Fatal cases of COVID-19 in India could be nearly 10 times the current records, as the second-most populous country inches toward winter, key Coronavirus forecast data reveals.
According to the latest projection by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, there will be an astounding 659,537 COVID-19 deaths by January 1, 2021 – a far cry from the present 69,561 deaths as of 5th September, Johns Hopkins University data shows.
The IHME forecast gives a peek into three-quarters of the pandemic scenario in the Northern Hemisphere (including India) based on multiple variables and the outcomes are staggering.
Worldwide it predicts that 770,000 lives could be saved by January 1, if proper social distancing, widespread mask-wearing, and targeted lockdown are duly imposed.
“We are facing the prospect of a deadly December, especially in Europe, Central Asia, and the United States,” said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray in a media statement.
“But the science is clear and the evidence irrefutable: mask-wearing, social distancing, and limits to social gatherings are vital to help prevent transmission of the virus.”
The three scenarios
IHME prediction, which is the ‘first-ever worldwide projections by country’ modeled three scenarios – ‘worse case,’ ‘best case’, and ‘most likely.’
The worse case reflects 4.0 million mortality if the current rate of mask-wearing continues and 2.0 million deaths in ‘best case’ where ‘mask usage is near-universal and governments impose social distancing requirements.’
It must be noted, the references of 750,000 lives saved and 30,000 daily deaths in December represent the differences between the “best case” and “most likely” scenarios.
India’s prediction to touch 659,537 deaths by this year’s end is the ‘most likely scenario’ and the worse case reflects a somber 916,688 deaths. However, there’s certainly a chance for improvement, provided safety measures are enacted aggressively.
World’s fastest COVID-19 caseload
India’s coronavirus caseload has far proven to be the world’s fastest-growing after few days in a row daily new infection reports broke the previous records at a stretch.
The country is steadily advancing to surpass Brazil’s COVID-19 caseload at 4 million, while at the same time, grappling to reopen under the Unlock 4.0 plans which includes throwing open subway trains and some public gatherings with protocols in place.
IHME’s forecast model was previously cited by the White House and state officials. In June, IHME predicted, death tolls in the US – the world’s worst affected region – will surpass 200,000 by October, which is unfortunate on track so far, CNBC noted.
Global COVID-19 death toll is projected to cross a heartbreaking 2,811,777 by the beginning of the next year.
Daily global deaths from the virus are expected to reach 30,000 a day by December this year. The forecast also predicts if herd immunity strategy is undertaken, which essentially means no intervention by governments on public behavior to check the pandemic from now until Dec, death tolls will touch 4 million by this year’s end.
Only a few countries scattered across Central America, South America, and select countries in sub-Saharan Africa have more than three social distancing mandates.
Alarmingly, only one mandate is in place in many US States and parts of Europe, the updated IHME prediction noted.
But there is hope for India
An updated model of the COVID-19 pandemic in India projects there is a chance to subsidize 200,000 deaths by December 1, ‘with widespread mask-use and data-driven social distancing measures in the most affected states.’
“India is at a tipping point,” Murray said. “If hospitals in those states are unable to accommodate everyone needing COVID-19 care, the result will be more deaths and greater long-term harm to state and local economies.”
IHME’s statement also noted, unless there is a widespread implementation of vaccines, huge swathes of India’s population are susceptible to infection.
At present India’s COVID-19 count sprinted past 4.0 million just withing 13 days after surpassed the 3.0 million thresholds. This comes at a time New Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal assured the situation is completely under control in Delhi, TOI reported.
Statewise tally of federal health ministry data shows the number of new infections is on the rise in states of Assam, Chattisgarh, Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and others. Most of these states account for most of the cases sprouting up in India.
The number of new cases started to skyrocket since August after the federal government started to test aggressively for the virus.
“The overall trend in IHME’s new projections for India is consistent with the previous forecast. We continue to project that new infections and deaths will rise significantly later in the year and that many deaths can be prevented with proven tools, including universal mask-wearing and targeted lockdowns in states where the pandemic is hitting hardest,” a statement sent to We The World says.