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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

‘We have reached the peak,’ says PGI Director

On the third wave, Dr Jagat Ram said we may see it at the end of the year. He also underlined the importance of a robust vaccination programme to combat it.

Written by Parul | Mohali |
May 13, 2021 11:17:06 am
Prof Ram says that studies on the previous pandemics show that the second wave is the deadliest, and the third is smaller than the second. (PTI Photo)

FOR more than a month now, conversations with doctors in the city have centred around the tsunami of Covid-19 cases and deaths. On May 9, the city witnessed 895 cases, the highest since the pandemic began. From shortage of hospital beds to oxygen, lack of ventilators to staff in hospitals, the pandemic has left no one in the city untouched. Yet, there seems to be a small window of hope and light with PGI director Prof. Jagat Ram saying that the worst may be over.

“This is the peak, we have reached it, and I feel by the end of this month, hopefully we will start seeing a decline in cases. But it will not be very swift.” The rise of cases in this wave, adds Prof. Ram, was very steep, with the involvement of a large population, including very young people, and the infection too is severe.

“Last year, the number of cases was less, though the ratio of mortality seems similar so far,” he observes.

Prof Ram says that studies on the previous pandemics show that the second wave is the deadliest, and the third is smaller than the second. “In this wave there has been a drastic increase in the number of people infected, with many recoveries as well, so there is significant number that has developed immunity, with the presence of antibodies.”

VACCINATE

On the third wave, Dr Jagat Ram said we may see it at the end of the year.

Underlining the importance of a robust vaccination programme to combat it, the director said, “If we are able to increase our vaccination process to cover people of all groups as fast and systematically as we can, I think we will be better prepared for the third wave.”

After two to three weeks of the second dose, we develop protection against the virus, so we can add this number to those who have been infected and hope for some partial herd immunity. But I must add that we cannot sit on natural immunity, it has to be supplemented by vaccination to protect our population,” added Prof. Ram.

LONG COVID

Prof. Jagat Ram says that we cannot afford to take off our masks for at least one more year.

“Covid appropriate behaviour has to become a part of our lives, for we are witnessing a very virulent second wave because we let our guard down.”

As for the long Covid we are witnessing in this wave. Prof Ram says that in 95 per cent of the cases, the symptoms are resolved in two weeks. It is only in three to five per cent of cases that it may persist longer. It is especially true of those who have weak lungs, respiratory issues, compromised kidneys, heart disease and diabetes.
“At this point, we need to work together to fight this second surge, and make sure that we are responsible for our behaviour and prevent the third wave by masking up and getting vaccinated.”

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