A fake report claimed Maharashtra may hit 30 million (3 crore) Coronavirus cases by April-May 2020
Amidst the coronavirus outbreak across the world, several departments are trying to ensure some clarity for the future. With the currently increasing COVID-19+ cases in India, the government along with many healthcare officials are working hard to keep the cases under control, thereby treating them to the best possibility.
A recently released report (now controversial and contested) by America's Johns Hopkins University and Center for Diseases Dynamics, Economic and Policy (CDDEP) claims numbers, that forced most people to hit the panic button.
At the time of filing this story it was carried out by most publications including Mumbai Live as it was based on a report published by a credible name. However, now John Hopkins University has now denied associating for this report and has even got out to claim that this is a Fake story.
The recent tweet by John Hopkins said, "To clarify: Faculty with appointments at @JohnsHopkinsSPH co-authored this report with @CDDEP and Princeton researchers. The report has been updated to clarify its authors affiliations and does not reflect the views of CDDEP, Johns Hopkins, or Princeton."
The International Health department further added, "New report co-authored by faculty w/ appointments at @JohnsHopkinsSPH uses strong scientific modelling based on available data & clear assumptions to help inform the #Covid19 response in India. Note: Its findings do not reflect the views of @JohnsHopkins"
To clarify: Faculty with appointments at @JohnsHopkinsSPH co-authored this report with @CDDEP and Princeton researchers. The report has been updated to clarify its authors affiliations and does not reflect the views of CDDEP, Johns Hopkins, or Princeton.https://t.co/QrFhRDq1Fs— Johns Hopkins University (@JohnsHopkins) March 28, 2020
Further, the report starts with a disclaimer that read, "Our COVID-19 modeling estimates for India were produced by a team of researchers affiliated with CDDEP, Johns Hopkins, and Princeton. This work does not reflect the views of CDDEP, Johns Hopkins University or Princeton University."
The team which worked on the report includes
- Eili Klein (Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine)
- Gary Lin (Post-doctoral fellow, Department of Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine)
- Katie Tseng (CDDEP)
- Emily Schueller (CDDEP)
- Geetanjali Kapoor (CDDEP)
- Ramanan Laxminarayan (CDDEP; Senior Associate, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Senior Research Scholar, Princeton University)
As per this report, it was mentioned that over 25 million COVID19 cases may be seen in Maharashtra alone and the number of cases in India may see an exponential increase to around 400 million by July 2020. Over the next few months, approximately 100 million may contract the virus.
While the reports state that India has already entered Stage III, the health ministry ruled out the information stating, " We are in stage 2 and we try to find out the patients through contact tracing. He even said that If there is community transmission, we have to be much careful and be more alert."
However, this reports, on the contrary mention that India entered Stage-3 early in March and the community transmission has already started in India. The team has estimated the numbers based on the 'IndiaSIM' model and the report states IndiaSIM as "a well-validated agent-based model of the Indian population. This has been published widely over many years and has been used for government decision-making including by NTAGI for vaccine introduction. The model describes the actual Indian population in full detail of demography (age, gender), location, socio-economic characteristics and access to healthcare. Our unit of analysis is an actual simulated Indian and estimates are reliable down to the district level. The model is fitted to the most recently available NFHS and census data and uses state-of-art agent-based modelling methods. We fitted the model to available data from China and Italy. Key parameters include force of infection, age- and gender-specific infection rates, severe infection and case-fatality rates. Seasonality was assumed based on the idea that most respiratory infections decline in the summer and although Covid-19's temperature and humidity is not well understood, it is reasonable to assume that some characteristics of seasonal influenza apply here."
The results of the analysis have been represented graphically under three parameters of risk factor. The scenarios are categorised as high, medium and low, where high representing the trajectory with current lockdowns but insufficient physical distancing or compliance, medium representing most likely scenario with moderate to full compliance but no change in virulence or temperature/humidity sensitivity, and low representing optimistic scenario with decreased virulence and temperature/humidity sensitivity.
Study experts have highlighted some important points in the inference and mentioned that the demand for ventilators across the country will increase by a huge number. Currently, as per estimations, India has the capability of arranging around 50,000 ventilators, but the projections show that the demand would for around 1 million ventilators, if the numbers increase exponentially, as explained in the report.
Moreover, with increasing risk, the staff working in medical facilities with patients and hospitals where treatment is being given will have to be protected with necessary equipment like the masks and gowns as they would fall sick without the availability. Keeping this in mind, the demand for these requirements will also see an increase and will have to be catered.
Other projection which talks about the future scenario states that India is in a better position due to a young population, however, certain challenges like the nutritional needs, the difficulty of social distancing and other living conditions might pose as a possibility for disease transmission.
The report includes an important section where the experts have mentioned the policies India should implement in follow to curb the situation, highlighting the fact, despite the data shown (until July 2020), that the country should be prepared for multiple peaks in the second half of the year as the number of cases and deaths may see an increase if the situation is not controlled.