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“Atleast half of Indian population likely to get covid-19 by next February”- Experts

With the coronavirus not seeming to take a downward trend in the number of people it is infecting per day, a central government committee member said that according to their predictions, at least half of the Indian population is going to be chained with the disease by February 2021.

While this could give a chance at herd immunity, there are more probabilities of worse things happening to give the current scenario and attitude of many people towards covid-19.

Although the United States still stands as the country with the highest number of cases, India comes right after it with over 7.55 million reported cases. It is worth highlighting that these stats give the number of reported cases only, and it cannot be ignored that there might be many others who have gone unreported or chose not to report it to the government agencies for the fear of getting quarantined in government hospitals.

However, Reuters in its tally said that the infections are considerably decreasing following a sharp peak in the second half of September. During this time, there were over 61,000 cases getting reported per day on an average.

At least half of the country’s 1.3 billion people are likely to have been infected with the new coronavirus by next February, helping slow the spread of the disease, a member of a central government committee tasked with providing projections said on Monday.

Reuters quoted Manindra Agarwal, a professor at the Indian Institute for Technology in Kanpur and a committee member, saying, “Our mathematical model estimates that around 30% of the population is currently infected and it could go up to 50% by February.”

The committee, which has been assigned to give the projections and statistics revolving around covid-19 disclosed the government’s misleading numbers in terms of the infections compared to the factual ones. It said that the estimate currently is “much higher” than what is being circulated and published by the central government’s serological surveys. The latter’s stats showed close to 14% of the Indian population to be infected with the disease in September while it actually stands at 30%.

However, Mr. Agarwal said that these surveys may be finding it difficult to evaluate the sampling and provide accurate data as the number of people they were examining was too small. An important prerequisite of surveying is the selection of a sample that truly and fully represents the total population that is being considered for the survey. For this, it is vital for a minimum number of people to be chosen, without any bias.

The report, made with the joint efforts of many virologists, experts and scientists, publicized on 18th October 2020, had hence, resorted to a mathematical model.

Mr. Agarwal further said, “We have evolved a new model which explicitly takes into account unreported cases, so we can divide infected people into two categories – reported cases and infections that do not get reported.”

Yet, the committee stated that the said projections could go wrong and baffle people with greater numbers than predicted if the guidelines are violated. It warned that the numbers could outnumber the current rate by many folds and record 2.6 million cases in just one month, unless the social distancing norms and other measures like wearing masks are followed.

With the festivals round the corner, experts have provided their insights and said that India could witness a spike if the celebrations of Diwali and DurgaPooja aren’t done following the precautions.