India risks 600,000 cases daily without more Covid-19 shots: Study

A woman receives a shot of the Covid-19 vaccine during a mass vaccination drive in Mumbai on Aug 19, 2021. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW DELHI (BLOOMBERG) - India may record an unprecedented 600,000 new infections a day if the country fails to boost the pace of vaccination and avert a third coronavirus wave, according to a new study.

The National Institute of Disaster Management - which falls under the interior ministry - predicts a surge in cases as early as October.

Daily infections could reduce to 200,000 if the government executes its 10-million-a-day vaccination plan, the report stated, citing a study by Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Energy University and Nirma University.

The NIDM advises organising hospital beds and vaccinating the vulnerable to avert the devastation of the second wave that peaked in May, after killing more than 250,000 residents.

Other forecasters have also predicted a new wave in coming weeks, though most see it as weaker than the previous surge.

The handling of the second wave led to widespread criticism of the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity fell to 24 per cent in August from 66 per cent a year ago, the India Today survey showed.

India has fully vaccinated only 9 per cent of its population.

The study, while acknowledging lack of scientific evidence that a possible third wave may affect kids, suggested vaccinating children with serious underlying health conditions.

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