India isn’t ready for another Covid Wave: Mihir Swarup Sharma

(Mihir Swarup Sharma is a senior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi and head of its Economy and Growth Programme. This column first appeared in Bloomberg on August 10, 2021)

Memories of India’s devastating second wave of Covid-19 are slowly receding. The pandemic has once again fallen out of the headlines; malls and mountain resorts are crowded with shoppers and tourists. Business activity is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, as it had been just before the second wave hit in March. In fact, just like then, many Indians seem to believe the worst of the pandemic is over. But we can’t be sure about that at all. Epidemiological models that predicted the second wave suggest that another, shallower wave might hit India as soon as this month. And the country isn’t nearly as ready as it thinks. Part of what is driving overconfidence is the particularly devastating nature of India’s second wave: The broad spread of infection exposed a huge swath of Indians to the virus, who should thus now have some degree of immunity. Yet the simple fact is that we still don’t know enough about the second wave to make easy predictions about the third…

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