Empirics and Forecast of COVID-19 Outbreak in India
Cluster Approach to Population-wide Testing for COVID-19
Aalok Ranjan Chaurasia <email@example.com>
The reported or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India, according to the database maintained by the World Health Organization, have now crossed the 100 thousand mark despite the nation-wide lock down imposed on 24th March 2020 or a period of 21 days and subsequently extended three time. The reported cases of COVID-19 are actually those cases who have been hospitalised. Assuming that only about 10 per cent of the COVID-19 cases are hospitalised, it may be argued that the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country may have now crossed 1 million mark. It was expected that the imposition of the nation-wide lock down would result in containing the infection thereby leading to the flattening of the epidemic curve which is argued to be the first step towards controlling the epidemic. Unfortunately, this could not happen in India and despite almost 60 days of lock down, the reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country keeps on increasing. The lock down in India could not be as effective as it had been in China because, it could not restrict the movement of the people, especially migrant workers, within the country. The loosening of lock down restrictions has resulted in large scale movement of migrant workers primarily from highly endemic urban areas to native rural and remote areas. At the same time testing for COVID-19 remained extremely limited. India still has the lowest testing rate in the world. It has been predicted on the basis of mathematical modeling of the COVID-19 epidemic curve that under less stringent lock down conditions with limited testing for COVID-19, the confirmed cases of COVID-19 are bound to increase.
This paper analyses the trend in daily reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India using joinpoint regression analysis. The analysis reveals that there has been little impact of the nation-wide lockdown and subsequent extension on the progress of the COVID-19 epidemic in the country and there is no empirical evidence to suggest that relaxations under the third and the fourth phase of the lockdown has resulted in spiking the reported confirmed cases of COVID-19. The analysis also suggests that if the current trend continues, in the immediate future, then the daily reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country is likely to increase to 21 thousand by 15 June 2020 whereas the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 will increase to around 422 thousand.