India may see 2.87 lakh COVID-19 cases a day by winter 2021: MIT study

Published: Jul 08, 2020, 12:02 IST | IANS | New Delhi

The world may 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

A medic wearing PPE collects samples from a woman as others wait for COVID-19 rapid antigen testing, in New Delhi. Pic/ PTI
A medic wearing PPE collects samples from a woman as others wait for COVID-19 rapid antigen testing, in New Delhi. Pic/ PTI

In the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine or drugs, the researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have warned that India might record 2.87 lakh coronavirus cases per day by the end of winter 2021. The world may 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, according to the study conducted by the researchers Hazhir Rahmandad, TY Lim and John Sterman of MIT's Sloan School of Management. "In this paper, we build and estimate a multi-country model of the Covid-19 pandemic at a global scale," the study authors wrote.

For the findings, the MIT research team use 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). 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.

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. India will be the worst affected country due to coronavirus 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) at the end of winter 2021. 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.

As of Wednesday morning, the overall number of global COVID-19 cases has increased to more than 11.7 million, while the deaths have soared to over 543,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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