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AP may reach Covid peak in August, predicts IIM-V study – Times of India


VISAKHAPATNAM: The Covid-19 infections may reach its peak after August in Andhra Pradesh even if the lockdown is extended to May 31, predicts an epidemiological modelling-based research conducted by the Indian Institute of Management-Visakhapatnam. The study indicates the transmissions will be threefold at the peak with no social distancing, against the Covid-19 numbers with minimal social distancing. But if the lockdown ends on May 17, the peak will be reached around July 21 with 5% of the total population infected with no social distancing and in August with less than 2% of population infected if minimal social distancing norms are followed. The research also indicates a possible second wave of infections in Andhra Pradesh even if the lockdown is extended till June 14 and no strict social distancing norms are adhered to. The silver lining of the study is Andhra Pradesh would be safe from Covid-19, in case strict social distancing is practiced by the public.

Speaking to ToI, Anirban Ghatak, the lead researcher and a faculty of decision sciences and information systems at IIM-V, said that they predicted the progression of the pandemic in various states based on the extended susceptible-infected-recovered/removed (eSIR) model. “We considered 9 different scenarios and effects of intervention measures with different possible dates of lockdown relaxation, followed by different levels of social distancing guidelines adopted post-lockdown,” said Ghatak.

Ghatak added that minimal social distancing practices include the norms that were in place before lockdown such as closure of educational institutions and malls. “Strict social distancing is something that is followed in Wuhan, China, the ground zero of Covid. The Hubei province opened its doors only after the effective reproductive number plummeted to nearly zero, implying significant reductions in probable transmissions. This is further followed by strict social distancing,” said the decision sciences faculty. Alongside Ghatak, Ranraj Singh, a student of IIT-Dhanbad, also worked on the study.

The study covered 15 states, which are hardly hit by the pandemic, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Telangana, West Bengal, Karnataka, etc.

“Lockdown may be lifted on or before May 31 for the majority of the states, except Punjab, if the states can make sure of practicing strict social distancing guidelines afterwards. In Punjab’s case, it is highly recommended to monitor the situation closely and extend lockdown till June 14. It is interesting to note that even though Maharashtra has the highest number of infections, it is Punjab that is expected to reach its peak last around May 28, that too only if lockdown in Punjab is extended,” said Ghatak.

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