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Covid in India

The second wave of COVID is creating havoc across the country. Though we could factor in innumerable reasons why we had let our guards down and taken by surprise with the second wave, one of the most important reasons is apathy and casual attitude of we the citizens. The more sooner we get this wave plateau, we can start taking the control.

There are many models and forecasts out there when we would reach our peak. All of this is similar to astrology because there are lot of variables like enforcing lockdown, availability of oxygen/beds, rate of vaccination. Now I'm going to act like a soothsayer and explain my model. And going to explain whether my model works or not our system is overwhelmed and we need to give it an immediate relief.

 I'm calculating R factor based on my understanding

 R=(no. of cases in day d)/(no. of cases in day d-5) 

This R tracks growth every 5th day assuming a person showing symptoms on a day d could have got the viral load passed on d-5. To achieve a plateau this replication has to be close to 1.0. If R is diverging away from 1.0 then we are definitely going to overwhelm the system as cases will grow uncontrolled like we see the spike in our second phase Based on this not so scientific premise, I have charted India's R rate(calculated as above) for the last 100 days ending on April 30 2021

Especially on Apr03 the R rate was 1.93 close to 2 meaning for each infected person on d-5 we had two infected persons on d(03/04/2021).  Based on 100 day trajectory, regression says we will never reach R rate of 1.0. But there are curbs brought locally when the Government acknowledged second wave. So recent part of the graph shows improvement

Last 30 days R rate shows a tapering effect. According to trendline of last 30 days we will reach a plateau on May23. The case count in India around May 23 will be roughly 5.26 lakhs(by extrapolation).

If we see last 20 days R rate improvement 

trendline will plateau on May5. The case count in India around May 5 will be little over 4Lakhs. 

Last 10 days trendline says we have plateau'd(not trustworthy so not adding here)

Good News

R rate is trending lower as we take tail parts of the graph which means some of our curbs are helping

Bad News

We will plateau at a case load which is around 4 to 5 Lakhs per day atleast, which no country in the world has faced. We will keep our health infra at its toes with this case load

I have further drilled down few states of India 


Karnataka had peak growth of R rate on Apr17 and Apr23. 
Based on last 30 day trendline, Karnataka will not plateau even by July and case load will cross many lakhs per day.
Last 20days gives a better picture, Karnataka will plateau by end of May with 72000 cases per day
Last 10 days trend says we will plateau by 16th May with 47000 cases

The worrying part is spike on 30th April with R rate of 1.62.

Even if Karnataka plateaus somewhere around 47000-72000 cases per day,  health infra will be in its toes as like Maharashtra today


Based on last 30 days trendline, TN will plateau around 31st May with 35000 cases per day. Last 20 day trendline says TN may plateau around 10th May with 19000 cases per day(TN crossed 20K while this blog was being written). With last 10 days trendline TN might plateau around 14th May with 21.5K cases

Last 10 day trendline shows increase in R rate than last 20 days which is not a good sign. Probably spread is picking speed and with all election counting happening today, its a cause of worry


Maharashtra had its worst R rate on 10th March with 2.3. Maharashtra looks plateau'd already around 65K especially from 11th April. Though 65K is not a good number of daily case loads to be handled, its more important not to let it spike more from here


Delhi had dreadful spikes on Apr 9(2.4), Apr11(1.95), Apr14(2.18), Apr17(1.8). 
Based on last 30 days trend Delhi has plateau'd around 24K cases. But last 10 day trend is upwards since Apr28. Holding it down is important. A city handling 24000 cases will anyways keep its medical infra under stress


Key thing is states and India have to plateau first. Plateau always reminds me of a hill climbing problem. The plateau can be a global maxima or can lead up to next maxima. It's important for us to make this plateau the maxima and not let it grow.

How can this be possible?
What does plateau signify, one covid person should not transfer the disease to more than one person. This is possible only when
  • we stay at home whenever possible
  • If not possible, follow covid protocol, mask sanitization
  • Apathy is the first thing to avoid, I saw status saying "Election results gave relief from covid fear mongering news". Though panic is not needed, we need to be cautious of the disease. Walking out without mask, meeting up with friends(even though it can be avoided), travelling, partying, festivals have to be avoided whenever possible. Saying I would follow the protocol only when the disease is in my doorstep and won't worry about news telecast is not just foolish for individual but for the society as whole and it adds stress to the overburdened medical infrastructure and personnel
  • Delivery guys might feel wearing the mask in the summer is the most inhumane work condition. But unfortunately thats what protects all of the family. Delivery guys are equivalent to front line workers. I hope the contractors/vendors will educate delivery guys and incentivise their operation
  • Vaccination is the key. If you find available slots grab it
  • Stop maid/servants if you have the luxury like paid time offs
All of this is already known, what is new here?
To plateau we need to break the chain. If a person got COVID and only immediate family gets in contact with him/her because of this no contact lifestyle, we have less touch points to be isolated and tested. If exposure is huge, tracking becomes difficult and R rate can climb

Once a plateau is reached, it gives no freedom. Because as discussed plateauing at 4lakh cases is a dangerous scenario to hang on there for longer. We need to bend the curve down. Government has to put curbs to bend the curve faster. Advantage of bending the curve is, we can track contacts of each case and isolate them if the case is handful. If the case is in tens of thousands, tracking is nearly impossible and spread would continue. Today tracking is nowhere in picture and surviving is the only thing we are doing. We need to bend the curve, get the luxury of tracking, give the much needed rest to our medical personnels, health care workers and volunteers. Following covid appropriate behavior is the first step

Treating apathy with a sense of roaming naked in public will only help us bending the curve. Expecting the media to make wearing masks and sanitization common in their day to day programs. Why not whole serial or whole of reality show is conducted with mask on. Thats how we can bring in awareness. It's our collective effort where Government also has to play a part. Government's failure alone can't be blamed when we are not on right footing


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