Omicron-Led Third Covid Wave May Peak by Jan-end With Daily Cases Touching 10 Lakh, New Model Predicts

The Omicron-triggered third wave of Covid-19 in India may peak in January-end and February, with daily cases touching 10 lakh, a new modelling study by IISc-ISI has predicted.

The study, based on Omicron transmissibility rates, was conducted by Professor Siva Athreya, Professor Rajesh Sundaresan and team from Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Bengaluru.

It says that the peak of the third coronavirus wave in India could be in January last week having its impact in February first week for the country. It, however, adds that different states will have different peaks. The peak of the third wave for different states will vary from mid-January to mid-February. The Covid-19 curve for India could start flattening by March-beginning, it added.

For Delhi, the model says, the peak could be by mid-January or the third week and for Tamil Nadu it will be in the last week of January or the first week of February, depending on the percentage of people susceptible to the virus.

The prediction has been done considering that past infection and vaccination leaves a fraction of the population susceptible to the new variant. The model considered that either 30%, 60% or 100% of the population is susceptible.

Depending on the percentage of people susceptible to the virus, the daily cases in India could be around 3 lakh, 6 lakh or 10 lakh during the peak.

Since December-end, India has been witnessing a sudden rise in coronavirus cases. However, the Union government is staying away from calling it a fresh wave.

A similar study by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur has projected that the third wave of Covid-19 pandemic in India may peak by February 3.

The National Covid-19 Supermodel Committee had also predicted last month that the third wave of coronavirus is expected to hit India in February, adding that the daily coronavirus caseload in India could increase once the Omicron variant supersedes Delta as the dominant variant.

Covid-19 Tracker India, a tracker developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, has predicted that the new infections will begin to rise from the last week of December and it is likely that India will see a period of explosive growth in daily cases. It further added that the intense growth phase will be relatively short.

In its January 3 report, the tracker said: “Across India, daily growth rates are on increasing trends, implying that cases are accelerating, not merely increasing in almost all states and union territories. This phase of super exponential growth in cases is likely to end in a few days. The daily growth rate is approaching its maximum in some states that are currently leading in terms of growth in infection. In the phase that follows cases will continue to increase but at smaller and smaller rates.”

India has been witnessing a sudden outburst of coronavirus infections with daily cases going up by five times since December 31, and the active caseload increasing by three times in the last seven days. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data analysed by News18 shows that cases of the Omicron variant have also doubled since December 31.

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