India may be hit by a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic from August and it could reach its peak in September, a report released by the State Bank of India said, the Hindustan Times reported on Monday.

The report projected that Covid-19 cases in India can dip to around 10,000 in the second week of July, but infections will increase by the second fortnight of August. The projections are based on “historical trends” of cases, the SBI said. The report stated that global data shows that on an average, third wave peak cases are around 1.7 times that of the second wave, Mint reported.

In a separate report published in June, the SBI had projected that the third wave could be as severe as the second one and could last for 98 days. The report had said that Covid-19 vaccination should be India’s key priority, especially for children who could be the next vulnerable group.

The forecast made by the latest SBI report is quite different from the government’s projections about the third wave.

On June 27, chairperson of India’s Covid-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group, NK Arora, said that a study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research has shown that if a third wave of the coronavirus hits India, it is likely to come late.

“We have a window period of six to eight months [before third wave] to immunise everybody in the country,” Arora said.

ICMR scientists found that at least 30% of the population who had been infected earlier must entirely lose their immunity for the third wave to be as devastating as the second one. In another possible scenario, they found that the third wave must occur immediately after the second wave for it to be equally severe.

The second wave of the coronavirus has severely affected the country and its healthcare infrastructure. There has been a shortage of medical supplies and equipment such as oxygen, medicines and beds, leading to a high number of fatalities.

Social media was filled with desperate pleas of doctors, hospitals and citizens, looking for oxygen and beds. The daily number of cases had even crossed the 4-lakh mark a few times in May. Deaths were reported in thousands but several reports have alleged that the fatalities were under-reported. Since the pandemic broke out in the country in January last year, India has recorded 3,05,85,229 infections and 4,02,728 deaths.