Even as some of the States and Union Territories are seeing a significant rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, the top scientist believes that the surge in infection will not lead to the fourth wave by any chance. Speaking to ANI, the former Chief Scientist of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr R Gangakhedkar said that India has sublineages of the Omicron variant but no new variant has been reported so far and the chances of the fourth wave can’t be seen as of now.
“I don’t think this is the fourth wave by any chance. One thing we have to understand is that the entire world continues to have BA.2 variants, which is infecting people every day,” he said.He further elaborated that due to the opening of schools and colleges, the people have become socially active resultantly the surge in cases is being witnessed.”The second issue is that we have allowed the schools to open as well as the college students are moving now. The result is now that they are out in the open, they are getting infected and clusters of those infections can be sizable mainly because of social networks,” said Dr Gangakhedkar.
According to Dr Gangakhedkar, “The withdrawal of the use of masks is also the reason for the surge in cases. It is also true that some of us still have misunderstood the mandatory use of masks, which has been withdrawn. Some of us may be presuming that there is no fear of acquiring any infection so I can move freely and they have stopped using the mask and therefore, they also get infected if they come in contact with somebody who’s infected as of now.”
“So essentially this kind of a reaction when you relax the lockdown is more likely to come and we may see a smaller surge,” he added while cautioning against removing masks. He also said that infection from Omicron is going to persist for six to nine months and recombinant variants are an accident that will not lead to the fourth wave.
“The last thing which we have to remember is when we talk in terms of these newer variants, which are coming BA.4, BA.5 from South Africa, and the recombinant variants that are coming, there are two factors which will have proven that all these variants continue to belong to Omicron family. So whatever protection that natural infection has given to us is likely to persist for a longer period. It could be about six to nine months’ time.
And it is also important to remember at recombinant variants, by and large, do not live longer to spread the infection because recombination events are an accident.And that’s not the natural evolution of the virus. So we need not worry in terms of the emergence of the fourth wave,” he added.Since the beginning of April, India has been continuously registering a rise in COVID cases daily. However, on Monday, the country recorded about a 90 per cent jump with 2,183 cases.
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