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Second COVID-19 wave likely to peak in third week of May: SBI

The report states that the recovery rate across nations continues to improve in several peaks, however, in India the recovery rate increased to 97.3 till mid-February 21 but began dipping subsequently, moving to 85 recently

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | April 23, 2021 | Updated 16:31 IST
Second COVID-19 wave likely to peak in third week of May: SBI
SBI Research report states that Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh (UP) had peaked before the national peak during the first COVID-19 wave

India's second COVID-19 wave may peak in the third week of May, according to a research report by the State Bank of India (SBI).

The report adds that the recovery rate across nations continues to improve in several peaks, however, in India the recovery rate increased to 97.3 till mid-February 21 but began dipping subsequently, moving to 85 recently. The SBI report further states that Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh (UP) had peaked before the national peak during the first COVID-19 wave.

"Now new cases in Maharashtra seem to be stabilising but share of cases in total of various other States such as Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat has increased and these are showing an increase in daily new cases. So if other States also implement strict actions to control their spread, the national peak may come within two weeks after the Maharashtra peak," the bank says in its report, authored by Dr. Soumya Kanti Ghosh, group chief economic adviser at SBI.

Also Read: COVID-19 second wave: Non-stop cremations raise questions on India's death count

''Based on our model if we consider the second wave peak is reached when recovery rate is around 78%-79%, then the peak could be further away in May. Our model suggests that the estimated peak time is 96 days from 15-Feb, indicating the peak happening in the 3rd week of May'', says the note.

It may be noted that India is incrementally adding around 15,000 more cases over the peak of the previous day as of today, though such numbers are difficult to predict, SBI research's note states.

In the wake of the conditions of partial/local/weekend lockdowns in almost all states, the SBI Research report revised India's FY22 growth to 10.4% from 11% projected earlier in view of the increasing COVID-19 related curbs across states.

The note reckons that the total loss due to the current COVID-19 lockdown at Rs 1.5 lakh crore, with Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh (MP), and Rajasthan accounting for 80%. Maharashtra alone constitutes 54% of the "probable monetary impact of current lockdown in various states."

"Currently we estimate loss of around Rs 82,000 crore for Maharashtra which will definitely increase if restrictions are further tightened. Given that R(0) is quite low for Maharashtra, it may be pertinent to ask that how much lockdown will slowdown the speed of infections, but for beefing up health infrastructure," it adds.

Also Read: COVID second wave shaves 10% off Sensex; more downside ahead?

Meanwhile, the report pegs the loss of Rs 21,712 crore for Madhya Pradesh and Rs 17,237 crore for Rajasthan.

Stepping up coronavirus vaccination efforts instead of lockdowns would be the preferred alternative to impede the soaring second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India, it says.

The cost of inoculating half the populace of 13 major states would be approx. 0.1% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) or 15-20% of states' health budget, presuming that the Centre would cover the cost of vaccination for the other half of this population, the report states.

This was substantially below 0.7% of GDP or Rs 1.5 lakh crore of approximate economic loss due to the existing curbs, the report adds, stating that Maharashtra alone constituted 54% of this figure.

Also Read: COVID-19 second wave: Singapore bars long-term pass holders, visitors travelling from India

"India must vaccinate its population with the single-minded focus to achieve herd immunity and avoid any further waves as other countries are facing," says Soumya Kanti Ghosh, group chief economic advisor at SBI, in the report.

India recorded another day of a record-high of 332,730 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours. The report further notes that there has been an increase in daily fresh COVID-19 cases in districts where the farmer protests, Kumbh Mela, and state elections were conducted.

The report says that the third wave peak in coronavirus cases in countries such as the US and Japan proved to be worse than the second wave. It adds that "we as a country cannot afford any 3rd wave."

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