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No respite from Covid-19 spread in India before September end: IIT Kharagpur

The prediction system is to help predict the future spread of Covid-19 and help decision making in health-care, industry, economy, and even academics.

Published: 22nd June 2020 04:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd June 2020 04:17 PM   |  A+A-

Coronavirus isolation ward

Isolation ward (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: India is yet to achieve a steady pattern in the spread of the Covid-19 and it is unlikely to get rid of coronavirus before the end of September 2020, according to an IIT Kharagpur prediction system designed to help foretell the future spread of the pandemic.

Prof. Abhijit Das from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Kharagpur, has developed a logistic model that can be used to fit the available daily counts of infection cases. The prediction system is to help predict the future spread of Covid-19 and help decision making in health-care, industry, economy, and even academics.

The data used for the predictions pertain to the entire country, and for the eight most-affected states in the country including Maharashtra, Tami Nadu, Delhi, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, and Madhya Pradesh.

“Our study indicates that India is yet to achieve a steady pattern in the spread of the disease. It is unlikely to get rid of Covid-19 before the end of September 2020. This does not leave us in a region of comfort, but the reality has to be accepted, and appropriate plans must be chalked out to address all the issues associated with the outbreak of the pandemic,” said Das.

Talking about the model development he said, “The model uses only the daily infection counts available in the public domain without accessing sensitive information pertaining to medical records or contact-tracing data for a large fraction of the population. Despite that, the prediction curves show remarkably good fitting with the past data, and can be used for future planning.”

However, the predictions for the future change quite rapidly with time. There are several potential factors for this such as different mobility patterns of Indian people in different phases of lockdown, large-scale migration of labourers, change in diagnostic facilities, evolution of the coronavirus, and so on. These are well beyond the control of the logistic model or any other currently known prediction model for that matter.

Prof. Virendra Kumar Tewari, Director IIT Kharagpur said, “People have been living in an uncertain black box without the knowledge about which way life is going to turn and how to plan their activities. A study like this based on a clear statistical model will enable them to understand and plan their way forward. The model though experimental could prove to be helpful in planning our academic semester and policy matters related to the Institute and the campus under the current circumstances.”

Although the implementation fails to generate stable and reliable predictions at the moment, the trend clearly reveals that the disease is going to stay in the country for many more months.

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