COVID second wave's impact on economy may not be very large: CEA K V Subramanian

"I do think given the predictions that are being made by many epidemiological researchers that the pandemic (peak) should not extend beyond May, based on that we have done some internal assessments. I think that the impact actually may not be very large (on the economy)," he said.

April 23, 2021 / 07:53 AM IST

Chief Economic Adviser K V Subramanian on Thursday said the impact of the second wave of COVID-19 on the Indian economy may not be "very large".

He also said predicting the second wave was a real problem for researchers across the globe.

"I do think given the predictions that are being made by many epidemiological researchers that the pandemic (peak) should not extend beyond May, based on that we have done some internal assessments. I think that the impact actually may not be very large (on the economy)," he said.

Speaking at a webinar organised by the Financial Times and The Indian Express, he said "all of us economists actually have to say all these things with enormous dose of humility, because not only in India but in every other country, predicting the pandemic has been extremely difficult."

As far as second wave is concerned, he said there is a lot more knowledge about how to handle it and it is unlikely that India will go into a national lockdown as there have been a lot of learnings from the past.

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

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There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

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Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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On the long-term prospects for the Indian economy, he said, growth should go back to 7 per cent-plus in a couple of years.

This year actually will be an exceptional year because of the low base, he added.

He also said public sector banks are in a much better shape compared to the past couple of years.

"There will be stress that is coming because when the real sector will get impacted because of the first wave and the second wave, but our banks are in a much better shape to handle it and the government remains actually committed behind them as well," he said.
PTI
first published: Apr 23, 2021 07:53 am

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