BENGALURU: With Karnataka reeling under the second wave, capital Bengaluru is reaching its peak, and the districts are likely to soon start peaking. A downward trend is expected from May 20 onwards, say experts. According to mathematicians at Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and experts from the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), Bengaluru will continue to peak till around May 17. Just as each state peaks at a different time, districts will too, as per mathematical models.
The multi-dimensional partial differential equation model takes into account factors such as vaccination, lockdown and assumption of two unreported cases for every reported case. Experts have projected that the lockdown will bring down the Covid-19 caseload by 28 lakh, to 13.93 lakh in the second week of June.
According to Prof Sashikumar Ganesan, Department of Computational and Data Sciences, IISc, “We are currently at the peak in terms of daily confirmed cases in Bengaluru. Though it’s a bit early to say whether the lockdown is effective, our predictions for Bengaluru Urban — factoring in no lockdown, 100% complacency, 50% and 75 % scenarios — show the current trend is following 100% compliance. The numbers are coming under control in Bengaluru, as per predictions. However, we have to wait for 3-4 days for a proper picture.”
Senior epidemiologist Dr Giridhara R Babu, who is also a Covid-19 TAC member, warned that reduction in testing from April 20 is not a good sign, and causes confusion between the real peak and apparent peak. He said, “At present, case detection is a bit erratic as the number being tested has reduced, especially in Bengaluru. This won’t give a clear indication on cases at the peak. According to several mathematical models, we started peaking in the second week of May, as expected, and the districts will start soon. Critical care is still clogged. The number of cases may start falling by the month-end, but we have to wait and watch. Districts are of more concern,” he explained.
Interestingly, Dr Manjunath CN, Director of Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, points out that it is too early to rejoice over the health department’s bulletin. “The number of cases appears to be low, but one should look at testing done the day before. Besides, positivity rate has remained the same. We are definitely benefitting from the lockdown but have to wait and see. Testing shouldn’t be reduced at any cost,” he warns.
While the lockdown has helped reduce the number of daily cases, experts also say that a minimum of two weeks is needed to give the healthcare system a breather. Maharashtra’s way of handling the surge was better than Karnataka’s, they say, and recommend that the state extend the lockdown by at least two weeks. However, Prof Sashikumar said a detailed analysis of the situation in Bengaluru and Karnataka will be done on May 20, before a report is submitted to the government. “It is important that tough decisions are taken on whether to extend the lockdown or unlock in a graded manner. It will be extremely difficult if the state opens up all activities at once,” he said.
Dr V Ravi, retired HOD of the Department of Virology, Nimhans, said people’s behaviour needs to be monitored, and if the lockdown is effective, the downward trend will be visible from the last week of May in Bengaluru, and a few weeks later in the districts.