Brace up! Karnataka to hit Covid peak by September-end: Experts

‘India may see spike with 26L total, 4.5L ongoing cases by next month’
People line up at a BBMP fever clinic to give their samples | MEGHANA SASTRY
People line up at a BBMP fever clinic to give their samples | MEGHANA SASTRY

BENGALURU: On Thursday, Karnataka reported 9,386 Covid-19 positive cases, which was yet another single-day highest, taking the total to 3,09,792. But worryingly, the state has not yet hit the peak. Going by the current indicators, the virus infections are likely to peak by September-end or early October and start plateauing only by the year-end, experts said.

According to a team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), in the “best-case scenario”, the country could see a spike with an estimate of 26 lakh total cases and 4.5 lakh ongoing cases by September 30. Prof Sashikumaar Ganesan, Chairman, Department of Computational and Data Sciences (CDS) and Head, Computational Mathematics Group (CMG), IIsc, who is one of the researchers of this model, said, “We have done a six-dimensional, data-based computational model for epidemics that has been adapted for Covid- 19 in the country.

Going by the trend and with the data till August 6, we will see the peak by September-end or beginning of October nationally.” Experts said that peaking means the arrival rate of new cases per week (or per day) has attained the maximum and it declines after that. A senior epidemiologist said, “It is difficult for anyone to predict exactly. However, an attempt can be made to estimate it by examining certain trends in the observed data and then extrapolating the trend.

Only when the daily Covid toll comes down consistently can one say for sure that it has peaked,” he said. According to Prof Ganesan, in the IISc model, state-wise results are computed with the parameters of the national trend to compare the performance of respective states with the national trend. Dr T Jacob John, professor emeritus and former head of virology at Christian Medical College, Vellore, told TNIE, “We could look at peaking in three scenarios — highly urbanised, medium urbanised and rural areas.

We have noticed that in Karnataka and several other states, it has peaked in highly urbanised and medium urbanised areas. We are yet to see the rise in rural areas. If there is no intervention, the state should see a spike by September.” Experts are, however, divided. While a few say that the plateau is expected towards the end of December, some claim that it could be by October-end. “More than a peak, Karnataka will have a plateau that will only reduce towards mid- October,” said Dr Giridhara R Babu, senior epidemiologist and member of the state advisory committee.

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