The impact of any possible third wave of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic in India could be significantly minimised by rigorous vaccination and providing better health infrastructure, according to a State Bank of India (SBI) research document.
India's largest public sector bank, in its five-page-long report, said that the average duration of the third wave of the pandemic in the worst-hit countries is 98 days as against 108 days during the second wave. Citing international experience, the report further suggested that the intensity of the third wave has been as severe as the second wave.
"However it is also observed that in third wave, if we are better prepared, the decline in serious case rate will lead to less number of deaths," SBI research document read.
As per the official data, around 162,000 people in India had lost their lives to Covid-19 till March-end. Within two months, the death toll more than doubled, taking the total number of Covid-related fatalities to over 330,000. The exponential rise in Covid cases during the second wave overwhelmed the country's health infrastructure, leading to massive oxygen shortage in hospitals.
While the daily new coronavirus cases have been on a decline for the past few weeks, experts have warned about a possible third wave, given that only around 3.2 per cent of the Indian population has been fully vaccinated against the infection so far. According to the SBI report, better health infrastructure and rigorous vaccination could lead to a decline in serious Covid cases from 20 per cent to five per cent during the third wave, subsequently reducing coronavirus-related deaths to 40,000 "as compared to current deaths of more than 1.7 lakh."
"So vaccination should be the key priority, especially for the children who could be the next vulnerable group. With around 15-17 crore children in the 12-18 age bracket, India should go for an advanced procurement strategy like that adopted by developed nations to inoculate this age-group," the report said.