MUMBAI: The Omicron wave is waning in Mumbai, but it may take another month for the rest of the country.
Experts say the pandemic may linger, though not as debilitatingly as in 2020, if new mutations of concern occur.
“The Omicron wave will last until the end of January or early February in India,” said epidemiologist Dr Giridhar Babu. The Omicron wave typically peaks in three weeks, three times faster than the Delta wave. India’s next two weeks are crucial, he added.
However, in places like Mumbai and Delhi, the threat peaked in late December. Virologist Dr Om Shrivastava estimates the wave will peak in March.
The pandemic could turn into a “endemic” virus infection this year, with localised and brief peaks. “In India, we may see isolated cases. For example, Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, and Chhattisgarh may continue to see small waves, Dr Shrivastava said.
It is possible that Omicron will reappear later in the year as immunity wanes, according to the US-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). The IHME report said new variants would emerge in 2022 and Covid would remain a problem. This year’s pandemic will likely be over by early March, according to the report.
Dr Shashank Joshi of Maharashtra’s Covid-19 task force believes the pandemic will fade if no new strains emerge after March and April. “We can expect a calmer world after March or April,” he said.
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But when will it end? Dr. Joshi said flattening will occur after all 7 billion people are vaccinated. In an interview on Sunday, American virologist Dr. “This can’t go on forever, and it will soon. This game of chess is going to be a draw, where the virus hides and we win, coming out from behind our facemask. So, we hope to progress, and I believe we are getting close.”