COVID-19 third wave: How Tamil Nadu is prepared to tackle the menace?

India has been witnessing a sharp decline in the fresh COVID-19 cases by bracing up the fact that it is driving towards encountering the third wave of the pandemic. The second wave has been disastrous and claimed thousands of lives and put millions in a state of fret and distress. India had seen various predictions about the third wave that it may emerge in the country between September- October. Several states are pacing up the vaccination drive and initiating measures to tackle the menace. 

The horrendous second wave of the pandemic had shaken the medical infrastructure in the country with shortages of beds and oxygen cylinders, which further fueled the health crisis. Tamil Nadu, one of the worst affected states in India by the pandemic, has been preparing to curb the third wave. In a reply to a petition in the Madras High Court, the Tamil Nadu health department has on Monday said that it has made available 66,000 beds with oxygen connection to address the third wave. 

It has further said that 1.12 crore people have been vaccinated in Tamil Nadu as of June 17. Addressing the assembly session on Tuesday, Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian said that the government is ready to combat the infectious disease and he expressed a hope of ending the cases in a few days. He highlighted that the vaccination drive in the state has been picking up with 1.34 lakh people getting vaccine doses a day on an average. 

Subramanian was addressing the remarks raised by his successor and ADMK leader C Vijayabaskar. ADMK had warned the state government of the third wave of COVID-19 and urged the government to get ready with the measures, including enhancing the medical infrastructure. Vijayabaskar had reminded the warning of experts including AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria about the possible emergence of the third wave in the country. 

The former health minister said that the government should allay the reluctance shown by the population against vaccination. The government should have dedicated post-Covid rehabilitation centres in the districts and hospitals should adopt an approach to treat the Covid, non-Covid, and post-Covid cases. Amid Vijayabaskar's speech, Subramanian had intervened and said that the state is ready to combat the third wave and the DMK government has been enhancing the health infrastructure in the last one month. 

Subramanian said, "A 250-bedded pediatric ward has come up in the Institute of Child Health and Hospital in Egmore. Covid cases fell to 7,427 on Monday and the infection will be put to an end in a few days, not weeks." "The state government had received 1.29 crore vaccines so far, benefiting 1.24 crore people. We need 10 crores more vaccines. The awareness created by the government had resulted in people queuing in and waiting for many hours to receive the vaccine dose", Subramanian added. 

The minister has said that the government hospitals have been treating 2,510 cases of black fungus infection and 130 of them had got discharged and returned home. According to reports, the state government had administered vaccine doses to 3.96 lakh people on Monday, the highest single-day vaccination recorded by the state and the health department has said that the state could administer seven to eight lakh vaccines a day.