KOLKATA: India is unlikely to get rid of Covid-19 before September, a statistical model created by by IIT Kharagpur predicts.
“Our study indicates that India is yet to achieve a steady pattern in the spread of the disease,” says Abhijit Das, a professor in the department of computer science and engineering, who authored the study. “The country is unlikely to get rid of Covid-19 before the end of September 2020. This does not leave us in a region of comfort, but we have to accept the reality and chalk out plans to address all the issues associated with the outbreak of the pandemic,” he adds.
There have been considerable changes in the spread pattern of the disease in India, Das explains, attributing it to various causes, “like different mobility patterns of Indians in different phases of lockdown, large-scale migration of labourers, change in diagnostic facilities, evolution of the virus, and so on. These causes are well beyond the control of the logistics model, or any other predictive model, for that matter. Although the implementation fails to generate stable and reliable predictions, the trend clearly reveals that the disease is going to stay in the country for many more months”.
Experts in the field of virology and infectious diseases agree on the primary inference of the IIT study, that the disease is not going away anytime soon.
“We are now in the exponential phase,” says Sumon Poddar, a microbiologist at the Institute of Child Health, Kolkata. “The worst could be in July and August, after which we could experience the declining phase from September onwards. And, in between, because of diseases like dengue and scrub typhus, we can never say whether there could be co-infections.” Infectious disease consultant Debkishore Gupta of CMRI agrees that we haven’t seen the worst yet and that the disease is not going to go away soon. “We are going through the first wave. The number of positive cases is going up, but is yet to peak. Unlocking has led to increased mobility. Also, a good chunk of the population is largely unaware of the implications of health safety. This is going to enhance the virus transmission. Some studies have even suggested that the virus spread would peak in November. Hence, Covid-19 is not going to go away soon,” he feels.
IIT Kharagpur director Virendra Kumar Tewari says: “People have been living in an uncertain black box without the knowledge about which way life is going to turn and how to plan their activities. Such a study will enable them to plan their way forward. ”