Second Covid-19 peak in Mumbai to be less severe comparatively, says TIFR

Hindustan Times, Mumbai | By
Nov 03, 2020 09:23 AM IST

The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research said in a report that by mid-January 2021, Mumbai would have almost reached the “herd immunity” stage against Covid-19.

Hospitalisations due to Covid-19 will be much higher if Mumbai opens up in the first week of November as opposed to the first week of January 2021, suggests a report of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.

Health care workers collect swab sample of a resident at Goregoan in Mumbai for a Covid-19 test.(HT PHOTO)
Health care workers collect swab sample of a resident at Goregoan in Mumbai for a Covid-19 test.(HT PHOTO)

Their report further highlights that the next peak in Covid cases in Mumbai will be substantially reduced in effect as compared to the peak in the pandemic cases the city witnessed in mid-May and June 2020.

Researchers also suggested that by mid-January 2021, the percentage of population infected in the city slums will be around 80% whereas in non-slum areas will stand at around 55%. This further indicates that the city will have almost reached the “herd immunity” stage by then.

“By this we mean that new infections and related medical indicators in the city will be substantially reduced compared to their peak values recorded previously,” said Dr Sandeep Juneja, dean, TIFR’s School of Technology and Computer Science.

“It is almost like we are living in two different cities within the same city. While the slums were first to get infected and witness widespread infections between April and June, thereafter the infections are primarily in non-slum areas,” he said.

“The curve of medical indicators for Mumbai such as hospitalisations, critical patients, reported cases and fatalities had begun to stabilize during June and July and reduced further in August. However, there was an increase in medical indicators towards the end of August, presumably due to increased intermingling due to Ganpati festival. We now predict that during Diwali, despite increased intermingling, the corresponding infections will be less in comparison.”

The predictions are based largely Indian Institute of Science (IISc)-TIFR agent based simulator method which had previously predicted the dip in the Covid-graph in June as well as an increase in cases in August-end.

The simulation method uses medical indicators as well as other details to develop long-term projections for Mumbai under realistic scenarios related to Mumbai’s opening of workplaces and the public transportation through local trains and buses.

Based on their report, the researchers have further recommended gradual reopening of offices and other workplaces in order to control infections and that schools and colleges reopen only in the first week of January.

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