India May Have Daily 2.87 Lacs Cases From Pandemic In Winter 2021, MIT Study

India may record 2.87 lakh Covid-19 cases per day by the end of 2021 winter (Jan-Feb), topping the list of worst-hit nations in the world if there was no vaccine or cure for the deadly virus, researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have warned.

India May Have Daily 2.87 Lacs Cases From Pandemic In Winter 2021, MIT Study

By Archana Jyoti 

The study “Estimating the global spread of Covid-19”, painted a scary picture for the country like India whose crumbling health infrastructure is already overwhelmed with over 7.5 lakh coronavirus cases, making it third among the most virus-infected countries, just behind the USA and

Brazil. However, the researchers avoided using phrase like “community transmission.”

The researchers provided some hope as they noted that the projections are highly sensitive to assumed testing, behavioural, and policy responses, and as such they should be interpreted as indicators of potential risk and not precise predictions of future cases.

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As per the MIT researchers, India will be the worst-affected country at the end of winter 2021 followed by the US (95,000 cases per day), South Africa (21,000 cases per day) Iran (17,000 cases per day), and Indonesia (13,000 cases per day).

With such fast increase in the cases, the world will witness 249 million (24.9 crore) cases and 1.8 million (18 lakh) deaths by spring 2021 if there are no effective treatments or vaccination, said researchers Hazhir Rahmandad, TY Lim and

John Sterman of MIT’s Sloan School of Management in their study.

Using data for 84 countries with reliable testing data — spanning 4.75 billion people — the researchers developed a dynamic epidemiological model.

According to the study, the top 10 countries by projected daily infection rates at the end of winter 2021 are India, US, South Africa, Iran, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey, France and Germany.

For the findings, the MIT research team used a multi-country modified SEIR (Susceptible, Exposed, Infectious, Recovered) model, a standard mathematical model for infectious diseases used by epidemiologists, to simultaneously estimate the transmission of Covid-19 in 84 countries (4.75 billion people).

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The model tracked community transmission, excluding the global travel network and instead separately estimating the date of introduction of patient zero for each country.

Within each country, the core of the model tracks the population through susceptible, pre-symptomatic, infected pre-testing, infected post-testing, and recovered states.

“Our model captures transmission dynamics for the disease, as well as how, at the country level, transmission rates vary in response to risk perception and weather, testing rates condition infection and death data, and fatality rates depend on demographics and hospitalisation,” they explained.

The MIT researchers also said that infections are 12 times higher and deaths 50 per cent higher than previously reported.

“While actual cases are far greater than official reports suggest, the majority of people remain susceptible. Waiting for herd immunity is not a viable path out of the current pandemic,” Rahmandad said.

“Every community needs to keep the pandemic under control until a vaccine or treatment is widely available. A slow and half-hearted response only increases the human costs without offering much of an upside in terms of economic output,” Rahmandad noted.

The researchers also suggested that more rigorous testing and reductions in contacts in response to risk perception will significantly reduce future cases while laxer response and normalisation of risks can lead to overwhelming breakouts.

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They considered projections under three scenarios including using the current country-specific testing rates and response functions moving forward; if enhanced testing — of 0.1 per cent a day — is adopted on July 1, and 3 and last but the not the least, if sensitivity of contact rate to perceived risk is set to 8, leaving testing at current levels.

The first two scenarios project a very large burden of new cases in the fall 2020, with hundreds of millions of cases concentrated in a few countries estimated to have insufficient responses given perceived risks, primarily India, but also Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the US.

Despite these elevated numbers, the authors noted that no country is remotely close to establishing herd immunity, they said.

“While actual cases are far greater than official reports suggest, the majority of people remain susceptible. Waiting for herd immunity is not a viable path out of the current pandemic,” Rahmandad said.

Originally published at The pioner

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