By when Covid-19 second wave may end in India? This is what scientists have to say
| Friday | 9th April, 2021
Scientists of IIT-Kanpur have applied a model that was used last year to predict the end of the first wave of Pandemic, to make a new prediction for the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic. They have predicted that the second wave will peak in mid-April between April 15 and April 20 before it starts waning. This means the Covid-19 surge may start receding in the next two weeks, according to the estimate made by the IIT scientists.
When will the Covid-19 pandemic end? This was the question that dominated almost the entire of 2020 for us only to learn from experts that while Covid-19 may be brought under control, the disease is here to stay for really long.
The focus then shifted to `waves` of Covid-19 pandemic. India is facing the second nationwide wave of Covid-19 pandemic. Some places have seen more waves. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal recently said the city was witnessing its fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic timed with the second nationwide wave.
The second wave of Covid-19 pandemic has taken the daily cases of coronavirus infections to an all-time high of over 1.26 lakh. Now, the question dominating the public debate is when the second Covid-19 wave may end in India.
A FAILED PREDICTION
When the coronavirus pandemic was sweeping across India last year, the government had appointed a committee of experts drawn from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), and the Indian Institute of Sciences (IIS). The committee developed a "super model" based on the peculiarity of Indian conditions.
The super model predicted that the Covid-19 pandemic would come to an end in February 2021 in India largely due to herd immunity. The model estimated that there were 60-65 asymptomatic undetected infections for every lab confirmed case of Covid-19. This estimate was vastly different from the Indian Council of Medical Research`s (ICMR) sero-survey`s assessment of 26-32 undetected Covid-19 cases for every lab confirmed case.
The committee submitted its report in October when India`s Covid-19 caseload was around 75 lakh. Taking that number as base, the super model estimated that the country`s actual Covid-19 caseload would have been around 50 crore or close to 40 per cent of India`s population. By February, the Covid-19 wave was to draw to an end.
But, by mid-February India saw a revival of Covid-19 - the second wave. The second wave has since strengthened, pushing active coronavirus cases beyond 9 lakh and the total Covid-19 caseload to near 1.3 crore.
It should be noted that the super model, named SUTRA, was correct in predicting an ebb in the Covid-19 pandemic wave in February. The country saw daily cases falling below 9,000 from the high of over 97,000 in September.
PREDICTION FOR THE SECOND WAVE
Scientists of IIT-Kanpur have applied the same model to make a new prediction for the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic. They have predicted that the second wave will peak in mid-April between April 15 and April 20 before it starts waning.
This means the Covid-19 surge may start receding in the next two weeks, according to the estimate made by the IIT scientists.
"There is a reasonable chance that the cases in India could peak sometime between 15-20 April. It is a sharp slope, but on the way down, it would likely be equally sharp, coming down very fast, and by end of May [we] may see a dramatic reduction," they said.
However, like with the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the trajectory of fresh infections would depend on a lot of other factors including measures rolled out by the government and adherence to safety protocols by the public.
A warning in the original prediction by the expert committee in their super model may still apply if the number of Covid-19 cases starts declining in the fourth week of April.
The warning was this: "However, this number will start rising again if proper practices of masking, disinfecting, tracing, and quarantine are not followed. The downward trend will continue only if we continue with above practices."
This test will decide when second wave or any future wave of Covid-19 pandemic end.
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