TIFR scientists explain why Covid 3rd wave in Mumbai may not be as large as the second

Monitoring infection will help the civic administrations to understand the trend early.

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Mumbai's 80% population is now perhaps exposed to the Coronavirus-causing SARS-CoV-2 virus, therefore, scientists believe that the third wave's peak will not possibly be as devastating as the second wave peak. The second Covid wave in Mumbai was disastrous amongst all other states that reported 90 deaths on May 1. 

Regardless of the positive prediction by the Scientists of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) comes with a red flag that says reinfections are not substantial.

"Reinfections will hold the key in the third wave," said the study's main author Dr Sandeep Juneja, dean of TIFR's school of technology and computer science. 

It has been nearly 17 months since the Covid pandemic outbreak in India and those persons who were infected in the first wave in 2020 could now be susceptible to the virus again because of the reduction in the antibody levels. 

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Monitoring infection will help the civic administrations to understand the trend early. Juneja believes it would help check the trend early and also access the third wave if 20 per cent of the population in Mumbai has not been infected with the virus yet are vaccinated quickly. 

"We also consider a somewhat pessimistic scenario where reinfections are significant (amongst the 80% recovered, 10% are amenable to infections, and if infected, will follow the same disease progression as the first time or a new variant that is 50% more infectious and 50% more virulent than the Delta variant," the scientists said.

The other factors that could have an impact on the third wave would be the low efficacy of the vaccine due to a variant that can make the virus escape the vaccine immunity. Reopening of the city and establishments at 60% level but low adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour can also lead to a high number of reinfections in people. 

"Despite these negative things, the resulting peak is seen to be no larger than that under the second wave," said Juneja. 

According to the team of researchers, if the four factors align, their wave would hardly be seen by September. These four factors include - reinfections are mild; the presence of no fresh dangerous strains, extensive vaccination coverage in June, July August and if the vaccine given provides 75-95% effectiveness.

The TIFR paper also documented that Mumbai's peak during the second wave of the pandemic was lower than the peaks seen in Delhi and Bengaluru because of increased levels of previous exposure to the virus. 

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Mumbai during the Covid second wave had witnessed about 11,000 cases in a single day while in Delhi the peak was around 28,000 and Bangalore of around 25,000.