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India Covid crisis: Reinfections hold the key in third wave in Mumbai

Web Report/Mumbai
Filed on June 29, 2021
Photo: Reuters

Mumbai with a population of 13 million had nearly two-thirds of the population exposed to the disease.


The third Covid-19 wave is unlikely to be large in Mumbai, where 80 per cent of the population is already exposed to it, according to a simulation model by scientists of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR).

However, this is subject to reinfections not being substantial. “Reinfections will hold the key in the third wave,” said Dr Sandeep Juneja, dean of TIFR’s school of technology and computer science, who prepared the model along with his colleague Daksh Mittal.

According to their report, the third wave would not be significant if the reinfections are mild, there is an absence of dangerous new variants, extensive vaccination happens over the next three months and there is vaccine effectiveness of 75 to 95 per cent.

“Mechanisms need to be in place that can continuously measure the emergence of reinfections and variants that can breakthrough existing immunity, including immunity provided through vaccines,” said the report. “It is the reinfections that may lead to a larger wave.”

They point out that Mumbai with a population of 13 million had nearly two-thirds of the population exposed to the disease. Delhi with a 19 million population saw 55 per cent of the population exposed to Covid-19, while Bangalore (around 13 million) had 45 per cent exposed in February.

“While the Mumbai administration was well organised in tackling the second wave, the presence of high sero-positivity may have helped Mumbai avoid the tragic consequences that may have resulted from a much higher peak,” the report notes.





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