scorecardresearch
Omicron-led third COVID wave could peak in India around Feb, opines experts' panel

Omicron-led third COVID wave could peak in India around Feb, opines experts' panel

National COVID-19 Supermodel Committee's head Vidyasagar said India will have third wave of Omicron but it will be milder than the second wave.

The daily COVID-19 caseload currently stands at around 7,500 infections. The daily COVID-19 caseload currently stands at around 7,500 infections.

The daily tally of coronavirus cases in India is likely to rise once the Omicron begins replacing Delta as the dominant variant, according to the members of the National COVID-19 Supermodel Committee who also predicted the third wave in the country early next year.

The daily caseload currently stands at around 7,500 infections. The panel's head Vidyasagar said India will have the third wave of Omicron but it will be milder than the second wave. 

"Third wave is likely to arrive early next year in India. It should be milder than the second wave due to a large-scale immunity present in the country now. There will definitely be a third wave. Right now, we are at around 7,500 cases per day, which is sure to go up once Omicron starts displacing Delta as the dominant variant," he told ANI.

Also Read: Omicron impact: Global economy remains hostage to uncertainty, says RBI bulletin

Vidyasagar, who is also a professor at IIT Hyderabad, stated that it's improbable that India will witness more daily cases than the second wave.

"It is extremely unlikely that the third wave will see more daily cases than the second wave. Please remember that the Government of India started vaccinating ordinary Indians (i.e., other than front-line workers) only starting March 1, which was just about the time that the Delta variant hit. So the Delta variant hit a population that was 100 per cent vaccine-naive, other than the frontline workers," he noted.

Vidyasagar further added that as per a sero-survey, a small percentage of the population has been left and hasn't come into contact with delta strain.

"Now we have sero-prevalence of 75 per cent to 80 per cent (prior exposure), first dose for 85 per cent of adults, both doses for 55 per cent of adults, and a "reach" for the pandemic of 95 per cent (meaning that only a tiny fraction of the public has not come into contact with the virus)," the IIT professor stated.

"So the third wave will not see as many as daily cases as the second wave. We have also built up our capacity based on that experience, so we should be able to cope without difficulty," Vidyasagar said.

Elucidating further, he noted that the number of cases would hinge upon two factors, each of which is unidentified currently.

Also Read: Sputnik V, Sputnik Light booster effective against Omicron, says RDIF

"First, what is the extent to which Omicron bypasses natural immunity obtained by prior exposure to Delta," Vidyasagar said.

Explaining the second reason, the IIT professor stated that the extent to which Omicron bypasses the immunity conferred by vaccination is not known. 

"We have generated various "scenarios," assuming (for example) 100 per cent vaccine protection remains, or only 50 per cent remains, or all of it goes away. The same for natural immunity escape. For each scenario, we project the number of cases that could result," Vidyasagar noted.

According to him, in the worst-case scenario, India will not have more than two lakh cases per day in case the third wave grips the country.

Meanwhile, the panel's other member, Maninda Agrawal, told the news agency that India is expected to report one lakh to two lakh cases per day which will be less than the second wave.

Published on: Dec 19, 2021, 8:42 AM IST
Posted by: Manali, Dec 19, 2021, 8:38 AM IST