At least 50 per cent of India’s 1.3 billion people are likely to have been infected with the ongoing coronavirus by next February. This will help in slowing the spread of the virus, a member of a central government committee tasked with providing projections said on Monday.
So far, India has reported 7.55 million COVID-19 cases and is second only to the United States in terms of total infections.
However, according to a Reuters tally, the coronavirus infections are decreasing after a peak in mid-September with 61,390 new cases reported on average each day.
"Our mathematical model estimates that around 30% of the population is currently infected and it could go up to 50% by February," Manindra Agrawal, a professor at the Indian Institute for Technology in Kanpur and a committee member, told Reuters.
As per the committee's estimate, the current spread of the virus is much higher than the central government's serological surveys, which showed that only around 14 per cent of the population had been infected, as of September.
"We have evolved a new model which explicitly takes into account unreported cases, so we can divide infected people into two categories – reported cases and infections that do not get reported," Mr Agrawal said.
Experts have warned that infections could rise in the country as the holiday season nears, with celebrations for the festivals of Durga Puja and Diwali due this month and in mid-November, respectively.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine