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Half Of Indians May Have Had Coronavirus By February, Government Panel Estimates

According to an expert panel, around 30 per cent of the population of the country is currently infected with COVID-19 and it could go up to 50 per cent by February

Half Of Indians May Have Had Coronavirus By February, Government Panel Estimates
Highlights
  • India has so far reported 7.55 million COVID-19 cases
  • COVID-19 infections are decreasing in India after a peak in mid-September
  • Infections could rise in India as the holiday season nears: Experts

Mumbai: At least half of India’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 federal government committee tasked with providing projections said on Monday. India has so far reported 7.55 million cases of the coronavirus and is second only to the United States in terms of total infections. But COVID-19 infections are decreasing in India after a peak in mid-September, with 61,390 new cases reported on average each day, according to a Reuters tally.

Also Read: COVID-19 Infection Being ‘Effectively Contained’, Positivity Rate Below 8 Per Cent For 4th Day: Government

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

The committee’s estimate for the current spread of the virus is much higher than the federal government’s serological surveys, which showed that only around 14 per cent of the population had been infected, as of September.

But Professor Agrawal said serological surveys might not be able to get sampling absolutely correct because of the sheer size of the population that they were surveying.

Also Read: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Calls For Scaling Up Of COVID-19 Testing, Sero Surveys

Instead, the committee of virologists, scientists and other experts, whose report was made public on Sunday, has relied on a mathematical model.

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, Professor Agrawal said.

The committee warned that their projections would not hold up if precautions were not followed, and cases could spike by up to 2.6 million infections in a single month if measures such as social distancing and wearing masks were ignored.

Experts have warned that infections could rise in India as the holiday season nears, with celebrations for the Hindu festivals of Durga Puja and Diwali due this month and in mid-November, respectively.

Also Read: India’s COVID-19 Fatality Rate 1.52 Per Cent, Lowest Since March 22: Health Ministry

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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