India may see a third wave of COVID-19 peaking between October and November if a strain more virulent than the existing ones emerges by September, but its intensity is expected to be much lower than the second wave, a scientist involved in the mathematical modelling of the pandemic has said.
Manindra Agrawal, an IIT-Kanpur scientist, who is part of the three-member team of experts that has been tasked with predicting any surge in infections, said if no new virulent strain emerges, then the situation is unlikely to change.
If the third wave peaks, the country may see only 1 lakh daily cases as against more than 4 lakh when the deadly second wave was at its peak in May. The second wave killed thousands and infected several lakhs.
“Status Quo is when no new mutant comes and New Variant is when 50% more infectious mutant comes by September. As one can see, the only scenario with some semblance of third wave is New Variant one for epsilon = 1/33. In this scenario, new cases rise to ~1 lakh per day,” Agrawal tweeted.
Last month, the model suggested that the third wave could peak between October and November and the daily cases could shoot between 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh if a more virulent mutant of SARS-CoV2 drives fresh infections.
However, no mutant that was more infectious than the Delta, which drove the infections during the second wave, emerged.
Last week’s forecast was the same, but only the range of daily cases has been brought down to 1-1.5 lakh in the latest one.
With the fresh data, the daily infections are further expected to drop in the range of 1 lakh.
Agrawal said that fresh data comprising the vaccinations that have taken place in July and August and sero-surveys that gave insights about the anti-bodies were factored in while assuming the scenarios.
According to a study by the researchers of Institute of Mathematical Sciences, the R or the Reproductive value of the coronavirus pandemic was 0.89. It is necessary for the R value to be under 1 to help arrest the spread of infection.
Vaccination has been the biggest weapon worldwide to combat coronavirus and more than 63 crore doses have been administered in the country, according to the CoWIN dashboard.