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Scientists: India currently facing 3rd Covid wave, to hit peak in February

A slew of studies by Indian scientists shows that amid rising cases of Omicron, the third wave of Covid-19 has set in India from mid-December, and it may hit its peak in February next year.

A yet-to-be peer reviewed study led by a team of researchers from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), Kanpur used a statistical methodology based on the fitting of a mixture of Gaussian distributions – based on an algorithm for clustering to estimate the parameters.

The third wave was forecast using the data on the first two waves of pandemic. The team also utilized the data of different countries that are already facing the third wave, modelling their daily cases data and predicting the impact and timeline for the third wave in India.

“The report forecasts India’s third wave of Covid-19 to start around mid-December 2021 and the cases to peak in the beginning of February 2022,” Subhra Sankar Dhar, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, wrote in the paper.

A separate study led by a joint team from the IITs Hyderabad, and Kanpur is based on the Sutra model, which tracks the country’s Covid-19 trajectory.

According to Professor M. Vidyasagar of IIT Hyderabad and Maninda Agrawal of IIT Kanpur, the daily caseload is expected to rise as Omicron begins to displace Delta as the dominant variant.

Meanwhile, India registered 6,317 fresh Covid cases and 318 deaths in the last 24 hours, and the Omicron tally has reached 213, said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday. With the addition of 318 new deaths, the death toll has climbed to 4,78,325.

However, out of total Omicron positive, 90 have been discharged. So far 15 states have reported Omicron infection, said the ministry. Delhi (57) has the highest number of Omicron cases 57, closely followed by Maharashtra (54).

Daily Covid-19 caseload in India is expected to increase once the Omicron starts displacing Delta as the dominant variant, media reports quoted members of the National Covid-19 Supermodel Committee as saying.

According to their prediction, the third wave of Covid wave in India is set to begin “early next year”.

However, they noted that the infection rate will be milder than seen in the second wave, due to a large-scale immunity and vaccination present in India.

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