India may see second wave of COVID-19 outbreak in monsoon, say scientists

The trajectory of COVID-19 cases could have plateaued and might even fall for some weeks after the lockdown is lifted but India is likely to see a second wave in late July or August with a surge in the number of cases during the monsoon, say scientists.

The timing of the peak will depend on how India is able to control physical distancing and on the level of infection spreads after restrictions are relaxed, they said.

It looks apparent that the trajectory of daily new cases has reached a plateau and eventually it will take a downward fall, maybe for some weeks or even months, Samit Bhattacharya, associate professor at the Department of Mathematics, Shiv Nadar University, told PTI.

Still, we may get a surge of new cases of the same coronavirus and this will be considered a second wave, Bhattacharya explained.

The second epidemic may come back in late July or August in the monsoon, although the peak timing will depend on how we control social distancing during that time, he said.

Rajesh Sundaresan, professor at Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Science (IISc), agreed.

Once we return to normal activity levels, there is a chance that infection may begin to rise again. China is seeing this to some extent post easing of some restrictions on travel, Sundaresan, corresponding author of a working paper by researchers at IISc and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai, told PTI.

On March 25, when the number of coronavirus cases was 618 with 13 deaths, the government announced a nationwide lockdown that was later extended to May 3.

On Friday, the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 718 and the number of cases to 23,077, according to the Union Health Ministry.

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