Data scientist and epidemiologist at University of Michigan Professor Bhramar Mukherjee has said that India is likely to witness a peak in coronavirus cases in late January. She also mentioned that states like Delhi, Maharashtra and West Bengal, which have seen a peak in coronavirus cases in the early part of January, may witness a slowdown of the growth trajectory.
As of now, the top 5 contributors to India’s rising coronavirus graph are states like Delhi (27,561), Karnataka (21,390), Maharashtra (46,723), Tamil Nadu (17,934) and West Bengal (22,155).
Mukherjee told India Today, “What we see is a little bit reassuring from the public perspective. We saw states like Delhi, Maharashtra and West Bengal, which bloomed early to peak early. In the next 7-10 days, we will see that there will be a slowdown in terms of the growth trajectory. Delhi had a basic reproduction number of 2 and it has come down to 1.4. I am hopeful the test-positivity rate has really lowered slightly. I am hopeful some of the states are going to peak in the next seven days. India might peak in late January.”
The epidemiologist added that it is imperative to focus on hospitalisation rates but data for that isn't uniformly available across the country. She further explained that Omicron peaks very fast and dips at the same pace. “That is what it seems like. Given the high transmissibility of Omicron, it’s really ripping through the population and spreading like wild fire. It also implies that it cannot be sustainable for a long period of time,” Mukherjee noted.
She added that India’s situation is much different right now compared to the Delta wave given the natural infection and rising vaccination rates. “Vaccination is the key. So many people are sick right now, but all thanks to God or public health or vaccines, that very few have to go to hospitals. The situation right now looks very different from the second wave because the immunity wall of India has changed substantially with natural infection plus vaccination,” the epidemiologist said.
She also urged people to get vaccinated as large number of people hospitalised in countries like the US are unvaccinated. “If you look at data from other countries, a large number of people who have been hospitalised with Omicron are unvaccinated. So, I strongly urge people to get vaccinated in states where elections will take place. People should also use COVID-appropriate behavior,” says Mukherjee.
(With inputs from India Today)
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