IIT Kanpur researchers predict COVID cases peak in mid-April, decline expected by May end

It is expected that 80,000 to 90,000 daily infections will be recorded during peak with active tally crossing the 10 lakh mark.

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur(IIT-K) have converged their efforts to assess the current situation of COVID cases in the country with the help of a mathematical model. As per the findings of this analysis, it is expected that COVID cases would peak between April 15-20, before taking a downward trajectory. Further, it has also been inferred that the second wave would witness a significant decline by May end.

80,000-90,000 cases expected daily during the peak


According to the study conducted by the scientists, the cases would reach the 10 lakh mark, as seen in September 2020. In the past, a mathematical approach called SUTRA examined the first wave of accelerated infections and concluded that the cases would peak in September and drop in February 2021. Now, this model has been used by scientists, including Prof. Manindra Agrawal from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur who are anticipating the highest daily spikes in mid-April.

An academician from IIT's Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Professor Agarwal was a part of the national 'super model' scheme. He said that a daily count of 80,000-90,000 cases can be expected during the peak time. "We will cross the peak (during April 15-20) and then there will be very a sharp drop over the next 15-20 days," said Agrawal.

New mutations, a probable reason for uncontrolled spread


Prof. Agarwal suggests two probable reasons for the unrestrained hike in COVID numbers. While re-opening of public places like schools, colleges and offices and carefree behaviour surely make for strong causes, one can't neglect the fact that certain mutations of the coronavirus are spreading faster. In addition to this, the growth rate of cases will also be affected by guidelines and measures rolled out by the government and the level of adherence to them.

Three-variable analysis to predict the extent of the virus


Deploying measures like the rate of spread or the contact rate, the model tries to determine the number of people that stand with dangers of infection given one positive person. The professors informed that three variable of Beta, 'Reach' and 'Epsilon' take the centre stage in the study. While the first is contact rate, the other two represent the measure of citizens' exposure and the ratio of detected and undetected cases. "The contact rate had doubled in March and that may be contributing to the very steep rise," informed Prof. Agrawal.

The professor further acquainted that the peak rate is sensitive to the daily count of detections. If the daily count shows slight alterations, the peak count would be changed by thousands. "The reason we had to introduce 'Reach' is that unlike earlier pandemics which start at a location and suddenly spread fast across a place, but in Covid the spread of the pandemic has been slower due to the many protective measures in place," Agrawal explained. Similarly, the epsilon factor takes care of asymptomatic infections.

Necessary to follow strict adherence to all guidelines and protocol


As per records, the national 'super model' concluded that the grip of coronavirus will be loosened by early 2021 with "minimal active symptomatic infections" in February. Additionally, it also contained a warning which remains to be applicable. The warning read, "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."

While the current times are definitely enveloped amid tough circumstances, it is important that we follow that all precautions necessary to prevent a further surge in infections. Subsequently, all individuals who can get vaccinated should avail of its benefits as soon as possible.

-With Inputs from IANS

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