to protect ourselves from the third wave of COVID-19, let’s look at a few possible causes that may develop to be the causative factors:
- Newer variants
The coronavirus, the virus causing COVID-19, is constantly mutating like any other virus. For example, the delta virus is a triple mutant coronavirus since it split into three lineages. As newer variants emerge, we have to observe them to see if their mutation (abnormal changes in the virus) make the virus more transmissible or give them the ability to cause serious infection. If the virus continues to mutate, it can cause breakthrough infections and may lead to a third wave of COVID.
- Reduced vaccinations/reluctance
It is a huge task to vaccinate India, the second-most-populous country in the world. Coupled with a limited capacity of vaccine manufacturers, it is a mammoth task to vaccinate all adults in the country. Vaccinations have proven to prevent or at least reduce severe COVID-19 disease. Reluctance in taking vaccines or a slow rollout can result in more transmissibility of the existing variants or give rise to newer mutant strains of the coronavirus. This can result in a third wave!
- Letting our guards down
One of the primary causes suspected to lead to a possible third wave of COVID-19 is not following COVID-appropriate behaviour. With the cases constantly reducing, people are forgetting about COVID-appropriate behaviour that they must continue to follow. With the season of festivities in the country, people are gathering to meet friends and family, flocking to markets and theatres with no masks, social distancing, and other measures required to protect themselves from COVID-19.
- Rapid easing of the lockdowns
With a reducing number of cases, growing pressure from the people, and the country’s economic requirement to open up, the states and the central government are easing lockdowns. From markets, shops, restaurants to offices, schools, and colleges, pretty much everything is not open. What is worrying is that people are now heading out to public places to spend time out of their homes, many of whom are not following COVID appropriate behavior. This rapid easing of lockdowns and restrictions can become a major cause of COVID third wave in the country.
How to Prevent the Third Wave of COVID-19?
Understanding the possible and suspected causes of the COVID third wave in India is essential, and we must know effective ways to prevent it:
- COVID appropriate behaviour
Ever since the pandemic broke out, the entire world has been emphasising COVID appropriate behavior to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. To prevent the third wave of COVID, you must continue to follow COVID appropriate behaviour, which includes:
- Maintain social distancing of at least six feet.
- Sanitise your hands whenever you can.
- Wear masks when you are out of home or interacting with anyone outside your safety bubble.
- Wash your masks regularly and use three-ply masks that offer better filtration
- Keep your house and surroundings clean.
- Ramp up vaccination
The best and most effective way to end this COVID-19 pandemic is vaccinations. The vaccinations began just before the second wave in India, and the government is trying its best to vaccinate every citizen of the country. Vaccinating the population with two doses of the vaccines and maybe a third booster dose can reduce the infectivity of the virus. People who are vaccinated may be affected with a less severe or mild form of the disease. If India wants to avoid the third wave, it must ramp up vaccinations!
- Double masking
Masking is an effective way to protect yourself from coronavirus. During the second wave, people were advised to wear double masks to protect themselves when outdoors. Another way to protect and safeguard yourself from the third wave of COVID-19 is by double masking. All you need to do is wear your masks correctly, and when double masking, always use two different types of masks. For example, a surgical mask and a cloth mask together.
- Avoid unnecessary travel
To avoid contracting the virus, you must limit or avoid meeting people. This also applies to unnecessary or unimportant travel. Travelling can expose you to different people who may be asymptomatic carriers of the virus. So, if you wish to stay clear of COVID third wave, stay home and avoid unnecessary travel.
- Work from home
Though many offices are open and are inviting their employees back, opting for a work-from-home schedule is safer and can protect you from the third wave of COVID-19. You can speak to your manager about your fears of COVID-19’s third wave and try a flexible schedule to work from home and visit your office in an emergency or vital situation.
Doctors, scientists, researchers, and government officials, who are closely tracking the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic, suspected the third wave to arrive around September 2021. However, due to strict measures, restrictions, and COVID appropriate behavior followed by people so far, we still see the case numbers fall each day. Also, the absence of a new Variant of Interest or Variant of Concern is good news. Whether we are starting at a third wave possibility is still unknown, but we can do our best to take appropriate care to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the COVID-19 third wave.