Pandemic has peaked in India, normal life can resume with safety measures, say experts

If this trend continues with all safety precautions in place, the pandemic can be controlled with minimal active symptomatic infections by the end of February 2021, when the mortality rate is projected to be 0.04%

BCCL - Non Copyright
Mumbai: India’s Covid-19 epidemic peaked in September and all activities can resume in the country provided safety measures like wearing masks, avoiding crowded places and physical distancing are followed, an expert committee set up by the department of science and technology said.

The committee said with active cases touching 1 million in September and deaths 100,000, the epidemic had peaked in the country. If this trend continues with all safety precautions in place, the pandemic can be controlled with minimal active symptomatic infections by the end of February 2021, when the mortality rate is projected to be 0.04%

“There is a comfort in the modelling. It shows that measures adopted in the past six months have brought us to a level where the pandemic is under control,” Manindra Agrawal of IIT Kanpur, one of the committee members, told ET. “But this comfort is under the assumption that precautionary measures can be continued. We can step out now, but let us follow the measures.”


19 oct


However, before February of next year there could be a second wave of infections if caution is thrown to the wind during the festival season, they said.

State and district-level lockdowns will not be very effective at this point, the panel, which relied on mathematical and statistical modelling to forecast the spread of the infectious disease, said on Sunday.
ADVERTISEMENT

The committee, which developed a national Covid-19 supermodel, has experts from the National Institute of Virology, Indian Institute of Science, Indian Statistical Institute, Christian Medical College and the Indian Institutes of Technology, Hyderabad and Kanpur.

The model predicts that during the festival season, active cases can peak at 2.6 million in October if safety precautions are not followed.

The other members of the committee are M Vidyasagar (IIT Hyderabad), Madhuri Kanitkar (HQ, integrated defence staff under the chief of defence staff), Biman Bagchi (IISc), Arup Bose (ISI, Kolkata), Gagandeep Kang (CMC Vellore), M Murhekar (NIE, Chennai), Priya Abraham (NIV, Pune), S Vaidya-Gupta (officer of principal secretary of India) and Sankar K Pal (ISI, Kolkata)

On the basis of scenarios analysed, the committee recommended that all safety protocols should continue in full measure, congested and closed spaces should be avoided by people, special care should be taken of children and those above 65 years, and people with comorbidities should be extra cautious.
ADVERTISEMENT

The mathematical models showed that if India had not gone in for a lockdown in March, the country would have been “hit hard” by the pandemic, with the peak load of cases at 14 million-plus in June, overwhelming the healthcare system, and up to 2.6 million additional deaths.

India had over 7.5 million cases as of Sunday morning, with more than 114,000 deaths.
ADVERTISEMENT

The study showed that migration did not led to a spike in case number in states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. On serological prevalence, the model estimates that 30% of India’s population has antibodies to the virus.

Asked about the independence of the committee, Agrawal told ET that the Indian government only set up the committee and the work was done by the scientists.

“We simply relied on data and there is no ideological angle to it,” he said.




Download
The Economic Times Business News App
for the Latest News in Business, Sensex, Stock Market Updates & More.
Download
The Economic Times News App
for Quarterly Results, Latest News in ITR, Business, Share Market, Live Sensex News & More.
READ MORE
ADVERTISEMENT

READ MORE:

LOGIN & CLAIM

50 TIMESPOINTS

More from our Partners

Loading next story
Text Size:AAA
Success
This article has been saved

*

+