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ICMR Chief Busts Myths Surrounding Second COVID-19 wave in India

Contrary to myths that second COVID-19 wave in India is severe than last wave, the ICMR Chief Dr Balram Bhargava clearly established that with respect to fatality rate, India’s second wave of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is less severe than the first wave.

ICMR also released data on post vaccine infection rate which ranged from 0.02% to 0.04%, unequivocally establishing effectiveness of the vaccine in breaking the transmission.

Fatality of Second Wave Same as First Wave

ICMR Chief Dr Bhargava said that there is no difference in fatality rate, between the first and second wave and that no evidence has come to indicate that new double strain is more virulent.

In fact, analysis of mortality rate shows that fatalities fell below 2% on 18th September 2020 and have been falling since then. In the last one-month fatality rate in India has fallen from 1.4% to current 1.18% as shown in below infographic.

Older Population Continues to be Predominantly Affected

Busting another myth that more younger people are getting affected in this wave, Dr Bhargav clarified that just marginally high proportion of COVID-19 patients are of relatively younger age.

While in the first wave, the average age of COVID-19 affected patients was 50 years, in the second wave it is 49 years.


Age Distribution Affected with COVID-19 in First Wave Affected with COVID-19 in Second Wave
0-19 years 4.2% 5.8%
20-40 years 23% 25%
40 years and above 72.8% 69.2%


As we can see from table above, 69.2% of those affected are of 40 years of age and above. This also indicates that it was entirely pragmatic and prudent of the Government of India to prioritise vaccination for those in the age group of 45 years and above.

Post Vaccination Infection Between 0.02 and 0.04%

The contraction of virus after being inoculated with single or both doses of the vaccine is referred to as post-vaccination breakthrough infection.

These figures which were released by ICMR on 21st of April show that the post-vaccination breakthrough infection rate in India for COVID-19 is not more than 0.04 percent. This means that only two to four per 10,000 vaccinated were infected with COVID-19 showing the efficacy of vaccines in breaking transmission.


  Vaccination Breakthrough Infection Rate
Vaccine After First Dose After Second Dose
COVAXIN 0.04% 0.04%
COVISHIELD 0.002% 0.03%


ICMR also added that those who were tested positive after receiving the doses were mostly frontline workers and healthcare workers – the first to be vaccinated – “who are prone to more occupational exposure”. This was especially released by ICMR to address concerns over hesitancy and illustrate the efficacy of vaccines.