Omicron may cause third wave in India by February, scientist warns

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Dec 07, 2021, 05:50 PM(IST)

Omicron's sub-lineage replaces Delta, becomes dominant strain in most Indian states Photograph:( PTI )

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While he agrees that the new Omicron variant is more transmissible, he made it clear that as per the present data the variant is not as severe as Delta variant of coronavirus

As the Omicron variant cases increase steadily in India, an IIT scientist has warned that the third wave of coronavirus could reach its peak by February.

Manindra Agarwal, an IIT scientist who is involved in the mathematical projection of the trajectory of COVID-19, had warned that the Covid cases can reach upto 150,000 per day in India till February. Through his forecast he has warned that the third wave of coronavirus will hit its peak by the second month of 2022.

The same warning has been backed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA). "At a time when India is limbing back to normalcy, this is a great setback. If we do not take adequate measures, we may have a massive third wave," it said.

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However, he also added that the third wave will be milder than the second wave which had taken over the country in the summer of 2021. "With the new variant, our current forecast is that the country could see the third wave by February but it will be milder than the second wave. So far we have seen that the severity of Omicron is not like the one seen in the Delta variant," Agarwal said.

He also added that the Omicron variant may not be as severe as the Delta variant. While he agrees that the new Omicron variant is more transmissible, he made it clear that as per the present data the variant is not as severe as Delta variant of coronavirus.

"It looks like although the new variant has shown high transmissibility, its severity is not like the one seen in the Delta variant," Agarwal said. 

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However, he also added that experts need to keep a closer eye on cases rising out of South Africa, which was the first place where experts identified the new variant.

IMA has urged the government to "officially announce additional dose (of vaccine) be given to healthcare, frontline workers and immunocompromised individuals to augment the immunity."

Agarwal also suggested partial lockdowns, such as night curfew, in case Covid cases start increasing. This, he explains, will help reduce the peak value.

His warning comes a few months after the Department of Science and Technology (DST) backed Sutra-model had warned that a new wave of Covid was expected in October in case there was a new variant. However, as the Omicron variant was not identified till December, the wave was avoided.

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