Coronavirus infections in India peaked in September and if all precautions are followed then the pandemic would have run its course by early next year, a government-appointed panel said on Sunday, based on mathematical and statistical forecasting on the spread of the infectious disease. The panel also claimed that the pandemic can be controlled by end of February 2021 with minimal active symptomatic cases if all protocols are followed and if government does not relax activities further.
The 'Covid-19 India National Supermodel' committee led by Professor M Vidyasagar (IIT Hyderabad) made the finding in its study titled 'Progression of the Covid-19 pandemic in India: Prognosis and Lockdown Impacts.
“If there was no lockdown, we would have had a peak that was 15 times higher in the middle of June, which would have been overwhelming. By enforcing the lockdown in March, we not only reduced the load on our system but also pushed the peak to September from the projected May-end,” Vidyasagar was quoted as saying by Times of India.
He added that with no lockdown, the pandemic would have led to a peak load of 140+ lakh cases by June.
Although the committee predicts that the ensuing festival and winter seasons may increase the susceptibility to infection, district and higher level lockdowns were not recommended any further.
“Relaxation in protective measures can lead to a significant rise of up to 26 lakh infections within a month. Existing personal safety protocols need to continue in full measure. Otherwise we will see a sharp rise in infections,” Times of India quoted Vidyasagar as saying.
The committee also said that the number of Covid-related deaths by August 2020 would have been over 25 lakh if there had been no lockdown at all and also that there would have been over 1.4 crore crore symptomatic infections by June 2020.
Landmark findings from the study:
- If all the protocols are followed than the pandemic can be controlled by early next year with minimal active symptomatic infections by February-end.
- Upcoming festival and winter season may increase the susceptibility to infection. Relaxation in protective measures can lead to a significant rise, up to 26 lakh infections within a month.
- Pandemic has peaked, but only if sufficient protective measures continue.
- 30% population are projected to have antibodies at present, while it was 14% at the end of August.
- Cumulative mortality projected to be less than 0.04% of total infected.
- All activities can be resumed provided proper safety protocols continue to be followed.
- The committee also said that the number of Covid-related deaths by August 2020 would have been over 25 lakh if there had been no lockdown at all and also that there would have been over 1.4 crore crore symptomatic infections by June 2020.
- District-level lockdowns are not much effective now.