“Our model shows that the peak of new cases, taken as 7-day average, will be reached by Tuesday and the peak of active infections would be around 40 lakh at lower end of our earlier prediction range,” Manindra Agrawal of IIT-Kanpur told TOI on Monday while sticking to last week’s observation
The model, called SUTRA, had on April 25 predicted peak value of new infections between 3.4 to 4.4 lakh during May 4-8 and peak value of active infections between 38-48 lakh during May 14-18. “We have been consistent since then,” said Agrawal, flagging possibility of lower end of the observed range.
He also said third wave of the pandemic was unlikely, adding an important caveat that vaccination needs to pick up speed and that people do not abandon safe behaviour again.
“If as planned, 40% of the population would be vaccinated by October. Besides, a huge percentage of people would already be infected by then. So even if the third wave comes, it won’t be like what we have been experiencing now,” said Agrawal.
Besides Agrawal, two other scientists – Madhuri Kanitkar, deputy chief, Integrated Defence Staff, and M Vidyasagar of IIT-Hyderabad – have been working on the SUTRA model. They have been working closely with the government.
“While we could not predict the exact nature of the second wave earlier, we continue our efforts to better estimate its future trajectory,” they said in a joint statement while explaining why their initial prediction that the second wave will peak by the third week of April and log around 1 lakh daily cases went wrong.