New Delhi: If all COVID-19 protocols are followed, the coronavirus pandemic can be controlled by February-end with minimal active symptomatic infections, a government-appointed committee stated.
The committee has also claimed that there is no reason to impose fresh lockdowns on district or state level unless there is an imminent danger of healthcare facilities being overwhelmed.
The panel, comprising 10 members including professors from IITs and IISc besides scientists, conducted a study on “Progression of the COVID-19 Pandemic in India: Prognosis and Lockdown Impacts”, pointed out that with no lockdown, the pandemic would have hit India very hard with a peak load of over 1.40 crore cases in June 2020.
“If all of us follow these protocols, the pandemic can be controlled by early next year with minimal active symptomatic infections by February-end. We do not yet know the weather-specific perturbations of this pandemic (in general, viruses tend to be more active in colder environment) and the effects of possible future mutations in the virus,” IIT Hyderabad professor M. Vidyasagar said.
They are of the opinion that upcoming festival and winter seasons may increase the susceptibility to the infection but all activities can be resumed provided proper safety protocols are followed.
“The existing personal safety protocols need to continue in full measure. Otherwise we will see a sharp rise in infections. Fresh lockdowns should not be imposed on a district and state wide levels, unless there is imminent danger of the healthcare facilities being overwhelmed,” Vidyasagar said.
It also noted that the imposition of an early and comprehensive lockdown pushed the peak of cases far into the future and also reduced the peak load on the system.
“With no lockdown, the pandemic would have hit India very hard, with a peak load of over 140 lakh cases arriving in June. Given our lack of preparedness back then, the healthcare system would have been overwhelmed, leading to many additional deaths. Had India waited until May to impose the lockdown, the peak load of active cases would have been around 50 lakhs by June,” the panel report said.
The Department of Science and Technology had in June constituted a committee comprising eminent scientists and academicians to evolve a national supermodel for COVID-19 progression.
The mandate of the committee was to create an evidence-based mathematical model for the pandemic after taking inputs from various groups working in the domain in the country and use it to analyse past events and future trajectories of the pandemic.