India continues to witness a surge in daily COVID-19 infections since February, which clearly indicates a second wave, according to a report by the State Bank of India (SBI).
The SBI report titled 'The second wave of infections: The beginning of the end' by Chief Economic Advisor Soumya Kanti Ghosh released on Thursday, March 25, estimated that the second wave of COVID-19 could last up to 100 days when counted from February 15.
According to the report, the total number of coronavirus cases in India during the second wave is predicted to be around 25 lakh based on trends till March 23.
It also highlighted that the localised lockdowns or restrictions proved to be ineffective in controlling the spread of the virus. It emphasised that mass vaccination is the only way to win the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Given the number of days between the current level of daily new cases and the peak level during the first wave, India could hit the peak in the second half of April, the report said.
Focusing on the economic indicators, the SBI report said the business activity index, based on high-frequency indicators, has declined in the last week, adding that the impact of the lockdown or restrictions imposed by certain states might become visible next month.
The study also recommended that vaccination rates should be accelerated across the states. If regular vaccinations were increased from 34 lakh to 40-45 lakh per day, inoculation of people aged 45 and above can be completed in four months.
The Union Health Ministry data revealed that India reported 53,476 new coronavirus cases on a single day, which is the most significant single-day increase in over five months.
On Wednesday, the Health Ministry announced that a new "double mutant strain" of the coronavirus was discovered in 18 states across the country. Several other strains or variants of concern (VOCs) were discovered worldwide.
Balram Bhargava, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), on Wednesday, said, "As we are seeing the early second wave and completing more than one year of our fight against the virus, the focus should be on testing, wearing masks and vaccination,'' NDTV reported.