Reviews | Third wave of COVID: when will it peak and disappear?

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Reviews | Third wave of COVID: when will it peak and disappear?

As the number of new Covid cases increases daily in a grand spiral, all eyes are now on India on when the current third wave of the pandemic will peak. Questions also arise when the spiral eases and normalcy is restored. On my prime-time “Aaj Ki Baat” show Monday night, we spoke to several leading experts about the current wave of the pandemic. These are experts whose calculations during the second murderous wave of April-May of last year were later found to be correct.

Experts believe the current wave will end by the second week of March this year. The date mentioned is March 10, after which normalcy may return. After looking at the current data and trends, the experts have made some calculations that may give us some relief. For example, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, now the epicenters of the pandemic, will soon return to normal, hopefully by the end of this month. This does not mean that we need to lower our caution, because the pandemic will take its time to subside. Experts said these three subways had not yet reached their peak. In other words, it means that the number of cases will continue to increase.

Questions also arise as to whether the pandemic will spread during the campaign, polls and count in states that go to the polls in February and March. Experts say the number of cases in UP, Uttarakhand, Goa and Punjab will start to decline by the end of January.

First, a few facts. It takes just SIX seconds for a person to become infected with the Omicron variant of an infected person. The virus spreads very quickly because of the Omicron variant. It spreads SIX times faster than the previous Delta variant. Hopefully the new variant is less lethal than Delta. More than 1.80 lakh of new cases have been reported across India in the past 24 hours. From a cumulative case count of 1.3 lakh, it has now passed 7.8 lakhs in five weeks.

The speed at which the Omicron variant is spreading has taken the positivity rate across India beyond 13%. The positivity rate in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore is over 25%. The only relief is that the hospitalization rate and the death rate are now lower than in the second wave.

Experts believe that the speed at which the Omicron variant is spreading now will slow down very quickly in a short period of time. IIT Kanpur professor Manindra Agrawal, who has studied the pandemic pattern closely, estimates that the peak of the current wave will be reached either in the last week of January or in the first week of February. At its peak, there might be a need for 1.5 lakh of hospital beds across India.

Delhi, which recorded 23,751 new cases on Saturday, reported 19,166 cases on Sunday due to fewer tests in the past 24 hours, but the positivity rate was 25%. Mumbai registered 13,648 new cases, Bangalore 9,221 cases and Kolkata reported 5,556 new cases.

According to the model of the professor of IIT Kanpur, this situation may not remain constant. By January 15, the wave could peak in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. At its peak, Delhi could report 40 to 50,000 new cases per day. Mumbai could peak at 35 to 40,000 new cases per day.

Most worrying is that doctors, health workers and police are infected on a large scale in all of these subways. In Delhi alone, nearly 1,000 police officers have tested positive. At its peak, Delhi and Mumbai could require 13 to 15,000 hospital beds to treat patients.

Although the nighttime curfew and the weekend curfew are strictly enforced in Delhi, in the markets and malls the crowds are still there and many people move around without masks. The Omicron variant spreads quickly, but it is less lethal. In most cases, those infected do not have any symptoms, and this is where the problem lies.

The infected person does not know they are HIV positive and must be isolated at home. In symptomatic cases, the usual symptoms are fever, pain in the body, sluggishness, cough, and throat infection. Most patients recover within three days at home without taking any medication. It is only in cases of co-morbidities, where people have diabetes, heart, lung and kidney disease, that an infected patient may require hospitalization, as the virus spreads to different organs in the body.

In Delhi, there are currently 60,733 active cases and the government has organized 14,222 hospital beds. Only 1,999 patients have been hospitalized to date. 443 patients are in intensive care. Only 503 patients need oxygen support. Almost 88 percent of hospital beds in Delhi are currently vacant. In Mumbai, 34,960 hospital beds have been kept ready, of which 7,432 beds are currently occupied. 30 percent of intensive care beds now have patients. Compared to the second wave, there is no demand for drugs, oxygen and hospital beds. Mumbai markets are still crowded and many people refrain from using masks.

Aaj Ki Baat: Monday to Friday, 9 p.m.

India’s number one and most watched Super Prime Time news show ‘Aaj Ki Baat – Rajat Sharma Ke Saath’ launched just ahead of the 2014 general election. Since its inception, the show has redefined prime time in India and is digitally far ahead of its contemporaries.

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Carol N. Valencia