The fourth wave of India’s COVID-19 pandemic could begin around June 22 and peak from mid- to late August, a pilot study by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur suggests.
The peer-reviewed study yet to be reviewed, recently published on the preprint repository MedRxiv, used a statistical model to make the prediction, determining that the potential new wave will last four months.
The study led by Sabara Parshad Rajeshbhai, Subhra Sankar Dhar and Shalabh of IIT Kanpur’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics shows that the severity of the fourth wave will depend on the emergence of a possible novel coronavirus variant and vaccination status across the country.
“The data indicate that the fourth wave of COVID-19 in India will arrive 936 days after the first data availability date, which is January 30, 2020,” the study authors said.
“Therefore, the fourth wave starts from June 22, 2022, reaches its peak on August 23, 2022, and ends on October 24, 2022,” they wrote in the research paper.
However, the researchers noted that there is always a reasonable chance that a possible new variant of coronavirus will have an intense impact on the entire analysis.
The impact will depend on the various factors, such as the infectivity, mortality, etc. of the variant, they said.
“Apart from this fact, the effect of vaccinations — the first, second, or booster dose — may also play an important role on the possibility of infection, the degree of infection, and various problems associated with the fourth wave,” the authors said.
World Health Organization officials recently warned that Omicron may not be the latest Covid variant and the next strain could be more contagious.
“The next variant of care will be more appropriate, and what we mean by that is it will be more transferable because it will have to catch up with what is currently circulating,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO COVID-19 technical leader.
The same research team had previously predicted that the third wave of the pandemic in India would peak by February 3, 2022.
That study studied the trend of the Omicron-led rise in COVID-19 cases in other countries and predicted that India will also experience a similar trajectory.
In the current study, the researchers applied the statistical methodology to COVID-19 data from India to predict the occurrence of the fourth wave in the country.
“This method can also be used to predict the fourth and other waves in other countries,” they said.
The researchers noted that many countries have already witnessed the third wave of COVID-19, and a few countries such as South Africa and Zimbabwe have started the fourth and higher waves of the pandemic.
“The third wave of COVID-19 was predicted for India using Zimbabwe’s data, and as the third wave in India comes to an end, it is now clear that the prediction was correct,” the authors added.
The one-day rise in the number of coronavirus infections fell below 10,000 after two months, with 8,013 cases bringing India’s total number to 4,29,24,130, according to health ministry data updated on Monday.
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