Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have predicted that India could be in a worse shape by next year if a vaccine is not found. According to their study, India could be the worst-affected country in the world with 2.87 lakh cases every day. The study also revealed that the number of cases worldwide could be significantly high if treatment is not found.
The study conducted by researchers Hazhir Rahmandad, TY Lim and John Sterman of MIT's Sloan School of Management said India could see up to 2.87 lakh coronavirus cases per day by end of winter 2021. The US with 95,400, South Africa with 20,600, Iran with 17,000, Indonesia 13,200, UK with 4,200, Nigeria with 4,000, Turkey with 4,000, France with 3,300, and Germany with 3,000 cases per day could be the worst-affected countries. The researchers used the SEIR (Susceptible, Exposed, Infectious, Recovered) model to predict the numbers. The SEIR is a standard mathematical model used by epidemiologists for analysis.
The data is based on a study of 84 countries that comprise 60 per cent of the world population. The study looks into three factors: a. Current testing rates and response b. If testing increases 0.1 per cent on a day-to-day basis from July 1 c. if testing remains at current levels but contact rate or how many people are infected by one person, is estimated to be eight.
If the current testing continues, cases could rise to 1.55 billion in these 84 countries, the research said. But if testing is increased by 0.1 per cent per day then cases could increase to 1.37 billion. The study said that both these scenarios predict a large number of new cases in the fall of 2020 i.e. September-November. "Scenario III brings down future cases sharply, to as low as 153 (CI: 147-170) millions (cumulatively) by the end of winter," it stated.
The study shows that early and aggressive testing could be beneficial in containing the spread as cases grow exponentially. The researchers also point out that future outcomes would be more dependent on the willingness of people and governments to reduce transmission than tests.
The MIT study also states that they believe that the numbers are underreported worldwide. "We estimate total infections at 8.85 crore, and 6 lakh deaths by June 18, 2020 - 11.8 and 1.48 times larger than reported numbers respectively," it said. "Cases and deaths through June 18, 2020 are estimated to be 11.8 and 1.48 times official reports, respectively, at 88.5 (85-95.3) million and 600 (586-622) thousand," it said.