Third wave likely by October. Will it affect children harder?
Amid worries that a future third wave of COVID-19 may impact the younger population harder, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday that this may not be true. The Ministry cited data from a recent study conducted by AIIMS, Delhi, and the World Health Organization which showed near equal seropositivity among children and adults. The third wave will likely hit India by October.
'Survey shows seropositivity almost equal in all age groups'
Addressing a COVID-19 briefing, Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said, "It may not be true that children will be disproportionately affected in the third wave as the serosurvey shows seropositivity was almost equal in all age groups." He said preparations will be made regardless.
Seropositivity rate 67% for adults; 59% for children
The WHO-AIIMS study—which included 10,000 people across five states—said the seropositivity rate was 67% for adults and 59% for children. In urban areas, the seropositivity rate was 78% for children and 79% for adults. In rural areas, the seropositivity rate was 56% for children and 63% for adults. The third wave may see isolated infections in children, NITI Aayog member Dr. VK Paul said.
Experts say third wave likely by October
Reuters conducted a poll of 40 healthcare specialists, doctors, scientists, virologists, epidemiologists, and professors worldwide between June 3-17. The news agency said that 85% of respondents (21 of 24 who ventured a prediction) said the next wave of COVID-19 will hit India by October. Three of them said the next wave may hit in August, while 12 said it may arrive in September.
New outbreaks will be better controlled than current one: Survey
However, 70% of the respondents (24 of 34) said any new outbreaks will be better controlled than the current one. The current second wave saw a record number of infections and fatalities, along with a shortage of vaccines, medicines, medical oxygen, and hospital beds.
India's tally reaches 2.97 crore; over 3.83 lakh dead
Meanwhile, according to the Union Health Ministry, till Friday morning, India reported a total of 2,97,62,793 COVID-19 cases. The death toll has reached 3,83,490. So far, 2,85,80,647 patients have recovered, while 7,98,656 cases involve active infections. In the past 24 hours alone, India recorded 62,480 new infections, 88,977 more discharges, and 1,587 fresh fatalities. 26,89,60,399 vaccine doses have been administered so far.
Positivity rate under 5% in over 500 districts
Agarwal said on Friday that the overall positivity rate was less than 5% in 513 districts. The 1,587 deaths updated on Friday marked the lowest single-day COVID-19 death toll observed in India in 61 days. Active infections have slipped under eight lakh after 73 days.
70% new cases concentrated in 5 states
Maharashtra reported 9,830 new COVID-19 cases along with 5,890 more recoveries. Karnataka, the second worst-hit state after Maharashtra, reported 5,983 new cases and 10,685 discharges. Meanwhile, the third worst-hit Kerala added 12,469 new cases and 13,614 recoveries. Tamil Nadu, the fourth worst-hit state, reported 9,118 new cases and 22,720 recoveries. Andhra Pradesh reported 6,151 new cases and 7,728 recoveries.