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Covid-19: Second wave may last up to April second-half, says SBI report

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Virendra Pandit 

New Delhi: Stating that economic indicators are improving, a State Bank of India (SBI) report has said that with the fresh spike in the Covid-19 infections in the country, the new numbers are likely to surge to more than 2.5 million and the second wave of the pandemic may last up to 100 days (that is, the second half of April 2021).

The SBI’s research report, titled “Second Wave of Infections: The Beginning of the End”, said that the business activity index in India has declined 101.7 in recent weeks.

The report, prepared by Dr. Soumya Kanti Ghosh, SBI’s Group Chief Economic Adviser, noted that lockdowns have not resulted in controlling the spread of infection. “Increasing the speed of vaccination is the only way to win the battle against Covid-19 pandemic. The injection to infection ratio shows Israel, the UK and Chile are doing better than India.

“However, the pace of vaccination in India is much higher. So far India has given 50.8 million shots in a span of 67 days, or 790,000 shots per day.”

According to the SBI report, “India is witnessing the second wave of infection beginning February 2021, with daily new cases rising again. Pan-India total cases in the second wave expected in the order of 25 lakhs (based on data trends until March 23). Considering the number of days from the current level of daily new cases to the peak level during the first wave, India might reach the peak in the second half of April,” the report said.

In the past 24 hours, 53,476 new infections were reported in a day, taking the nationwide Covid-19 tally to 11,787,534, according to the data available with the Union Health Ministry. Active caseload registered an increase for the 15th day in a row, recorded at 395,192.

“Though the global Covid-19 experience shows the second wave much higher in intensity than the first wave, presence of vaccine makes the difference currently. Thus India will be able to manage the situation better,” the report said.

Since January 14, 2021, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the world’s largest vaccination program, India has given more than 52 million doses to the people in phases. From April 1, those over 45 years of age will also be inoculated.

Also, with the fresh surge in infections, India is unlikely to expand the export of vaccines. New Delhi has so far exported over 60 million doses to nearly 70 countries.

A total of 52,197,380 vaccine doses have been given, officials said on Wednesday. These include 7,956,925 healthcare workers (HCWs) who got the first dose and 5,047,927 HCWs who got the second shot also, 8,433,875 frontline workers (FLWs) who were administered the first dose, and 3,202,183 FLWs who got the second dose.

Besides, 22,601,622 beneficiaries more than 60 years old and 4,954,848 beneficiaries aged 45 and above with specific co-morbidities have been administered the first dose, the data indicated.


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