CNBC reports that the total number of cases of Covidium difficile (Covid-19) in India 2019 exceeded 24 million, and the country is fighting a second wave of severe infections that are overwhelming the healthcare system.
Data released by the Indian government on Friday showed 343,144 new cases and at least 4,000 deaths in 24 hours. It was the third day in a row that the official death toll reached or exceeded 4,000.
Still, the daily cases are below the record 414,188 reported on May 7, but the pressure on hospitals has not eased. The report also suggests that the virus is spreading in rural India, where experts say the health care system is unable to cope with the surge in cases.
A professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur said Friday that India’s daily cases may have peaked.
According to our models, the number of new cases per day has gone beyond the peak and we are declining,” Manindra Agrawal, a professor of computer science and engineering at IIT Kanpur, said on CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia. “
He added that the number of active cases in India is also “very close to the peak” and will probably appear in the next few days, after which the situation may improve.
Agrawal co-authored a mathematical model of the epidemic called SUTRA (Susceptible, Undetected, Detected (Positive) and Removed Approach) with two scientists to predict the spread of coronavirus.
Previously, the model predicted that India’s second wave of the epidemic would peak in the third week of April, with daily cases likely to remain around 100,000. April was India’s worst month to date, with nearly 7 million cases officially reported and more than 48,000 deaths. Experts say the actual numbers could be much higher.
SUTRA scientists then said the model’s flaws are due to the changing nature of the Covid-19 virus.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), several mutations, including B.1.617, which was first identified in India, may be partly responsible for the surge in the virus. In its assessment, the International Health Organization also said that mass gatherings and reduced compliance with public health and social measures may have contributed to the acceleration of cases.
The Hindu, an Indian news outlet, reported that some experts pointed out apparent flaws in the SUTRA model, including that its predictions are too variable to guide public policy for a second wave. Others outlined why India should be cautious about the mathematical model of Covid-19’s progress.
In an interview with CNBC, Agrawal said that according to SUTRA’s model, the second wave will be similar in intensity to the first wave and will peak at the end of April.
“That was the feedback we gave the government,” he added, “and while we got the location or timing of the peak more or less right, we didn’t get the intensity right.”
“No one could really measure the intensity of the waves, which surprised all of us,” Agrawal added. Indian officials are already eyeing a possible third wave of vaccinations as the government plans to bolster its mass vaccination program by increasing vaccine production.
K. VijayRaghavan, chief scientific adviser to the Indian government, said this month that “a third wave is inevitable given the high levels of virus being spread.”