New Delhi: The districts of Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and all of Delhi could see a massive jump in Covid-19 cases by 15 May, according to estimates by the central government.
The Union health ministry made a comprehensive list of the number of projected cases in major city-districts, and also the estimated date by which these districts could start facing a shortage of isolation beds, ICU beds and ventilators. Most of the data collected from states is as on 28 April. However, some of the data has not been updated from the first week of April.
Sources said the Centre shared the list with all states so they can begin preparing for the worst-case scenario.
“It is not to say that this is what the numbers will definitely look like, but these are scientifically arrived at projections to ensure that one can prepare for the worst,” the chief secretary of one state told ThePrint on the condition of anonymity.
ThePrint reached the Union health ministry for a comment via mail and text message, but there was no response until the time of publishing of this report.
Kuldeep Dhatwalia, director general, Press Information Bureau, told ThePrint that only the health ministry could give a statement on the presentation.
Two secretaries of empowered committees, constituted by the Centre, said they had not seen the presentation yet, but the health ministry has been updating their projections regularly. They added that they didn’t know on what basis the ministry has been arriving at these projections.
One secretary told ThePrint that the government think-tank NITI Aayog has also made some projections on the Covid-19 trajectory in India based on a mathematical model.
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What the govt’s calculations show
According to the document, accessed by ThePrint, the government has calculated how many cases could be recorded by 15 May, and by when shortages will likely be faced. Here are some of the projections:
Mumbai: Cases could rise from 5,698 currently to 28,859. This would mean the city could potentially start facing a shortage of isolation beds and ventilators by 11 May.
Pune: Cases projected to rise to 3,949 from 1,088, and the city could face a shortage of ventilators by 11 May.
Thane: Cases are expected to jump to 4,181 from 780.
The numbers could rise to 5,537 from 2,632. However, the city is not expected to face a shortage of isolation and ICU beds or ventilators.
Ahmedabad: Cases are estimated to quadruple from 2,180 to 9,168.
Surat: Projections estimate cases could go up from 536 to 2,873, and the city could face a shortage of isolation beds from 14 May.
Cases could spike massively from 496 to 3,507, and the city could start facing a shortage of isolation beds from 9 May.
Indore: Cases could go up from 1,208 to 2,489. The district has not updated its isolation bed data with the Centre, according to the document.
Bhopal: Number of cases are projected to rise to 2,157 from 415, but the district is not expected to face a shortage of beds or ventilators.
Kanpur: The number of cases could go up from 170 to 3,463, and the city could start facing a shortage of ventilators by 4 May and ICU beds by 12 May. The Centre doesn’t have updated data of Kanpur’s isolation beds either, the document states.
Agra: The district could face a shortage of ICU beds with cases climbing from 371 to 1,200 by 14 May. The city has not updated its data on availability of ventilators.
The district is expected to see cases rise to 2,394 from 316, and start seeing a shortage of ICU beds by 8 May. The city has not updated its data on ventilator availability either.
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Doubling rate data
So far, the Centre’s analysis on the doubling rate — the number of days in which the current number of cases double, has shown that districts like Kanpur Nagar (4.4) in Uttar Pradesh, Krishna (5.1) in Andhra Pradesh, Kolkata (6.3) in West Bengal and Chennai (6.5) in Tamil Nadu have one of the lowest rates.
The higher the doubling rate, the slower is the virus’ transmission, indicating that the disease’s growth curve is flattening.
India’s doubling rate is about 10 days, according to government estimates.
Districts which have a doubling rate lower than the national average include Mumbai and suburban (7.7), Ahmedabad (8.7), Thane (7.4) and Surat (7.4).
At 16.8 days, the doubling rate in Delhi is more than the national average. In Indore, it is 17.3 days. Other districts with a much higher doubling rate are Hyderabad (42.2), Agra (24.8) and Lucknow (29).
Kasargod in Kerala has the highest doubling rate of 122.9 days, which indicates that the number of cases has been going up at a much slower rate.
(Inputs from Moushumi Das Gupta, New Delhi)
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I sincerely hope all goes well in India. If cases start to rise significantly, there will be unprecedented mayhem.
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