New Delhi: The existing, Omicron-driven wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country is likely to reach its peak in the next 14 days, by February 6, a study conducted by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has concluded. However, it is silent on the number of actual cases the country will report.

In the last 24 hours, India recorded 333,533 fresh Covid-19 infections, 259,168 recoveries and 525 related deaths. The cumulative case tally stands at 39,237,264 including 36,560,650 recoveries, 21,87,205 active cases and 489,409 deaths.

The IIT researchers' result is based on the institute's analysis of the national ‘R-value,' which, it said, declined further in the week of January 14-21.

‘R-value’ is the number of people who can contract a virus from a person who is already infected with it. According to the study conducted by IIT Madras, the said value was recorded at 1.57 in the latest round, as against 2.2 from January 7-13, while from January 1-6 it stood at 4 and was at 2.9 from December 25-31 last year.

For individual cities, the R-value stood at 0.56 for Kolkata, 0.67 for Mumbai, 0.98 in Delhi and 1.2 in Chennai, the data showed. If this number goes below 1, the pandemic is considered to have ‘ended.’

Explaining the figures, Dr Jayant Jha, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics, IIT-M, said the wave has already peaked in Kolkata and Mumbai, which means that in the two cities, the pandemic is becoming ‘endemic.’

“Therefore, as per the analysis, the peak of the current coronavirus wave is likely to come in the next 14 days, till February 6. Our previous prediction was that the peak would likely come between February 1 and 15,” Jha further said.

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