Omicron-Driven Third Wave Will Arrive In Early 2022, Peak In Feb: Expert Panel

New Delhi: A third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India was being speculated since June-July, with experts predicting it to hit the country around August-September or October-November. But the situation in the country didn’t deteriorate even after the festival season.

Though daily coronavirus cases are now below 10,000, the more easily transmissible Omicron variant has set alarm bells ringing and revived the threat of a fresh surge.

According to the National Covid-19 Supermodel Committee, there will definitely be a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India with Omicron replacing Delta as the dominant strain.

Head of the COVID Supermodel panel Vidyasagar told ANI that the Omicron-driven third wave is likely to arrive in early 2022 and peak in February.

“Third wave is likely to arrive early next year in India. It should be milder than the second wave due to a large-scale immunity present in the country now. There will definitely be a third wave. Right now, we are at around 7,500 cases per day which is sure to go up once Omicron starts displacing Delta as the dominant variant,” Vidyasagar was quoted as saying.

Also Read: Fear Of COVID Third Wave: 4 Dedicated Omicron Centres Set Up In Delhi

Vidyasagar, a professor at IIT-Hyderabad, however is of the opinion that India is ‘extremely unlikely’ to see more daily infections than at the peak of the second COVID wave. He pointed out that most of the adult population was unvaccinated when the second wave hit India.

“The third wave will not see as many daily cases as the second wave… We have also built up our capacity based on that experience, so we should be able to cope without difficulty,” he added.

Vidyasagar observed that the number of daily cases will depend on whether Omicron will be able to escape vaccine-induced immunity and natural immunity.

“Because these are not known, we have generated various scenarios, assuming (for example) 100 per cent vaccine protection remains, or only 50 per cent remains, or all of it goes away. The same for natural immunity escape. For each scenario, we project the number of cases that could result,” he said.

According to his estimation, India won’t have more than 2 lakh cases per day in the worst-case scenario. But he pointed out that these are projections and not predictions.

Maninda Agrawal, another panel member, felt that India may report 1 to 2 lakh cases per day during the third wave.

The number of Omicron cases in India has just crossed 100.

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