How to Prevent 3rd Wave of Covid-19?

Synopsis: Mass vaccination will be the best solution to contain Covid19. However, to prevent the 3rd Wave of Covid-19 we need to adhere to measures such as mask-wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene.

  • International experience from other countries such as the UK, South Africa, United States indicated to us about the possibility of recurrence of Second-wave in India.
  • However, preparedness to tackle the second wave was largely ignored.
  • There is a high possibility of a third wave once the second wave recedes. This is, if, we don’t take active measures to control the spread.
  • Hence, India needs to plan effectively to contain the possibility of a 3rd wave.
How the possibility of a third wave can be Prevented?
  • Mass vaccination is the right option. It will help achieve herd immunity and will bring the Pandemic under control.
  • However, vaccinating the entire population will take a considerable amount of time due to the following challenges:
      • Slow pace of vaccination,
      • Inelastic vaccine supplies
      • limited finances with State governments
  • So, along with mass vaccination drive, India needs to follow other methods such as mask-wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene, ban on mass gatherings to reduce community transmission. For instance,
    • According to a study on Beijing households, face masks were 79% effective in preventing transmission when they were used by all household members.
    • Similarly, according to the National Academy of Sciences, near-universal adoption of nonmedical masks in combination with complementary public health measures could reduce community spread.
How to persuade people to wear masks?
  • An experimental study in Bangladesh provides an understanding of how to persuade people to wear masks voluntarily.
  • According to the study by Mushfiq Mobarak of Yale University, the following interventions helped to increase the percentage of people using masks three-fold.
      • Providing Free masks along with well-designed instructional material.
      • Improvements in mask Quality. Masks should be comfortable to wear in hot and humid conditions, along with effective filters.
      • Reminders from religious and community leaders and volunteers.
How India can replicate this model to Nudge Mask wearing?
  • First, need to allocate budgetary resource for the cost of supplying free reusable masks.
  • Second, we need imaginative and creative communication campaigns to explain the reasons for mask wearing as well as the right way to wear a mask.
  • Third, community-level leaders, networks of health workers at the village and community levels should be involved in health campaigns.

If the country is to reduce the impact of future waves, it is essential that the above measures are put in place.

Source: The Hindu

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