No new cases after May 16, says study 

#GS3 #Pandemic

It’s highly unlikely going by the rise in numbers in Gujarat, Maharashtra and West Bengal, say experts  

  • NITI Aayog and head of a key government empowered committee on medical management, presented a study to suggest that the lockdown had slowed the rate of transmission and increased the doubling time, the period it took for cases to double, to about 10 days.  
  • Though India continues to show a rising trend in cases, this projection also showed a forecast that says new cases would cease by May 16. 
  • From May 3, India would hit its peak in adding daily new cases at a little above 1,500 and this would drop to 1,000 cases by May 12, and down to zero by May 16.  
  • In all, this would mean that no more than 35,000 cases would be added between Saturday and the first fortnight of May. 
  • For a decline in the national average, there would have to be declines that lasted over two weeks in key States such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal that were fuelling the rise in numbers. 
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research also published a research strategy detailing how it was planning to ramp up testing far beyond April.  
  • Though this paper was prepared based on an assessment of resources at hand on the March 31, it projected 2.1 million RNA test kits, the gold standard in detecting the infection, in May and 2.8 million kits in June.  
  • So far, the ICMR has tested 5.4 million samples though this includes repeat tests on the same individuals. In other words, it expects to be testing more people not less in coming months.  
  • This also doesn’t include the antibody test kits to be used for community surveillance to gauge the spread, though the use of these kits has now been put on hold because of concerns of accuracy. The ICMR’s 200-odd labs now test around 40,000 samples a day. 
  • This study, Strategic planning to augment the testing capacity for COVID-19 in India, is co-authored by scientists at the National Institute of Epidemiology, an ICMR body, and the ICMR’s headquarters in Delhi as well as WHO representatives. 
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