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Amid experts stating that the new Omicron coronavirus variant has become dominant in several Indian cities, data shows that metropolitan centres of Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru have seen a decline in new Covid-19 cases. 

In Delhi, the positivity rate on Saturday evening stood at 16.36%, down from 18.04% the day before. Similarly, the positivity rate dipped to 7% on Saturday in Mumbai from 10% seen on Friday. 

There was a dip in Covid-19 infections in Bengaluru Urban to 17,266 on Saturday from 29,068 on Friday.

This comes as a preliminary analysis by IIT Madras has shown that India's R-value which indicates the rate of spread of coronavirus has further reduced to 1.57 in the week from 14-21 January and the national peak of the third wave of the infection is expected to come in the next fortnight.

R-value indicates the number of people an infected person can spread the disease to. A pandemic is considered to end if this value goes below 1.

According to the analysis shared by IIT Madras, the R-value was recorded at 1.57 between 14 and 21 January, reported news agency PTI

The number was recorded at 2.2 in the week of 7-13 January while it was 4 from 1-6 January and 2.9 from 25- 31 December.

The preliminary analysis was done by computational modelling by IIT Madras' Department of Mathematics and the Centre of Excellence for Computational Mathematics and Data Science headed by Prof Neelesh S Upadhye and Prof S Sundar.

According to the data, the R-value of Mumbai was 0.67, Delhi 0.98, Chennai 1.2 and Kolkata 0.56.

Explaining further, Dr Jayant Jha, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics, IIT Madras, said the R-value of Mumbai and Kolkata shows that peak is over there and it is becoming endemic while for Delhi and Chennai it is still close to 1.

"The reason for that could be that as per the new ICMR guidelines they have removed the requirement for contact tracing and therefore there are less infections as earlier," he said. 

Apex health body the ICMR has issued guidelines as per which contacts of coronavirus patients do not need testing unless identified as high-risk based on age or comorbidities.

Jha further said as per their analysis, the coronavirus peak is likely to come in the next 14 days till 6 February.

The earlier prediction was that the peak of the third wave is likely between 1 and 15 February.

The third wave of Covid-19 is being driven by the Omicron variant is in the community transmission stage, according to the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG).

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