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Updated on: Tuesday, August 03, 2021, 12:00 PM IST

Is third wave of COVID-19 already here? As India's 'R' rate rises sharply, here's what you need to know

Photo: Pixabay |

Photo: Pixabay |

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With recent reports suggesting that India may soon face a third wave of COVID-19 infections, healthcare officials and the government remain on alert. While the projections indicate that this wave is likely to be of comparatively lesser magnitude than its predecessor, experts say that it is likely to begin soon.

As per recent calculations by researchers from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Hyderabad and Kanpur, a possible third wave can arrive in India as soon as August, possibly peaking in October. In the best case scenario, there will be less than 100,000 COVID-19 cases a day, while the worst case scenario will be around 150,000.

With several projected dates for the onset of a possible third wave of COVID-19 having been put forth over the last few months, there is no definitive date that one can refer to. However, recent data, including India's 'R' rate suggest that things might soon take a turn for the worse.

This rate is a measure of the virus' ability to spread. The 'R' denotes the number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to. And as per global reports, if allowed to spread unchecked, COVID-19 would have a reproduction number of around three. To ensure that the virus simply cannot infect enough people to sustain a pandemic situation, the 'R' rate should be below one.

During the second wave of COVID-19, the overall R-value in the country was estimated to be 1.37 between March 9 to April 21. Now, after a brief respite, the number is once again rising. According to an India Today report quoting Sitabhra Sinha, a professor of computational biology and theoretical physics at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai, the R value at the end of July is a three-month high. Having crossed 1 on July 27, the estimated 'R' value for July 27-31 is 1.03, he added.

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Published on: Tuesday, August 03, 2021, 12:00 PM IST
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