India cases to reach 643,649 by May 26 if coronavirus measures relaxed by half: Study

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Coronavirus cases in India are expected to jump from 30,806 to 643,649 by May 25 if current intervention measures are relaxed by 50 percent, according to a research study by Imperial College London looking at short-term projections.

The research by the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London looked at data to make short-term forecasts for countries – especially developing ones – in two-week trajectories based on reported deaths as an indicator of disease spread.

The research looked at three scenarios to make its predictions, looking at a scenario where the epidemic continues to grow at the current rate, or a second scenario where countries further scaled up interventions leading to a 50 percent reduction in transmission, or a third scenario where countries relaxed current interventions by 50 percent.

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Daily number of infections estimated by fitting to the current total of deaths. (Imperial College London)
Daily number of infections estimated by fitting to the current total of deaths. (Imperial College London)

If interventions are scaled up, the daily number of infections will change from 30,806 at the current date (May 12) to 14,532 by May 26. If current interventions were relaxed by 50 percent, the daily number of infections are estimated to change from 30,806 at the current date to 643,649 by May 26.

“We estimate that over the next 2 weeks demand for hospital beds will change from 3,885 (95% CI: 3,691-4,080) patients requiring treatment with high-pressure oxygen at the current date to 6,685 (95% CI: 6,343-7,027) hospital beds being required on 2020-05-26 if no further interventions are introduced,” the researchers added on the May 12 report looking at short-term projections for the period dating May 12-26.

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The research authors said they used the rate of deaths rather than reported cases as an indicator in their research methodology given the likelihood of varying degrees of countries under-reporting their own data.

“These data are then used to back-calculate an ‘inferred number of COVID-19 infections’ that we estimate have occurred within each country up to the current day, adjusted for the demographics and representative patterns of social mixing within each country,” the Imperial College London researchers wrote.

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A separate research from the University of Geneva predicted the total death count due to the coronavirus pandemic in India to reach 3,245 deaths by May 21 under current conditions. Based on the Swiss analysis, the growth rate of detected cases is slowing by 5.2 percent while the rate of the number of deaths is slowing at 4.6 percent.

In India, the coronavirus outbreak in the financial capital of Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashtra state is starting to overwhelm hospitals and slums, complicating any economic recovery plan set out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

About a third of India's 71,865 confirmed virus cases, and nearly 40 percent of its 2,415 deaths, have been reported in Maharashtra, the coastal state in the center of the country that is home to Bollywood, a huge agriculture industry and India's largest stock market. The Sensex has sunk about 25 percent from its year-to-date high in January.

(With the Associated Press)

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