As COVID-19 subsides, SBI report predicts third wave next month
India on Monday reported under 40,000 new COVID-19 cases, only the second time since mid-March when the second wave of the outbreak had begun. With just over 720 deaths, India also recorded its lowest single-day spike in fatalities in 88 days. However, a report prepared by SBI Research has stated that India may see the beginning of the third wave of COVID-19 next month.
According to the Union Health Ministry, till Monday morning, India reported a total of 3,05,85,229 COVID-19 cases. The death toll has reached 4,02,728. So far, 2,97,00,430 patients have recovered, while 4,82,071 cases involve active infections. In the past 24 hours alone, India recorded 39,796 new infections, 42,352 more discharges, and 723 fresh fatalities. 35,28,92,046 vaccine doses have been administered so far.
Maharashtra reported 9,336 new COVID-19 cases along with 3,378 more recoveries. Kerala, the second worst-hit state after Maharashtra, reported 12,100 new cases and 11,551 discharges. Meanwhile, the third worst-hit Karnataka added 1,564 new cases and 4,775 recoveries. Tamil Nadu, the fourth worst-hit state, reported 3,867 new cases and 4,382 recoveries. Andhra Pradesh reported 3,175 new cases and 3,692 recoveries.
The SBI Research report said infections can start rising by the second fortnight of August. Infections will peak around a month thereafter in September, it said. The report noted that peak cases in the third wave could be around 1.7 times the number of peak cases during the second wave. India's second wave peaked on May 7, when 4.14 lakh COVID-19 cases were reported.
One of the factors experts worry could lead to a more devastating third wave are mutations to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The Delta variant—first identified in India—was blamed for India's second wave. It has further mutated into 'Delta Plus'. However, WHO chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan told TOI the Delta Plus variant is being looked into, but it is not a cause of worry yet.
Meanwhile, after the thousands of cases of mucormycosis or "black fungus" raised concern, doctors in Mumbai have noted three cases of avascular necrosis, or the death of bone tissues, in COVID-19 patients. The patients in whom these "bone death" cases were witnessed were on steroid treatment. Doctors recommended COVID-19 survivors who underwent steroid treatment and now experience hip/thigh pain to get a confirmatory MRI.