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Covid could be under control by Feb: Panel

October 19, 2020 06:11 AM

courtesy  HT OCT 19

Covid could be under control by Feb: Panel
Active cases could fall below 40,000 if the practices of masking, disinfecting, tracing, quarantine followed

Rhythma Kaul

New Delhi : A government-appointed committee has said that cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in India peaked in mid-September and the active cases can largely be contained by February according to mathematical modelling if preventive guidelines are followed, even as Niti Aayog member VK Paul said on Sunday that the possibility of a second wave of infections in the winter can’t be ruled out.

The remarks came on a day Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said community transmission of the disease was restricted to certain districts in some states, saying that “this is not happening across the country”.

For a month now, daily infections in India have been decreasing consistently – the first time this has happened since the outbreak started in early March. For the week ending on Saturday, India reported 63,025 new infections every day on average — a drop of about 33% from the peak recorded in the middle of September, and the lowest this number has touched since the middle of June.

“Our predictions show initially the number of cases was negligible around March, and then we entered this kind of an exponential growth rate and then it began to moderate, and it had peaked somewhere in the middle of September, and now it is beginning to wind down,” said M Vidyasagar, professor, IIT Hyderabad. He is the head of the 10-member government-appointed panel that conducted a study titled ‘Progression of the COVID-19 Pandemic in India: Prognosis and Lockdown Impacts’. “Bottom line being that the pandemic has peaked; however, this is not a reason for us to relax because this nice downward trend will be maintained only if we continue with the protective measures,” Vidyasagar added.

Professor Manindra Agrawal from IIT Kanpur said: “Looks like the daily active cases that are around 800,000 currently will drop below 40,000 by February-end if we continue to take safety measures.”

The committee developed an evidence-based mathematical model for Covid-19 progression. The ‘Covid-19 India National Supermodel’ was commissioned by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to experts from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, IIT Hyderabad, Indian Institute of Science, Indian Statistical Institute, Christian Medical College, National Institute of Epidemiology, ministry of defence, etc.

Niti Aayog member Paul told PTI on Sunday that the number of new Covid-19 cases and deaths have declined in the last three weeks as the spread of the pandemic has stabilised in most states. Paul said that with the onset of winter, countries across Europe are seeing a resurgence of Covid-19 cases.

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