Manindra Agrawal, an IIT-Kanpur professor, said that the onset of another wave is contingent on the emergence of a more infectious strain.
Professor Agrawal is part of a three-member team of experts who predicted a nearly accurate peak of the second wave in India.
He said that if no new strain emerges, the situation is unlikely to change. However, he added that if a new strain does emerge, then India could witness up to 1 lakh Covid cases a day during the peak.
“Status Quo is when no new mutant comes and New Variant is when 50% more infectious mutant comes by September. As one can see, the only scenario with some semblance of third wave is New Variant one for epsilon = 1/33. In this scenario, new cases rise to ~1 lakh per day,” Agrawal tweeted.
Last month, the model suggested that the third wave could peak between October and November and the daily cases could shoot between 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh every day if a more virulent mutant of SARS-CoV2 drive fresh infections.
However, no such mutant strain emerged.
Last week’s forecast was the same, but only the range of daily cases has been brought down to 1-1.5 lakh in the latest one.
With the fresh data, the daily infections are further expected to drop in the range of a lakh.
Agrawal said the fresh data comprising the vaccinations that have taken place in July and August, the sero-surveys that gave insights about the anti-bodies were factored in while assuming the scenarios.
India’s second Covid wave, which led to widescale devastation, was triggered by the more infectious Delta strain of Covid, which is now dominating the surge in countries like the US and UK.
ICMR: 3rd wave could be less severe
Separately, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) also projected that the third wave could be less severe than the recent second wave.
Dr Samiran Panda, head of ICMR’s Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases (ECD) division, said that nobody can predict the third wave for the whole country.
“It will now make sense only if district or state-specific data are used for specific projections. The wave may rear its head only if states remove restrictions prematurely and there is a new transmission-efficient variant that could in turn cause a huge increase in caseload, or there is clear violation of Covid protocols at the population level,” Dr Panda said.
(With inputs from PTI)