As COVID-19 cases are rising alarmingly, a general question arises: is the aggressiveness of the infection increasing or has it elevated to the maximum and is slowly ebbing? If not, when will it wane away? When can we expect it to be gone completely?
Experts say the country is currently in the merciless grip of the third wave of COVID-19 and this will start declining from the beginning of the next month.
IIT Kanpur professor Manindra Agrawal, who has been tracking COVID-19 curve in the country using SUTRA model, says India will witness a peak in COVID-19 infection cases around January 15 and maximum number of cases are likely to be reported in bigger cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
Currently, Delhi is reporting more than 22,000 cases per day and as per the study conducted by the IIT Professor, the number of cases will rise up to almost 40,000 cases per day at its peak which is expected to hit in mid-January.
On when the cases will subside, Professor Agrawal says, "We expect the decline also to be equally sharp and if the peak hits in January, then by the middle of March, the wave will be over." His study disagrees that election rallies are a super-spreader of the virus. "If you look at only election rallies as a cause for the spread, that is wrong. Many things called the spreading and election rallies are just one of them. And if one believes that just by stopping election rallies, you will stop the spread that is not correct,” he told news agency ANI.
A research study on COVID-19 surge done by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) has corroborated the study of Professor Agrawal which sheds light on the peak and decline of COVID. As per reports, the IISc and ISI researchers claim that the current spike in Covid-19 cases across the country will begin to decline next month, though it will vary from state to state. They have also said that the present curve of COVID cases will flatten by March or April and during the peak the country will see more than 8 lakh daily cases.
On hospital requirements, which had wreaked havoc during the second wave, these researchers have said that in the worst scenario, only if 100% of the total population of the country is susceptible to COVID, then the hospital requirement can go up to 4 lakh per day and the ICU requirement can cross 20,000.
On the inevitable harshness of the third wave Himanshu Sikka, has told the media, "there is increasing evidence on omicron based community transmission. In the next couple of weeks we could see the numbers rising dramatically and may reach a million positive cases per day by the end of the month." He is associated with IPE global, an international healthcare development consultancy.
"A third wave is imminent but the combination of past exposure, climbing vaccination coverage rates, and low reported severity of omicron infections should hopefully result in a more muted problem than we saw during the second wave. I don't see any reason why an omicron-driven wave in India would be more dangerous than in other countries," Professor Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Washington-based Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy has told the media.
On the hospital front, India is reportedly better equipped and prepared than it was during the second wave.
Many other experts have also zeroed in on the decline in COVID cases from February and a sharp peak around mid-January.
To curb the spread of the coronavirus , state governments in the country have imposed restrictions on movement of people during weekends and on holidays.
India on Thursday reported 2,47,417 new COVID cases, the highest since May. The country's Omicron tally now stands at 5,488.