india covid vaccine
Healthcare workers carry a box containing COVISHIELD vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as they walk through a field to vaccinate villagers during a door-to-door vaccination drive in Banaskantha district in the western state of Gujarat, India, July 23, 2021. Image Credit: Reuters

The researchers who predicted India’s vicious second COVID-19 wave earlier this year have warned again of a new wave that would peak in the next two months or so.

A lead research team from the Indian Institute of Technology in Hyderabad and Kanpur note that India “may see a worsening of its outbreak as soon as this month, with the next wave peaking [in October] in the best-case scenario with less than 100,000 infections a day, or nearly 150,000 in the worst scenario.”

The third wave will however be smaller than the previous one, which saw at its height, 400,000-plus daily new cases before plateauing to the current average of 40,000 cases as the country accelerated its vaccination drive. The spike in India, where the more contagious Delta variant was first discovered, is consistent with the current global trend.

Experts around the world expect the situation may worsen significantly in the new few weeks. “Things are going to get worse,” US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said. Fauci, who is the chief medical adviser to the US president warned that the world will see “pain and suffering” as infection cases climb.

Fauci and others, including officials at the WHO, have repeatedly called for speeding up the vaccination process worldwide to stem the frighteningly fast rise in cases, especially as people grow increasingly complacent — ignoring basic health guidelines.

However, with the exception of few dozen countries that have high rate of vaccination like the UAE, the US and in Europe, only 14.7 per cent of the world population is fully vaccinated. In many developing countries, the rate is as low as 1.1 per cent of the entire population.

Some of those countries, in Asia, saw record jumps in COVID-19 cases over the weekend, mostly driven by the Delta variant and slow pace of vaccination. There is an urgent need for a substantial global campaign to help speed up the vaccination drives in developing countries.

More than 200,000 people protested in Paris and other French cities against the mandatory health pass. French officials were perplexed that so many people would oppose the vaccine when the numbers show that the unvaccinated people now comprise about 85 per cent of hospitalisations in France, and 78 per cent of COVID-19 linked deaths. These policies have become necessary.

A new and probably deadlier wave is upon us. All experts maintain that vaccination and adhering to the health precautionary measures, such as mask wearing and exercising social distance, are our best hope of averting ‘the pain and suffering’.