• India is now facing the third wave of Covid. 1.85 lakh cases were reported on 11th January 2022. Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science and Indian Statistical Institute (IISc&ISI) are predicting that India may witness 10 lakh cases per day by the end of January.

The present situation:

  • India is facing Covid third wave due to the Omicron variant. This variant is highly infectious and was declared as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization on 26th Nov 2021. 70 to 80% of the Covid patients during the third wave are infected with the Omicron variant and some patients are infected with the Delta variant. Delta variant is still active in some regions.
  • It is expected that the third wave, which was started in January 2022, will peak by the end of January. And it is predicted that the number of cases will start declining by mid-march 2022.
  • Most of the cases during the Covid second wave (March 2021 to July 2021) were of the delta variant. The second wave was more severe than the first wave (March 2020 to December 2020). Even though the number of cases in the third wave is more than 1 lakh per day, as per the government data, only 5-10% of the infected patients are requiring hospitalization. Experts are saying that the omicron variant is much less severe than the delta variant.
  • As the Omicron variant is highly infectious, it is predicted that the number of hospitalizations could double in the third wave when compared with the second wave. So, even though the omicron variant is less severe, it can still overwhelm the healthcare sector.
  • With the lessons learned from the Covid second wave, the government is taking steps to increase the number of healthcare professionals and also to increase medical oxygen production.
  • The upcoming assembly elections from 10th February to 7th March in five states are a cause of worry amid the third wave. The election commission imposed a ban on physical rallies till Jan 15th, 2022. There is a need to increase polling centres to prevent crowding. Moreover, there is a need to continue the ban on physical election rallies, because they were one of the reasons for the Covid second wave in India.
  • Even the vaccinated people are being infected with the Omicron variant, but they are having mild symptoms when compared with unvaccinated people.
  • Even though India missed the target of vaccinating the entire adult population by December 2021, around 90% of the adult population took at least one dose of vaccine. As of 12th January 2022, more than 154.50 crore people are vaccinated. Now, the younger population aged 15 to 18 years are also being vaccinated.
  • The government has started giving booster doses for frontline workers and senior citizens.
  • Several companies are continuing the work from home option for their employees. And some other companies are opting for a hybrid working model, by combining in-office and remote work.
  • The Covid third wave is hitting the contact-intensive service sectors again. As businesses learned lessons during the previous waves, they are preparing for the increase in demand once the third wave declines.
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Covid third wave in India is witnessing more than 1 lakh cases per day due to the highly infectious Omicron variant. Even though it is much less severe than the delta variant, it can still overwhelm the healthcare sector due to the rapid increase in the number of cases. There is a need to finish the full vaccination of the eligible population as soon as we can. Moreover, strict rules should be implemented to maintain social distancing rules.

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