India will witness a peak in the number of COVID-19 cases by next month with the expectation of reporting five lakh cases per day, a US-based health expert said, adding that however “the severity of the variant will be less this time in the country than Delta variant.”

Dr Christopher Murray, Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and Chair of the Health Metrics Sciences at the University of Washington said, “You are entering the Omicron wave, as many countries around the world are, and we expect that there will be more cases per day at the peak than you had in April last year for the Delta wave, but Omicron is much less severe.”

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“So, while you will have many cases and set records probably for cases. It should have less of an impact on the severity of the disease. We currently have in the models that we will release later, we expect about five lakh cases at the peak, which should come in during the next month,” he added.

As many experts in India say that the country has hybrid immunity due to which Omicron will be less effective, Dr Murray said, What we know from a place like South Africa where there was a tremendous amount of prior infection, both Delta as well as Beta. Vaccination doses provide considerable protection for severe disease, from hospitalisation and death, which is why we think there will be many Omicron cases in India, but much less hospitalisation and death than you had in the Delta wave.

Speaking about the number of hospitalizations and severity due to the variant, he said, We expect that 85.2 percent of infections will have no symptoms.

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