The unforgiving COVID-19 surge that India is witnessing presently could peak in the coming days, suggests a mathematical model prepared by advisers to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, NDTV reported. However, the group has a history of wrong and precarious projections.
The body’s most recent forecast puts them in tandem with some other scientists, who had also suggested a mid-May COVID peak in India.
India officially recorded 4,12,262 new cases and 3,980 deaths on Thursday. As per experts, the reported figures are a gross underestimate of the real toll, which is much more in view of India’s crematoriums and hospitals being overburdened. This makes the assessment of any peak particularly complicated, NDTV reported.
However, these estimates remain crucial since PM Modi has avoided a national lockdown, instead passing the responsibility of announcing COVID restrictions to state governments.
A Litany of Wrong Predictions
A professor at the Indian Institute of Technology in Hyderabad, Mathukumalli Vidyasagar, wrote in an mail on Thursday, "Our predictions are that the peak will come within a few days.”
The e-mail referred to a model prepared with Manindra Agrawal, a professor from IIT Kanpur. "As per current projections, we should hit 20,000 cases per day by the end of June. We will revise this as needed," Vidyasagar added.
Last month, Vidyasagar's team made an erroneous projection, which stated that the the wave would peak mid-April.
On Twitter, he clarified his prediction writing that “the pandemic was changing rapidly, even wildly, until about a week ago”. More recently, he told news agency Reuters that the peak would be arrive between 3 to 5 May, and went on to say that it would come on 7 May, while speaking to India Today.
Scientists have largely agreed that India will have a tough coming few weeks. According to team at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, a mathematical model predicts that is present trends resume, about 4,04,000 deaths will occur by 11 June.
Emergence of the ‘Double Mutant’ Strain
New COVID cases have increased by more than 3,00,000 cases for over two weeks, taking India's total tally past 21 million.
Some experts blame the sudden surge of India's second wave on the emergency of a new variant.
A pediatrician with Kailash Hospital in Noida, Anuradha Mittal contracted COVID last month, despite being inoculated with both vaccine shots earlier this year. She added that about 50 other doctors in her network had a similar experience, NDTV reported.
She said, "Probably the viral load is very, very high in the hospitals we work in and the mutants have a role to play.”
Scientists worry that new virus mutations can become the next blindspot that can stretch the pandemic for the entire world, as strains from countries like India reach other nations.
(With inputs from NDTV)