India’s R-value drops, 3rd wave peak likely in next 14 days: IIT analysis

According to the IIT analysis, the third wave is likely to peak in the next 14 days before February 6

India logged 3.34 lakh new coronavirus cases on January 23

India’s R-value, which indicates the rate of the spread of coronavirus, dropped further to 1.57 in the week from January 14-21 and the third wave of the infection is expected to peak nationwide within the next fortnight.

This preliminary analysis was made by IIT Madras. If the R-value, which shows the number of people an infected person can spread the disease to, goes below 1, a pandemic is considered to end.

According to PTI, the IIT Madras analysis showed that the R-value was recorded at 1.57 between January 14 and January 21. The number was recorded at 2.2 in the week of January 7-13, while it was at 4 from January 1-6 and 2.9 from December 25-31.

The preliminary analysis was arrived at by computational modeling by IIT Madras Department of Mathematics and Centre of Excellence for Computational Mathematics and Data Science headed by Prof Neelesh S Upadhye and Prof S Sundar.

The R-value of Mumbai was 0.67, Delhi was 0.98, Chennai 1.2 and Kolkata 0.56, according to the data. Dr Jayant Jha, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics, IIT Madras, said the R-value of Mumbai and Kolkata shows that peak is over there and it is becoming endemic while for Delhi and Chennai it is still close to 1.

The reason for this could be due to the new ICMR guidelines that has removed the requirement for contact tracing and is probably leading to less infections from before, said Dr Jayant Jha.

The ICMR has issued guidelines according to which the contacts of coronavirus patients do not need testing unless identified as high-risk based on the age or comorbidities. Also, Jha pointed out that as per their analysis, the third wave is likely to peak in the next 14 days before February 6. The earlier prediction was that the peak of the third wave is likely to be between February 1 and February 15.

The third wave of COVID-19 is being driven by the Omicron variant. India logged 3.34 lakh new coronavirus cases on Sunday (January 23), raising the tally to 39 million cases.