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Should India Brace For Fourth COVID Wave – What’s The Current Scenario
With coronavirus cases rising in some parts of the world, all eyes are on India if the country will see a new COVID-19 surge.
New Delhi: With coronavirus cases rising in some parts of the world, all eyes are on India if the country will see a new COVID-19 surge. During last year’s delta-driven surge, an explosion in cases overwhelmed hospitals and testing labs in India. With spike in COVID cases in China, experts warned of a fresh COVID wave. China has reported more than 56,000 confirmed cases nationwide this month, with the surge in Jilin accounting for most of them. Jilin province is enforcing travel bans and partial lockdowns in several cities, including Changchun, one of the centers of the Chinese auto industry. Although the province has seen more than 1,000 new confirmed cases per day, prevention and control measures taken there do not appear to have been as extreme as in other places.
What’s the current COVID scenario in India
The good news is India has been recording less number of daily COVID cases than the past two years. India on Monday registered 1,270 fresh COVID infections in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said. The active caseload now constitutes 0.04 per cent of India’s total positive cases.
The healh ministry, in a press release, said that there has been a sustained fall in the weekly and daily positivity rates too. The weekly positivity rate in the country currently stands at 0.26 per cent and the daily positivity rate is reported to be 0.29 per cent. In the last 24 hours, as many as 1,567 patients have recovered from the virus, taking the cumulative tally of recovered patients since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,24,83,829. India’s recovery rate stands at 98.75 per cent.
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In the first 20 days of January, around 200,000 people shared their test results with India’s health agency – a 66-fold increase compared to all of 2021. The strategy apparently worked. Those testing positive with speedy, though less accurate tests were told to self-isolate at home, allowing hospital beds to remain available for the most vulnerable.
But experts quoted by The Associated Press said this figure is likely only a fraction of the actual number of tests used. Despite rules requiring people to share their results with authorities, many aren’t doing so.
4th COVID wave: Do India need to worry
The fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India may start around June 22 and peak from mid-to-late August, a modelling study by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur suggested. The yet-to-be peer-reviewed study was posted on the preprint repository MedRxiv on February. The study used a statistical model to make the prediction, finding that the possible new wave will last for four months.
The study led by Sabara Parshad Rajeshbhai, Subhra Sankar Dhar, and Shalabh of IIT Kanpur’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics shows that the severity of the fourth wave will depend on the emergence of a possible new coronavirus variant, and vaccination status across the country.
“The data indicates that the fourth wave of COVID-19 in India will arrive after 936 days from the initial data availability date, which is January 30, 2020,” the authors of the study said.
“Therefore, the fourth wave starts from June 22, 2022, reaching its peak on August 23, 2022, and ends on October 24, 2022,” they wrote in the research paper.
However, the researchers noted that there is always a fair chance that a possible new variant of coronavirus may have an intense impact on the whole analysis. The impact will depend on the various factors like the variant’s infectibility, fatality, etc, they said.
“Apart from this fact, the effect of vaccinations — first, second or booster dosage may also play a significant role on the possibility of infection, degree of infection and various issues related to the fourth wave,” the authors said.
Officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) recently warned that Omicron may not be the last Covid variant and the next strain could be more contagious. “The next variant of concern will be more fit, and what we mean by that is it will be more transmissible because it will have to overtake what is currently circulating,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead said.
The same research team had previously predicted that the third wave of the pandemic in India would peak by February 3, 2022. That research studied the trend of the Omicron-led surge in COVID-19 cases in other countries and predicted that India too will witness a similar trajectory.
The researchers noted that many countries have already witnessed the third wave of COVID-19, and a few countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe have started to face the fourth and higher waves of the pandemic. “The third wave of COVID-19 was predicted for India using the data of Zimbabwe, and when the third wave in India is finishing, it is now clear that the forecast was correct,” the authors added.
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