“With opening of public places like malls, cinema halls markets etc the number of cases in the city is expected to rise. So far the rise is gradual and the number is acceptable. We however are keeping a close watch so that we can start devising ways to counter in case the number shoots up sharply,” said a senior health department official.
From July second week onwards daily positive cases in Kolkata had been in two digits largely till mid-August before the number started swaying between two and three digits. But for straight 10 days, the count has refused to slip down below three digits. On Thursday , the city reported 118 cases and two deaths out of the 724 cases across the state.
“This time the rise is gradual and not very sharp like the massive surge we witnessed during the second wave. The reasons could be either this is the start to an endemic phase, nothing like that if we are entering such a stage, or it could also be the start of the third wave. We need to watch this pattern for a little bit longer to be sure about it,” said Institute of Child Health associate professor Prabhas Prasun Giri.
Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (IPGMER) professor surgery Diptendra Sarkar said that with almost 61% of Bengal’s population so far developing antibody, the rest of the 19% are expected to get infected before herd immunity is achieved.
“Look at Kerala where there is massive spike. This is because the cumulative sero-positivity is only 44%. We expect case to go up again in Kolkata and in the state as a whole but number of hospitalization and death should be much less than what we saw during the second wave peak because of the vaccination coverage,” said Sarkar.
Even as rise is not sharp as yet, experts warn of the possibility of an abrupt surge as people start mingling in large numbers ahead of the festivities.
“The threat of covid is still very much there. So, any gathering or accumulation of people can be a potential source for spread of infection or “hotspot”. Durga Puja is knocking on the doors. And prior to that, Puja shopping has started and people are roaming without mask. These are actually potential risk factors for third wave in Bengal,” said public health specialist Anirban Dalui.
“The speed and intensity of the surge will all depend on how people abide by Covid-19 appropriate behavior and how fast we can cover the population with vaccination,” said Giri.