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Second wave of coronavirus could peak in April-May: SBI report

New Delhi: With India witnessing the second wave of Covid-19 exactly a year after the lockdown and cases breaching 53,476 mark, the highest 24-day rise in 153 days, a report by the State Bank of India has estimated the infections in the ongoing wave will peak in the second half of April.

Prepared with an eye on economic recovery prospects, the report notes that lockdowns and restrictions had not succeeded in taming the infections and advocates expanded vaccination to achieve population-based herd immunity.

“Pan-India total cases in the second wave are expected in the order of 25 lakh. Considering the number of days from the current level of daily infections to the peak level during the first wave of the pandemic, India might reach the peak in the second half of April,” the SBI document notes.

The report also places India at a better position compared to the world to address the second wave with vaccinations already gathering pace.

The document says hastening the pace of inoculation is the only way to fight the pandemic. The report comes at a time when several states, especially Maharashtra, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, are returning to localised restrictions.

The Prime Minister in his recent engagement with the CMs had also advocated imposition of micro containment strategy to break the chain of transmission of infections. Citing a study in respect of the Spanish flu of 1918, the SBI report says even the Great Pandemic Flu study findings revealed that accelerated implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions such as lockdowns, closure of schools, theatres can help reduce transmission but the viral spread will renew once the measures are relaxed.

The report takes note of the top 10 highest active burden districts of India, nine of them in Maharashtra and one in Karnataka. The report also says bank credit and deposits have looked up in February 2021 after declines earlier this year.

Brakes on Vaccine Maitri as cases rise

The surge in infections and expanding the vaccine drive at home led South Block to put the brakes on its major diplomatic initiative Vaccine Maitri. However, India has so far maintained its commitment of supplying the vaccines to vulnerable sections with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar announcing the dispatch of two lakh doses for UN peacekeepers. The vaccines will be shipped on Saturday to Copenhagen for consolidation with the UN programme.