How dangerous will 3rd wave of Covid-19 be? Scientist on govt panel explains

Published on Jul 04, 2021 06:48 AM IST

The government panel statistically looks at the Covid-19 trajectory and predicts the behaviour of the virus. Professor Manindra Agarwal is part of the panel and has predicted the peak of the possible third wave.

A medic collects swab samples for Covid-19 test of passengers arriving at Dadar station, in Mumbai on Saturday.(Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo)
A medic collects swab samples for Covid-19 test of passengers arriving at Dadar station, in Mumbai on Saturday.(Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo)
By | Written by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

A scientist, who is part of a government panel, has said that a possible third wave of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) can hit its peak between October-November if Covid-appropriate behaviour is not followed. The panel is tasked with modelling of Covid-19 cases.

The scientist, Professor Manindra Agarwal, who is working with the Sutra Model, the mathematical projection of the Covid-19 trajectory, said that the third wave may see half the daily cases recorded during the second surge.

He, however, warned that if a new virulent strain emerges, the infection can spread faster during the third wave.

"We have created three scenarios. One is optimistic one. In this, we assume that life goes back to normal by August, and there is no new mutant. Second is intermediate one. In this we assume that vaccination is 20% less effective in addition to optimistic scenario assumptions," Professor Agarwal said in one of the tweets he posted on the issue.

"Third is pessimistic one. This has one assumption different from intermediate one: a new, 25% more infectious mutant spreads in August (it is not delta+, which is not more infectious than delta)," he added in the series of tweets.

Professor Agarwal then posted the bottom line: "If there is no significantly faster spreading mutant, third wave will be a ripple. And if there is such a mutant, third wave will be comparable to first one. However, if there is an immunity-escape mutant, all the above scenarios will be invalid!"

The government panel, of which Professor Agarwal is a part, was formed by the Department of Science and Technology last year to forecast the surge of coronavirus cases using mathematical models. M Vidyasagar, another scientist with IIT-Hyderabad, and Lt. Gen Madhuri Kanitkar, Deputy Chief (Medical) of Integrated Defence Staff, are the other members of the panel.

It was in the eye of the storm for not predicting the ferocity of the second wave of Covid-19 in the country, which wreaked havoc in the months of March and April. On May 7, India had recorded 4,14,188 Covid-19 cases, the highest during the second wave.

Professor Agarwal, who works with IIT-Kanpur, said while replying to a Twitter user that India is in a better position than the United Kingdom because the second wave was caused by delta. "So a lot of people are now immune against delta unlike UK," he said in the reply.

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