3rd wave won’t overwhelm Mumbai hospitals: TIFR model
The analysis showed that in comparison with the second wave, the third surge will be manageable for the city as it will not overwhelm the medical facilities
The cases in the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic driven by the Omicron variant will peak between January 6 to 13 in Mumbai, and the fatalities by February, according to a modelling and data analysis carried out by scientists at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR).
The analysis showed that in comparison with the second wave, the third surge will be manageable for the city as it will not overwhelm the medical facilities in terms of hospitalisations and oxygen requirements.
The simulator model has been developed by Sandeep Juneja and Daksh Mittal from the School of Technology and Computer Science, TIFR. While they have used this model to make projections during the first and second waves, the current analysis has been carried out after introducing the Omicron variant into the simulator.
The model has projected a timeline of the peak, but the scientists have refrained from projecting the number of cases. “It’s difficult to project the numbers because they largely depend on the testing strategy and who is getting tested, but our modelling shows that the peak hospitalisations will be about 50% to 70% of what we saw during the Delta wave,” said Juneja. He added that they have taken into account the bed occupancy in Dedicated Covid Hospitals and Dedicated Covid Health Centres as around 18,000 during the peak of the second wave.
“The fatalities too will be around 30% to 50% of what we saw during the peak in the second wave,” he said. He added that they have taken into account 90 deaths as the highest single-day toll of the second wave. “So, we may see somewhere between 30 to 45 deaths in a peak day in this wave,” he said.
Based on available international data, their analysis assumes that the chances of hospitalisation with Omicron will be reduced by 70% among those who were fully vaccinated as well as had a previous Covid-19 infection compared to the susceptible. The chances were reduced by 55% for those who were fully vaccinated but were uninfected. The susceptible in turn is much less likely to be hospitalised in comparison to Delta. There are also 20% fewer chances of getting symptoms when infected with Omicron compared to the delta, the analysis said.
Juneja highlighted certain caveats. Besides taking into account the data released by the civic body, they have based their assumptions on data from South Africa and the UK. “We don’t really have Indian data. We are assuming that 35% of people who have recovered from the disease are amenable to reinfections. But it’s just one of the many scenarios that have been considered in South Africa which we are going by. We have also assumed that Omicron is two times more infectious than the Delta variant, an assumption that is not fully established as yet,” said Juneja. He added that these points should be considered as caveats.
“It would be ideal to have time series of Indian data on what percentage of the new cases are fully vaccinated or vaccinated with a single shot or those who were previously infected. That data would have helped us,” he said.