A possible maximum of three million people will be infected by October if the ongoing third phase of lockdown till May 17 is “implemented with full vigour” but the absence of the two lock downs may have seen a projected maximum that would be as high as a staggering 171 million cases, a study of the Mumbai-based International Institute for Population Sciences has said.
The study makes its projections while noting that the lockdown has succeeded in significantly reducing the burden of infections in India.
The analysis shows that if the ongoing third phase is implemented effectively and the lockdown is extended until May 24 the reproduction rate is likely to become less than one (0.975) and if further extended till May 31, the RO will be 0.945.
In this scenario, the Covid-19 pandemic may begin to recede and infected cases shall start to decline and less than 0.01% (0.14 million) of the India’s population is likely to be infected by July 2020. “These estimates clearly suggest that the two lockdowns have played a key role in reducing the number of (maximum projected) peak infections by about 140 million,” said Professor Abhishek Singh from IIPS.
The researchers arrive at this conclusion after analysing data on RO of infection prior to the lockdown and the following two phases of lockdown from March 25-April 14 and April 15 to May 3. However, if the third phase does not deliver requisite results and the RO of infections remains at what it was in the second phase of lockdown from April 15 to May 3, then the number of people estimated to be infected with Covid-19 could go up to a high 20 million by October.