The Omicron variant has officially arrived in India. Cases are rising in Delhi and Maharashtra, along with many other states. Dubbed to be a more infectious variant version than even Delta (albeit with a reported milder illness) the mutant has spurred an increase in cases across the Europe and US.
In India, which has controlled its infection numbers since the ravages of the second wave in April and May this year, the discovery of the variant has also come with a spike in cases. Delhi has entered a soft lockdown, while curfews have been initiated in other states. But will the variant create a third wave in the country, and if yes, when will it arrive? Here’s what experts say.
Third Wave Has Already Arrived, Says Bihar CM
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said the third wave of the Covid pandemic had already begun in the state and that all necessary preparations were being made to save people from it, News18 reported. The CM stated that the health department is working hard to improve hospital facilities in accordance with guidelines issued by the federal and state governments.
“With over 5,400 beds, the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) is being developed as a world-class facility. The number of beds at NMCH and other medical colleges and hospitals in the state is also being increased,” Nitish explained.
Third Wave Could Peak By Feb 3: IIT-K Study
According to a modelling study conducted by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic in India could peak by February 3, 2020. The paper is yet to be peer-reviewed and is based on the assumption that India will follow the trends which have been seen in other countries, PTI said in a report.
Third Wave by Early Next Year: National Covid Supermodel Committee
According to members of the National Covid-19 Supermodel Committee, the third wave will arrive in India early next year. According to Vidyasagar, who is also the chairman of the National Covid-19 Supermodel Committee, India will experience Omicron’s third wave, but it will be milder than the second wave.
“The third wave is expected to arrive in India early next year. Because of the country’s current high level of immunity, it should be milder than the second wave. There will almost certainly be a third wave. We are currently at around 7,500 cases per day, which will undoubtedly increase once Omicron replaces Delta as the dominant variant, he had told ANI a week ago.
Omicron Driven-wave to Be Mild: SA Expert
India will see a surge in Omicron-driven Covid cases and a high positivity rate but the infection will hopefully be mild in most people as is being seen in South Africa, says Dr Angelique Coetzee who first identified the variant. The chairperson of the South African Medical Association had also said existing vaccines will definitely control the contagion but those unvaccinated are at 100 per cent “risk”.
“The cases are going up and the positivity rate stands at 16.5 percent. Vaccinated, unvaccinated, and infants all have been showing mild symptoms. A case of reinfection in a fully vaccinated person has also been reported. It is extremely difficult to paint a clinical picture of a person who has Omicron however so far patients have been displaying only mild symptoms and there are no oxygen needs experienced so far by the patients,” the doctor had earlier said, describing the wave in South Africa.