Randeep Guleria told NDTV while deaths high, are down, and with better COVID norms, testing and vaccinating, things would come under control.
As India hopes to unlock soon, there are concerns that the virus has not gone anywhere, and once again, the nation would see a terrible spike in cases and Dr. Randeep Guleria, AIIMS chief, admits that while deaths are high, are coming down but still India needs to be extremely careful and avoid the mistakes the nation made after the first lockdown.
There were also concerns about the high mortality rates in hospitals which could have been due to late reporting of COVID, overdependence on home isolation, and no oxygen at home, and these precautions need to be stepped up.
Dr. Guleria shared the heartening thought that India seems to have passed her peak though concerns still remain for the South of India and the North East.
He said in order to prevent the same mistakes, India should do the following:
1. Have COVID appropriate behavior, with graded behavior, and no spreader events.
2. Continue heavy testing, so as to be able to pick up hot spot areas of an upward trend, then be vigilant to execute lockdowns in those areas so it does not spread to other areas.
3. Work aggressively on increasing vaccinations and administering them.
Presently, many pharmaceutical companies refuse to work with the states and only want to work with the Center which is slowing down processes.
Dr. Guleria said that the vaccines need to be ramped up and India has to get vaccines from abroad ensuring equitable distribution to states and also a special emphasis on vaccinating the comorbid first since the vaccines have thinned out presently.
While presently there are rows between state governments on a competitive bid fighting for vaccines in the free market, India would need to ramp up vaccine production and also get as many vaccines as it can from abroad.
Dr. Guleria said India did not preorder large global doses of vaccines as other nations were prioritizing their own countries first, because of the costs, conditions for temperature storage such as -70 though now Pfizer has made it at 2-8°C storage conditions which are agreeable to India.
India can produce its own vaccines and presently are going to manufacture Sputnik and other states such as Kerala manufacturing their own vaccines while other manufacturers too in India are coming on boards by the 2nd half of July and it was cheery news that by this time, India could probably be vaccinating 1 crore people daily, thereby preventing any other waves hitting the country.
If all this transpires, India can definitely prevent a third wave and eventually crush the virus completely, and lives could start to become normal again, but a lot of hard teamwork has to be start for this to happen.