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3rd Covid wave this month, say experts

Tuesday, 03 August 2021 | PNS | New Delhi

Cases may soar to 1.5L/day with peak in October

Experts from IIT Hyderabad and Kanpur have set off an alarm saying that a third Covid-19 wave could hit India in the coming weeks of August itself with 1 lakh daily cases in the best of scenario, or nearly 1,50,000 in the worst scenario. The peak could come about in October.

However, it would not be as brutal as the second wave, where cases rose to 4 lakh on a daily basis before slumping down again, they said.

For the record, 17 States and Union Territories showed a rise in coronavirus cases on Sunday with a total 40,134 new Covid-19 cases and 422 deaths registered as the tally of positive cases reached 3,16,95,958. The Covid-19 cases saw an uptick on a week-on-week basis for the first time since mid-May after the decline in the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Kerala has reported the maximum surge during the past week.

Talking to a news agency, the researchers whose prediction is based on a mathematical model said that States reporting a high number of Covid cases like Kerala and Maharashtra may play a significant role in skewing the case count during the third wave.

Earlier in May, Mathukumalli Vidyasagar, a professor at IIT Hyderabad, had predicted that India’s coronavirus outbreak could peak in the coming days based on the mathematical model. However, their prediction that the wave would peak by the middle of last month was incorrect. Taking to Twitter, the team of researchers had then justified that it was because of incorrect parameters as “the pandemic was changing rapidly, even wildly, until about a week ago.”

Experts have now warned that the Delta variant, which spreads as easily as chickenpox and can be passed on by vaccinated people, can fuel the surge. According to data from the Indian Sars-CoV-2 Genomic Consortium (INSACOG), nearly 8 of every 10 Covid-19 cases in May, June, and July were caused by the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus. Additionally, the medical experts also warned that the Delta variant of COVID-19 can also be passed on by vaccinated people, which can in turn fuel the surge.

Latest data compiled by the University of Michigan’s COV-IND-19 study group is no different as it painted gloomy scenario by noting that India’s R count has hit 1.01 as on July 30.

This would be the first time since the decline of the second wave — roughly after May 12 — that India’s national R value has again touched the ‘one’ value.

The R value is an important indicator on Covid-19’s prevalence and spread. This effective reproduction number (Re) points to the number of people who can be infected by an individual.

Kerala and the Northeastern States apart — which have been reporting high active cases — Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, have all seen the R count rise up above 1, as per the latest data.

According to experts, R count less than 1 shows cases are on the decline.

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