Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Aaditya Thackeray today said that a third wave of Covid-19 was likely soon, though it cannot be determined now if it will be as strong as or weaker than than the second wave rampaging through the country now. He also said that even if vaccination doesn't help right away, it will help prepare for the future.
"Every decision the state is taking today is based on the task force we created last year...as per science and medical facts, not by politics," Mr Thackeray, the Maharashtra Tourism and Environment Minister, said today at the NDTV Solutions Summit.
"We have come to the genuine belief that under-reporting is not going to help...Now we are preparing for the third wave. We have five lakh beds, 70% of them oxygenated," he said.
Maharashtra remains the country's worst-hit state in the pandemic, with 67,123 new cases reported till yesterday apart from 419 deaths. This takes the state's overall figure to 37.7 lakhs and nearly 60,000 fatalities.
He asked citizens not to panic since the facilities are on an edge in this pandemic. The disease itself has mutated and become more complicated over the months, he said, telling people to let the doctors and scientists take the call on the matter instead of taking one's own wrong decisions.
When asked when the Covid-19 chain could be broken in the state, Mr Thackeray said, according to computer-generated models, "in 10-15 days". He, however, added the caveat that a lot of is connected to human behaviour, so nothing can be said in concrete terms.
Referring to the large number of migrant population in the state, the Maharashtra Minister was far more confident of the situation than he was last year.
"Migrant labourers in the state are better off this time as there is no panic yet. I think we are all more experienced by now -- be it the government, the migrant labourers, or the industries employing them," Mr Thackeray said.