COVID-19 Third Wave: The Beginning of the End?
Moneylife Digital Team 18 January 2022
New COVID-19 cases in Mumbai seem to be stabilising, but in other districts like Bengaluru and Pune, cases are increasing during the current third wave, with higher daily new numbers.
If other districts also implement strict measures and control the spread, then the national peak may come within two-three weeks after the Mumbai peak, says a research note.
In the report, Dr Soumya Kanti Ghosh, group chief economic adviser of State Bank of India (SBI), says, “During the second wave, many of the major districts achieved the second peak before national peak as on 6 May 2021. In the third wave, Mumbai’s peak time daily cases were at 20,971 recorded on 7 January 2022. Mumbai seems past its peak, but other districts have to control the spread to achieve national peak.”
Daily COVID cases in India have started rising since 29 December 2021. As of 17 January 2022, the seven-day moving average (DMA) of new cases is 2.39 lakh, while the total number of active cases is 16.56 lakh. India’s recovery rate stands at 94.27. 
SBI says India has fully vaccinated 64% of its eligible population and 89% of its eligible population stands vaccinated with at least a single dose. At present, India’s vaccination 7-day MA is about 70 lakh. As of 17 January 2022, around 44 lakh precaution doses and 3.45 crore doses to the 15-18 age group have been administered. 
“Share of rural vaccination in total vaccination is now at 83% in January 2022, indicating the rural populace may be largely protected in the current wave. The overall share of rural districts in new cases has increased to 32.6% in January 2022 from the lowest of 14.4% in December 2021,” the report points out.
Rural percentage share in new cases is higher in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha and Rajasthan. However, the percentage share in rural vaccination to total vaccination is lower in Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Karnataka.
AP, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, Telangana and Uttarakhand have already vaccinated more than 70% of their eligible population with double doses. However, Punjab, UP and Jharkhand are still lagging. These states need to pick up the pace, SBI says. 
According to the report, a welcome trend is vacant beds share, which has seen significant increase at all major centres, compared to the second wave.  
According to the report, COVID-19 cases in the US are currently at an all-time high. In the current spike, new COVID cases in the US have jumped 6.9 times. Countries like UAE, Chile, Singapore and China have more than 80% of their population fully vaccinated. With rising vaccination doses, countries are experiencing lower deaths even while new infections surge, it says.
As of 17 January 2022, SBI Business Activity Index declined to 101.0 from 109.0 as on 10 January 2022. “This is lowest since 15 November 2021. Weekly arrival of vegetables, RTO revenue collection and Apple Mobility index declined significantly during the week,” the report says.
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