On Thursday morning, India had recorded 961 cases of Covid-19 from the Omicron variant of SARS CoV-2. While modelling by the University of Cambridge predicted new infections to rise in India by the end of December, researchers at IIT-Kanpur have predicted a peak by early February—this would be the third wave of the pandemic in the country—assuming infections rose as early as December 15.
Most experts believe the impact of the third wave, once Omicron displaces Delta as the dominant variant in the country, would be less severe than the previous two waves.
However, given how Omicron is estimated to be 3-4 times more infectious than Delta and likely has greater immune escape capabilities—having had Covid-19 before and vaccination may not be able to stave off infection though could protect against severe infection—the focus would be on readiness of the health care infrastructure.
While the Global Health Security Index, from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Economist Intelligence Unit, saw India’s performance worsen slightly in 2021 over 2019, the government approved ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response & Health System Preparedness Package: Phase-II (ECRP-II package)’ to bolster health care infrastructure in July.
Against the backdrop of critical oxygen supply-chain issues, a government release earlier this month noted that as many as 1,563 pressure swing adsorption plants have been set up to bolster supply of medical oxygen.