Covid-19: Third wave, a close shave | By Dr Asif Channer

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Covid-19: Third wave, a close shave


THE threatening third wave of COVID-19, the highly contagious with new variants of virus is underway around the globe including Pakistan and the number of cases caused by variants is on the rise despite vaccination rollout.

Currently there are 86 countries in the world where there is sharp rise of pandemic once again.

The alarming sign is that the children young adult group are also being targeted by the virus in the third wave which is he unique feature of third wave in addition the infection is also severe and life threatening in them At present global reported infections are 125,023,000, deaths 2,873,000 as the pandemic has invaded 223 Countries and territories to date.

Active cases are 22,020,781 with 21,927,147 in mild condition and 93,634 in sad critical conditions.

During this on-going third wave Pakistan is being struck badly with an average daily 60 deaths, 5000 new cases, alarming rise in transmission rate about 11.25 at national level and 14 to 23% at provincial levels, about 3700 critically sick patients, 50,000 active cases, about 70% to 80% ICU beds’ occupancy annexed with non-safe behaviours by the public and less effective implementation of SOPs by concerned authori6ies are adding misery to the situation already compromised by poor healthcare infrastructure and poor socioeconomics of the nation.

It is a dilemma with the viruses that they mutate over the span of time and Corona virus is exhibiting the same characteristics.

Presently multiple COVID-19 variants are in circulation around the globe; for instance, the UK, South African and Brazilian variants are well documented.

The point to be noted is that these variants spread more simply and quickly hence contributing to intense third wave with more cases of COVID-19 once again.

The fact that the virus remained suspended in the air in closed areas and it lost its potency in open areas might help a great deal in controlling the spread during the upcoming spring and summer in Pakistan.

This can explain as the disease went out of control in the West where people remained indoors during the winter.

When a virus is widely circulating in masses and causing many infections, the chances of the virus mutation increases.

The more chances a virus has to spread, the more it reproduces and the more prospects it has to undergo mutation thus the intensity of third wave would be increased manifolds.

Most mutations have little impact on the virus’s ability to produce infections and diseases.

But depending on location in the virus’s genetic material, they may affect a virus’s properties, like transmission and severity.

Not strangely, the increase in the number of cases in the third wave is overburdening the healthcare resources, emergency beds, ICUs, ventilators etc and manpower.

It must be remembered that during this third wave and rapid variations and mutations in the virus, the on-going vaccination regimes in the world should be continued along with full precautionary measures and SOPs.

The protective measures like washing hands, using face-mask, social distancing, isolation, quarantine and disinfection along with vaccination are inevitable.

More vaccines are being developed including the nasal vaccines and these should be received by all as per availability and priority regimes set by the different countries without delays and hesitations to combat the deadly third wave.

The doubts about the ineffectiveness of the availed Covid vaccines in the presence of new variants are clarified here.

The Covid-19 vaccines that are currently in development or have been approved are expected to provide at least some protection against new virus variants because these vaccines elicit a broad immune response involving a range of antibodies and cells.

Therefore, changes or mutations in the virus should not make vaccines completely ineffective.

In the event that any of these vaccines prove to be less effective against one or more variants, it will be possible to change the composition of the vaccines to protect against these variants.

Vaccines are a critical weapon in the battle against COVID-19, and there are clear public health and life-saving benefits in them.

Rolling out vaccines as quickly and widely as possible with equitable access be ensured and remember, we are all safe only if everyone is safe.

To combat the third wave efficiently and promptly different regimes are being adopted by different countries.

Many countries across Europe are re-imposing restrictions to combat third wave of Covid-19 infections that might once again leave hospitals struggling to cope.

In Canada, there is a limited public movement. Germany has re-imposed new lockdown for a new pandemic and has decided to reinforce its strictest shutdown since the start of the pandemic a year ago.

In France curfew and a new lockdown has been devised. In Sweden the key is for people to follow the rules.

Italy has been divided into orange and red zones, roughly half of the country orange zone the medium-risk and the rest is “red zone the high-risk.

In Norway new national restrictions are placed for Easter. In Austria the lockdown has been extended until Easter.

In Switzerland lockdown measures have been extended instead of being eased. The Netherlands is also still in the middle of an extended lockdown.

Belgium has been forced to pause its plan to ease restrictions due to a new rise in cases.

England is currently at the beginning of a four-step plan to ease lockdown.

Lastly, this third wave is posing new threats and challenges to the world hence all the routine activities of daily life be reinforced to be controlled under the cover of the vaccines what so ever is available following preventive measures echoing abundantly and redundantly around the globe.

— The writer is DEO Rescue 1122 Bahawalpur.