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India is missing about 90 infections for every Covid case, latest govt analysis shows

Latest analysis by DST panel, that predicted end of Covid pandemic in India in February 2021, finds that about 60 per cent Indians have been infected so far.

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New Delhi: India’s nosediving Covid-19 numbers may have come as a relief but till November, the country had missed about 90 infections for every detected case.

While states like Delhi and Kerala had missed just about 25 infections for every case, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are estimated to have missed about 300 infections for every case detected. A case in medical terms refers to an infection that has been medically diagnosed.

An analysis of India’s Covid numbers till last month has thrown up these figures. It was conducted by members of a panel formed by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the same committee that developed the India-specific supermodel that predicted that the pandemic will taper off by February 2021 in India. An analysis in September had shown that India had missed about 60-65 infections for every detected case.

“We have been doing state-wise analysis and currently that shows that till about mid-November, Delhi and Kerala missed about 25 infections for every case. The number is about 300 for every case in UP and Bihar. Most states are in the 70-120 range,” Manindra Agrawal, a member of the DST’s committee and professor at the Department of Computer Science at IIT Kanpur, told ThePrint.

“The India figure is about 90 infections missed for every case. If you compare that with countries like Italy and the United Kingdom, it is about 10-15 missed infections for every case. It is important to understand that these people were never tested because they never exhibited any symptoms,” he added.

“In fact, our model shows that while the third peak in Delhi was bigger, the actual spread of the infection was almost the same. During the second peak, Delhi missed 43 infections per case while in the third, it missed just 21. That is because the Delhi government had stepped up the testing,” Agrawal said.

The model arrived at by the expert committee is unique — it uses the number of positive tests on a given day to arrive at an estimate of the actual number of infections in the population two weeks ago, since the incubation period of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the body is a maximum of 14 days.

Apart from Agrawal, the DST committee included professor M. Vidyasagar of IIT Hyderabad, Dr Gagandeep Kang of CMC Vellore, professor Biman Bagchi of Indian Institute of Sciences, Bengaluru, professors Arup Bose and Sankar Paul of Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, and Lt Gen. Madhuri Kanitkar from the Ministry of Defence.

The earlier findings were published in a pre-print article in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, authored by Agrawal, Vidyasagar and Kanitkar.


Also read: With Covid vaccines being sped up, Modi govt builds mechanism to monitor adverse reactions


‘India’s inefficiency helped’

Agrawal is emphatic that India, according to the supermodel projections, will not see another peak and sticks to the committee’s original projections of February 2021, i.e., the country will see an end of the pandemic with about 20,000 active cases. This is partly because of the large numbers of undetected infections.

“India level we do not expect another peak now. Broadly, the numbers will continue tapering off. Currently, as per the model, about 60 per cent Indians have already been infected, they have antibodies,” he said.

“That is corroborated by the fact that even after the festival season, except Delhi, not many states saw a spike. Some states may go up a bit. Uttarakhand is currently rising, so is Meghalaya,” he added.

If India does end up with a single Covid peak, it will be an outlier. Most countries around the world have seen multiple peaks. The United Kingdom is going through one currently, Germany has imposed a second lockdown and Sweden, the original proponent of herd immunity, is struggling.

Asked about the rationale for India getting away with just one peak — in September — Agrawal said: “Our inefficiency has helped us here. Germany, for example, when they announced a lockdown, everything was shut, people stopped going out. But here, after the first month or so, it has largely been a leaky lockdown and mask compliance has been poor.

“So the infection spread in the population. Countries like Germany still have a lot of uninfected population. There are also other factors such as South Asia, Africa in general have been less affected. That could be because of a younger population or there may be other factors at play. Experts are analysing that.”


Also read: How to ensure smooth Covid vaccine rollout — India’s polio programme has some lessons


 

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15 COMMENTS

  1. our 60% population has already been infected. 60% means 70 crore in india have been infected. If we go by current death rate of 1.5% then 1 crore would have died. It’s a huge number. More than population of many many countries. This number cannot be missed. So, that means in India the death rate is very very low, of the order of 1 in every 10000. Now, if that’s true then corona is not even a pandemic in India. Wow! a completely new insight.

  2. We have missed 90 times of infection and our 60% population has already been infected. Wow! Let’s do some maths. 60% means 70 crore in india have been infected. If we go by current death rate of 1.5% then 1 crore would have died. It’s a huge number. More than population of many many countries. This number cannot be missed even if we go by Indian standards. So, that means in India the death rate is very very low, of the order of 1 in every 10000. Now, if that’s true then corona is not even a pandemic in India. Wow! a completely new insight.

    • 1 in 10k dead is still a high number. And all this with lockdown and other measures, delayed the onset so that doctors and scientists gather more data about this virus and treatment.

  3. Either the reporter is writing non-sense or the comitte is stupid. India has had 1 crore infections so far. If 90 is missed for every 1 detected case, then 90 crore Indians out of 130 crore has already had it. It is about 70% . This means India already has herd immunity. Stupid logic. The report should go back to elementary to relearn some arithmetic.

    • Sir India’s population is 140+ crore not 130. The study consumer data up to November 30. Cases were 95 lac at that time. So 95 lac * 90 = 85 Crore. 85 Crore/ 140 crore is almost 60%. Arithmetic is correct. I am proud to have been a student of Prof. Agarwal

  4. It is vested and disgruntled countries like US , who do not like to give credit to India for handling the pandemic.
    How can India do better than the developed countries who have technology and money muscle power in their hands.
    Any such analysis should be done with large sample and repeated experiments.
    Very vague statement is being made. They may be experts in their field but do they know sampling theory, design of experiments and statistical analysis.

    If we go by present infection of about 1 crore indian people, 1.2 lakh deaths, Do they atleast know what 90 times affliction mean. India and the whole world could not have handled the pandemic.

    Such data or message should not be posted for cheap publicity.

    • The people who analysed this were all Indians. So why blame the west for this? The truth is that the cases were heavily under reported in India – and likely the deaths as well. It just so happens that Indians are lucky that we probably have a far stronger immunity than those in the west because of the condition in the country. Also, our population demographics is definitely slanted towards younger people with more than 65% of the population below the age of 35. The numbers are far lower than that in the US and Europe.

  5. India has hardly any standards and Indians have few ethics, yet they are conceited and expect to be counted among the advanced nations. They seriously believe in their mythology, gobar and gomutra, astrology, and nimbu-mirchi for keeping their most fighter jets safe, and think they are scientifically oriented people. They practice casteism and discrimination all round and imagine they are a democracy.

  6. According to this article 90 infections have been missed for every covid case tested positive. By that measure around 900 million people out of 1400 millions are and have been infected. Covid fatality rate around the world is observed to be around 1%. Which means atleast 9 million people should and will have died by new year 2021. I am not very inclined to believe these stats. Even if said were true, 900 million is over 60% and as a result would point to herd immunity. If that were the case the Covid curve should have peaked by now.

    • I am not sure about authenticity of articles. But I can give u a logical justification from the input provided by this article .

      Smiling Buddha: Which means atleast 9 million people should and will have died by new year 2021.

      Article : It is important to understand that these people were never tested because they never exhibited any symptoms

      Explaination : since it’s stated though 90 times infection is spread . People who carry virus won’t getting ill , means those guys are immune. Consider a anology like this there would chance we carry polio virus but since we are vaccined we have antibodies and we are immune .

      Smiling Buddha : Even if said were true, 900 million is over 60% and as a result would point to herd immunity.

      Article : Currently, as per the model, about 60 per cent Indians have already been infected, they have antibodies

      Explaination : if 60 % of people got antibodies then it qualifies criteria of herd immunity. And herd immunity doesn’t means zero case all of a sudden but spread will get very low because antibodies carrying people will act as barrier so chance of getting a suitable host for viruses get low. Eventually viruses will extinction or mutuate.

      Smiling Buddha : If that were the case the Covid curve should have peaked by now.

      Explaination : Article itself titled as India missing 90 cases for every recorded/tested case. Since 90 cases for not recorded you cannot see spike.

  7. professor mahindra agarwal claiming on twitter that print has quoted twisted information. have some standards, how low will you stoop, cheap journalism. shame on you. Mr mahindra had to come to twitter to clarify his statements. jhoote patrakar. thooo.

  8. What about other countries, except Australia and NZ?
    Do u guys get an orgasm defaming India? What a pathetic journalism Mr. Shekhar Gupta?
    Is this just to grab a headline? Oh yes! Fear & Negative news sales!

    • How is he defaming India? He has quoted what the Govt panel has said. If you feel India is being defamed, blame the Govt who formed the panel and the panel did not sweep their findings under the carpet.

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