While Covid-19 cases triggered by Omicron are fast spreading in India and some states have started imposing restrictions, a study by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur predicts India’s third wave started around mid-December 2021, and the cases will peak in the beginning of February 2022.

Their forecast, published in medical review journal MedRxiv as a pre-print and not peer reviewed yet, is based on the data from the first two waves of the pandemic, data of different countries that are already facing the third wave, and modelling of their daily cases data. The researchers evaluated daily cases and trends data from top ten countries with similarity to the two waves in India - the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, South Africa, Russia, Israel, Spain, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Of these countries, Zambia and Zimbabwe are the closest matching countries for which the daily cases data follow a very similar pattern to India’s daily cases data, the researchers say.

"It suggests that the cases reach the peak value after 735 days from our initial observation date which is January 30, 2020. So, the cases start rising around December 15, 2021, and the peak of the third wave will occur on Thursday, February 3, 2022," say researchers Sabara Parshad Rajeshbhai, Subhra Sankar Dhar and Shalabh in their study 'Statistical Forecasting : Third Wave of COovid-19 - With an Application to India'.

They observe that while their mathematical modelling research methodolgy can estimate the timeline "with some confidence", the exact peak number of cases (weight factor) cannot be estimated accurately as it involves the vaccination data of the population.

"Modelling of the total vaccination data can be done using a linear quantile regression model for Zimbabwe and India and it can be used for accurately estimating the peak number of cases. Also, since this report considers only one country Zimbabwe as our training data set, it can be extended to other countries as well and an average of the parameters can be used for the prediction of third wave of Covid-19 in India," say the IIT experts.

In many countries like the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Russia, the majority of the people have been vaccinated but still they are currently facing the third wave. So, India and other countries have to build up the defences and be prepared for another wave so that it is not as devastating as the earlier ones, they warn.

Meanwhile, India is experiencing more number of Covid-19 cases, with Omicron infections found so far is 358. Of this, most cases are from Maharashtra (88) Delhi (67), Telangana (38), Tamilnadu (34), Karnataka (31), Gujarat (30 and Kerala (27).

Over 120 cases were detected in the last 24 hours. However, 114 of the 358 patients have been either discharged, recovered or migrated. India had a total 7,495 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, including nearly 2,500 from Kerala. India's active caseload currently stands at 78,291. the lowest since March 2020. Over 140 crore vaccine doses have been administered across the country, covering at least one dose for 80% of the population.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are planning to impose a night curfew from Saturday from 11 pm to 5 am as precautionary measure. States like Maharashtra, which witnessed over 600 Covid-19 cases yesterday, are also planning to impose travel restrictions and curfews.

Follow us on Facebook, X, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp to never miss an update from Fortune India. To buy a copy, visit Amazon.