April 23, 2020

Projections Show That Pandemic Could Peak In India By Mid-May

A modelling exercise, the ‘Times Fact India Outbreak Report’ by Times Network in collaboration with global consulting firm Protiviti, has predicted that the pandemic could peak in India by the middle of May, after which there will be a gradual decline. The report estimated the progression of the pandemic in the country using aggregated statistical measures that are based on three forecasting models, considering different lockdown scenarios. The report suggests that India could see the number of coronavirus cases crossing 75,000 around May 22.

The percentage model is based on trends in the spread of the disease in Italy and the US and the time series model considers trends in China and South Korea. Finally, the (Susceptible Exposed Infected Recovered (SEIR) model is based on an estimation of reproduction rate* of the virus. The three models collectively showed six projections for the outbreak.The SEIR model also suggests the pandemic may continue on a nationwide scale until August-end. Two predicted scenarios, which assume that the lockdown is extended beyond May 3 and the reproductive rate of the virus is 0.8, sheds light on when the case tally could fall to zero. In the first scenario, if the lockdown is extended to May 15, the case tally will fall to zero by September 15. In the second scenario, if the lockdown is extended to May 30, cases will drop to zero by mid-June.

This study used data from the Central government, information from government bulletins and daily updates provided by the health ministry. It gives an indication of when it might be safe to lift the lockdown and provides insights on how the government and health infrastructure can respond to the crisis.

*Reproductive rate (R0): The average number of people each positive person infects. For example – R0 of 0.8 means that each infected person spreads the disease to 0.8 other people.

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