When will India’s third wave peak?

India is now recording nearly 180,000 new infections a day, nearly half of the 400,000 at the peak of the delta wave in May.

“We expect that 85.2% of infections will have no symptoms. They will be asymptomatic, but amongst the cases, we still expect quite a number of them to end up in hospitals and in terms of death, cases will be much reduced,” Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, told news agency ANI. “So we expect that the peak of hospital admissions in India will be about a quarter of what you had for the delta wave, and deaths should be less of what you saw for delta.”

According to a model released by Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, the third wave could peak between Feb. 1 and 15, and will likely be much higher than the delta wave. The R0 value, the rate of transmission from one infected person to others in the community, is already at 2.69. During the peak of delta wave infections, the R0 value was 1.69. Again, as Raghib Ali of the University of Cambridge suggests, modeling is not to be entirely relied upon.

But more than 60% of India’s adult population is fully vaccinated, and about 90% have received at least one dose. The government has also begun rolling out booster doses for the elderly and frontline and healthcare workers from today (Jan. 10). That is the biggest single difference between this and previous waves.

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