Guwahati: A new report released by the State Bank of India (SBI) has suggested that the second wave of COVID-19 may peak in the third week of May.

The report, authored by Dr Soumya Kanti Ghosh, group chief economic adviser of SBI, said that the recovery rate across countries continues to improve in different peaks. “But in India recovery rate increased to 97. till mid-Feb’21 but it has started declining thereafter and moved to 85 recently,” it noted.

“Based on our model, if we consider second wave peak is reached when recovery rate is around 78%-79%, then the peak could be further away in May. Our model suggests that the estimated peak time is 96 days from 15-Feb, indicating the peak happening in the 3rd week of May,” it added.

However, the report noted that “we are incrementally adding around 15000 more cases over peak of previous day as of today, though such numbers are difficult to predict”.

“UP and Maharashtra achieved peak before national peak in first wave. Now new cases in Maharashtra seems to be stabilising but share of cases in total of various other states (Chhattisgarh, MP, Gujarat) has increased in the current second wave and these are showing increase in daily new cases. So, if other states also implement strict actions and control the spread, then national peak may come within 2 weeks after Maharashtra peak,” the report said.

Also read: COVID-19: Over 3.32 lakh new cases in India in a day, record 2,263 deaths

Meanwhile, SBI has revised downwards its growth projection for 2021-22 to 10.4% real GDP growth and 14.3% nominal GDP growth, from 11% and 15%, respectively, citing the second wave of COVID-19 and the spate of ongoing partial, local and weekend lockdowns in almost all the states.

The country’s largest bank has also estimated total loss of Rs 1.5 lakh crore due to the ongoing lockdowns and restrictions, of which Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan account for 80%. Maharashtra alone accounts for 54%, the report noted.

However, SBI had observed huge monthly incremental increase in deposits in FY21 April-May, as people had less options to spend due to nationwide lockdown. “This time also we expect large traction in time deposits as most of the states imposed partial lockdowns,” the report said.

Suggesting that rapid vaccination should be the primary tool and not lockdown to thwart the second wave of coronavirus, the SBI report noted that the number of beneficiaries vaccinated daily was 34.1 lakh on April 13 this year, but has much declined since then.

“The government has now announced people above 18 years are now eligible to take vaccine from 1 May’21. This is a good move and certainly will help in combatting the rising infection in 2nd wave. However, India needs to increase its vaccination production,” the bank said.

“Serum institute is expected to increase its production capacity to 110 mn doses per month by Jul’21, Bharat Biotech is expected to increase its production capacity to 12 mn doses per month by Jul’21. Also Sputnik vaccine will be imported from May onwards. Taking these into account we believe a total of 1132 million doses can be given by Dec’21 in which 15% of the population can be fully vaccinated and 84% can get their first shot,” the report added.

Also read: Big tragedy may happen due to oxygen shortage: Kejriwal at PM’s COVID meet

Commenting on the ongoing oxygen crisis in India, the report said: “The maximum consumption of medical oxygen in the country is by states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, followed by Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Rajasthan. While the excess oxygen is available in other Easter
regions like Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha. So, the challenge is logistics (storage and distribution system).”

To meet the demand and ease of transportation, the government has taken a number of steps like increase production capacity, import of oxygen, PSA plants in hospitals for self sufficiency, utilization of surplus available with steel plants and ramp up transportation through train, the report said.

“However, we believe if the cases continue to increase and cross 4-5 lakh per day, then undoubtedly, it is difficult, (assuming 10% needs oxygen support),” it noted.

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