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India may see second wave of COVID-19 outbreak in late July-August, say scientists

By: Team Ifairer | Posted: 25-04-2020
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India may see second wave of COVID-19 outbreak in late July-August, say scientists
India may see second wave of COVID-19 outbreak in late July-August, say scientists, india may see second wave of covid-19 outbreak in late july-august,  say scientists,  covid-19,  coronavirus,  coronavirus news,  coronavirus update,  ifairer
The trajectory of COVID-19 cases could have plateaued and might even fall for some weeks after the lockdown is lifted but India is likely to see a second wave in late July or August with a surge in the number of cases during the monsoon, say scientists. The timing of the peak will depend on how India is able to control physical distancing and on the level of infection spreads after restrictions are relaxed, they said. It looks apparent that the trajectory of daily new cases has reached a plateau and eventually it will take a downward fall, maybe for some weeks or even months, Samit Bhattacharya, associate professor at the Department of Mathematics, Shiv Nadar University, told PTI. Still, we may get a surge of new cases of the same coronavirus and this will be considered a second wave, Bhattacharya explained.

The second epidemic may come back in late July or August in the monsoon, although the peak timing will depend on how we control social distancing during that time, he said. Rajesh Sundaresan, professor at Bengaluru's Indian Institute of Science (IISc), agreed. Once we return to normal activity levels, there is a chance that infection may begin to rise again. China is seeing this to some extent post easing of some restrictions on travel, Sundaresan, corresponding author of a working paper by researchers at IISc and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai, told PTI.

On March 25, when the number of coronavirus cases was 618 with 13 deaths, the government announced a nationwide lockdown that was later extended to May 3. On Friday, the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 718 and the number of cases to 23,077, according to the Union Health Ministry. In good news, officials said this week that the doubling rate of cases has slowed down in the period, going from 3.4 days before lockdown to 7.5 days, with 18 states doing better than the national average. The recovery rate has also almost doubled in the last 10 days.

"Looking at the new cases in the past few days, it seems the growth of new daily infection is much slower than earlier. This apparently indicates that we might have reached at the plateau of the growth curve, Bhattacharya said. He noted that recent studies in China and Europe observed that the infection might relapse in those people who have already recovered from earlier phases. So, there is no evidence that the earlier infection may help acquire immunity against the second infection. And in that way, the entire population may be vulnerable to the second wave to some extent, said the scientist. In their study unveiled this week, IISc and TIFR researchers analysed the impact of strategies such as case isolation, home quarantine, social distancing and various post-lockdown restrictions on COVID-19 that might remain in force for some time.

The study modelled on Bengaluru and Mumbai suggests the infection is likely to have a second wave and the public health threat will remain, unless steps are taken to aggressively trace, localise, isolate the cases, and prevent influx of new infections. The new levels and the peaking times for healthcare demand depend on the levels of infection spreads in each city at the time of relaxation of restrictions, they said.
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