Delta variant, vaccines, and an imminent third wave: What's in store? |
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Delta variant, vaccines, and an imminent third wave: What's in store?

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Experts from over the globe are warning nations for the preparedness for the third wave seeing the increased presence of the Delta variant and the subsequent mutations the coronavirus is undergoing. The anticipation of the third wave marks a real risk for the countries around the globe and warrants immediate check to prevent surge as the second one.

The chief economist at UBS Securities India, Tanvee Gupta-Jain, alarms people about the real danger and rising risk of the third wave because of the facts that the virus has spread its web in the rural areas of the country too and also the pace of vaccination has dropped down to under 3.4 million doses daily from 4 million earlier when it seems to be the promising method to prevent the next wave.

However, a ray of hope emerges as the economic activity boosted up gradually for the seventh consecutive week to July 12, as some states eased mobility restrictions, describes some reports.

The emergence of the Delta variant and its subsequent mutation is scaring the authorities about the increased risk of the third wave. Although the numbers of daily new cases have plateaued in recent days, they still fall above the 2021 trough. Moreover, the decline in active cases has been narrowed down, which again is a cause of concern.

Additionally, in over 20 per cent of the topic caseload districts where the second has receded, the third wave has set in firmly, which accounted for only 5 per cent a month ago. Considering the emergence of new cases it is clear that the third wave has firmly set in. 

The slowing pace of vaccinations raises another cause of concern. The declining daily dose administration stands on supply constraints and vaccine hesitancy.

Till July 12, only 381 million vaccination doses were administered. This accounts for only 22.7% of the population above 18 receiving the first dose, and only 5.4% of the eligible candidates receiving both doses.

The leading economist highlighted that though economic indicators are normalizing they are still mixed. Railway and domestic airline passenger traffic have seen a rise further but toll collections remain plateaued for the latest reporting week.

Also, power demand witnessed an 11% hike partly on summer season demand, on the other hand, railway freight experienced a decline by 1.9% w-o-w and to cap it all vehicle registrations contracted 9% as of July 12, the first time since the last week of May, probably due to the price hike announced by auto companies to offset the increased production cost.

Additionally, while the labor force participation rate increased from 39.6% at the end-June to 40.6%, urban and rural unemployment has picked up marginally.

Further, the below-trend monsoons this season could have negatively affected summer crop sowing to the tune of a minus 10% in rural areas of the country.

Dr Soumya Swaminathan describes the Delta variant, to be a variant of concern because its more transmissible than the previous variants and also has been able to resist the existing antibodies in our blood. But the good news remains that all of the WHO emergency use listed vaccines do protect against developing severe disease, hospitalization and death due to the Delta variant. The studies from countries witnessing predominance of Delta variant shows that the vaccinated people are much less likely to end up in hospital. And the full course of vaccination is mandatory to render full immunity in protecting against the Delta variant. 

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