Despite a lockdown of two weeks, J&K continues to see a constant rise in the number of cases. The barrage of patients requiring admission is a looming crisis for the region’s healthcare system. Amidst this scenario, the peak and the decline of the ‘Second Wave’ is the most deliberated question. We spoke at length to various experts regarding the expected trend. A précis of the conversations:
Dr Rouf Hussain Rather, a Community Medicine Specialist, working in Kashmir’s Divisional level COVID19 control room said Kashmir has 2 to 4 weeks more to go till it reaches peak, till which time, he said, the cases would continue to rise. “Our peak is expected at the cusp of May and June,” he said. Adding that during the first part of June, daily cases would be constant with no major fluctuations. The month of July, he said, Kashmir will see a significant respite in the number of cases and a downward curve, he believes.
In addition, “differential exposure and differential effect between districts” also needs to be accounted for. “The districts other than Srinagar follow a lag pattern. Cases rise first in Srinagar and the other districts follow, the trend being two weeks lag. When the Srinagar wave will reach top, other districts will continue to have a rise,” he said. “When Srinagar wave will start coming down, other districts will reach their peak. It is due to this difference that our peak will remain for 3-4 weeks and not come down immediately.” Similarly deaths also follow a lag pattern of 2 to 4 weeks with case diagnosis & daily deaths increase or decrease a few weeks later than new cases.
Dr Rather had predicted and posted in February that the Second Wave will hit Kashmir in the first week of April, the numbers to constantly increase till the end of May. He has a word of caution though – the calculations depend on a number of factors that contribute in increasing or decreasing cases and delaying or hastening the peak. “The number of cases would directly depend on the number of tests carried out. No model can calculate the exact number of cases, it is just an estimate based on certain variables – tests, public health measures and community behavior,” he said. He stressed upon preventive measures like face mask usage, maintaining social distance, avoiding gatherings and following other COVID19 related SOPs. “The only long-term & dependable measure is vaccination and people should participate in it,” Dr Rouf said.
Dr Rather gave a point wise description of the variables affecting the rise and the peak of COVID19 cases.