Mumbai: The highly transmissible “Delta plus” variant of SARS-CoV-2 might ignite a third pandemic wave in Maharashtra, as per a presentation made at a meeting attended by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on June 16.
The total number of active patients due to COVID-19 could reach up to eight lakh, with 10 per cent out of them being children, according to the presentation made by the state health department, as per an official release.
The above-mentioned meeting was held in Mumbai to take precautionary steps to tackle a possible third wave of the coronavirus pandemic as Maharashtra, the must effected state in India, emerges out of a devastating second wave of the infection.
Other than CM Thackeray, health minister Rajesh Tope and other top members of the state task force on coronavirus attended the meeting.
The presentation made by the health department at the meet showcased all possible scenarios in case another new wave of the infection hits Maharashtra.
The health department said that there were 19 lakh cases in the first wave (post-March 2020 outbreak), while during the second wave (which started around mid-February 2021) so far, more than 40 lakh infections had been reported all over the state.
“The Delta plus variant could stoke a third wave in Maharashtra. It could spread at double the rate,” said an official during the presentation.
Thackeray also instructed officials to be ready to deal with any situation in terms of availability of beds, medicines and other important resources.
“If we do not follow COVID-19-appropriate behaviour, we would be hit by the third wave before we can fully recover from the second one,” Thackeray was quoted as saying in the release at the meeting.
“We have learned lessons from the first and second waves. We have been told that Maharashtra would get around 42 crore vaccine vials from August-September. The officials need to make all necessary preparations,” he said.
During the first wave, the total number of patients was highest at 3,01,752 on September 13, 2020. Meanwhile, it was 6,99,858 on April 22 this year during the coronavirus second wave, the release said.
On September 9, 2020, the weekly positivity rate was 23.53 per cent, which is still the highest in the first wave, and it went up to 24.96 per cent on April 8 this year, officials said.
The task force pointed out that in some EU countries, lockdown-like measures were re-introduced following a surge in cases.
Earlier this week, scientists in New Delhi said the highly transmissible Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 has mutated further to form the Delta plus’ or AY.1′ variant, but there is no immediate cause for concern in India as its incidence in the country is still low.
The new Delta plus variant has been formed due to a mutation in the Delta or B.1.617.2 variant, first identified in India and one of the drivers of the deadly second wave, they had said.