Cases of the Delta-plus variant have now crossed 100 in Maharashtra even as the early days of the festive season have already sent infections north in Kerala. It is against this worrying backdrop that we are reading the alert from the committee of experts constituted under the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), in their report, ‘Third Wave Preparedness: Children Vulnerability and Recovery’. The biggest vulnerability for children is that they are unvaccinated.
But the report also refers to specific general projections, such as the one that India can witness 6 lakh cases per day in the next wave. Compare this to the peak of around 1 lakh in the first wave and around 4 lakh in the second wave.
The report reminds us the second wave that blew up into massive shortages of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and therapeutic drugs in many parts of the country originated not just in the sudden spike of a highly-infectious variant but also in poorly followed safety precautions and lack of preparedness in terms of healthcare infrastructure.
Not repeating these mistakes is critical. The report points out that Tamil Nadu for example has begun building up infrastructure in pediatric wards and sensitising pediatricians to Covid treatment protocols. Such advance preparation on multiple fronts, from masking to oxygen and medicines, will make all the difference when infections surge again.
‘Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it,’ the report rightly reminds. If we do things right its direst warnings for October will not come to pass. Let’s do things right.
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