On Friday, UK recorded a further 10,476 new cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours. The fresh surge has pushed the figure above 10,000 for the first time since late February. A top vaccine expert on Saturday said “the UK is undergoing a third wave of coronavirus infections driven by highly infectious and transmissible Delta variant– first identified in India.”
Professor Adam Finn, who advises on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), told the BBC that the country is now in a firm race between the vaccines and the Delta variant. On the optimistic side he stated “It’s going up, perhaps we can be a little bit optimistic it’s not going up any faster, but nevertheless it’s going up, so this third wave is definitely underway.” He said that the race is firmly on between the vaccine programme, particularly getting older people’s second doses done, and the Delta variant third wave. On being asked about the UK’s vaccination programme’s capability to outpace the Delta variant with the current rate of jabs, Prof. Finn. said “No, I don’t feel confident, but I think there aresome grounds for optimism. The latest ONS [Office for National Statistics] figures continue to show a rise, but that rise has not accelerated quite as much as I’d feared over the last week.”
He further added “So, the race is on. The sooner we can get, particularly second doses, into older people, the less of a hospitalisation wave we’ll see this time around. That’s the critical thing, that’s what’s grounded us all in the past, and if we’ve managed to protect enough older people that we can avoid a great big surge of hospitalisations and deaths, then things will be able to move back towards normal.”
A steady rise of new Delta variant emerging cases over the past few week has led UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to delay a planned end to all lockdown measures on Monday by four weeks, with July 19 now the expected timeline. Meanwhile, surge testing is being rolled out in further parts of England, including south London, to track the spread of the growing Delta variant.
Amid this context, an important question for India would be – is India prepared to face covid3rd wave. After assessing the situation in India, experts have warned that 3rd wave in India could start in 6-8 weeks. The major challenges confronting nation are vaccinating all, increase in dose gap, large crowds of people stepping out amid unlock and children to be worst affected in 3rd wave. India should use the lessons taken from mistakes of the covid 2ndwave. Experts’ advice India to act quickly, implement lockdown before peak, must take stringent steps and extreme intervention required to ensure compliance of covid norms, bolster health infrastructure and lastly, must vaccinate masses as soon as possible.