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Home >News >India >Covid third wave likely to hit India late: Govt's expert panel chief NK Arora on ICMR study

Dr NK Arora, the chief of the Centre's Covid-19 working group, on Sunday said that the third wave of coronavirus could be delayed until December this year. "ICMR has come up with a study, which says the third wave will come late in the country," Dr Arora said.

"We have a window period of 6 to 8 months to vaccinate everybody in the country," the chairman of the central panel said.

He also said that in the coming days, the government's target is to administer one crore Covid-19 vaccine doses every day in India.

The Delta Plus new variant of Covid-19, which has created fresh concerns across the country, cannot be yet linked to a third wave of the pandemic, Dr Arora has said.

However, he asserted that as variants are linked to new waves, the possibility can not be dismissed at all.

"Waves are linked to new variants or new mutations so there is a possibility as this is a new variant, but whether it will lead to a third wave it is difficult to answer as it will depend upon two or three things," Dr Arora told news agency PTI.

How third wave can be averted?

With emerging cases of the Delta Plus variant, the risk of the third wave of Covid-19 is increasing continuously, but experts say that it can be averted. In nations where over 20% of the population has been vaccinated, the third wave has not arrived.

A modelling study by a team of scientists from the ICMR and the Imperial College London, UK has informed that a potential third wave of Covid seems unlikely to be as severe as the second wave.

Rapid scale-up of Covid vaccination efforts, says the study, could play an important role in mitigating the present and future waves of the disease.

India's first wave of SARSCoV-2 infection began in late January last year with a peak attained in mid-September. This phase was relatively mild compared to the second wave that followed, from mid-February 2021 onwards, exhibiting a more explosive spread across the nation.

A major factor driving this second wave is the emergence of more infectious variants of SARS-CoV-2, principally B.1.1.7 (Alpha variant) and B.1.617.2 (Delta variant), of which the latter has played a dominant role in the last few months.

Third waves have emerged in other countries such as the UK and the USA and are driven by a range of factors, the study adds.

The results suggest that a third wave, if it should occur, is unlikely to be as severe as the second wave, given the extent of spread that has already taken place in India, it sa.

Meanwhile, a study by IIT Kanpur has confirmed that the third wave of Covid-19 is expected by September to October this year.

The study done by Professor Rajesh Ranjan and Mahendra Verma, along with their team, has said, "There is a significant anxiety among policy makers and public about the third wave. For the same, using SIR model, we have constructed the following three scenarios of a possible third wave using the epidemic parameters of the second wave. We assume that India is fully unlocked on 15 July. Scenario 1 (Back-to-Normal): Third wave peak in October but a lower peak height than the second wave. Scenario 2 (Normal with virus mutations): The peak could be higher than the second one and may appear early (September). Scenario 3 (Stricter interventions): The peak of the third wave could be delayed until late October with strict social distancing. Here, the peak will be lower than the second wave."

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