India may have missed about 90 infections for every detected COVID-19 case until November, according to an analysis by a committee formed by the Department of Science and Technology.
The research, carried out by the panel that developed an India-specific model of the pandemic’s trajectory, says that states like Delhi and Kerala had missed about 25 infections for every case. Other states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are estimated to have missed about 300 infections for every confirmed case. A similar analysis in September had shown that India may have missed 60-65 infections for every detected case.
Most states were missing infections in the 70-120 range, told Manindra Agrawal, a member of the committee and a professor at IIT Kanpur, to The Print.
In comparison, countries like Italy and the United Kingdom had missed about 10-15 infections for every case, Agrawal said. “It is important to understand that these people were never tested because they never exhibited any symptoms.”
The model revealed that while the third peak in Delhi was bigger, the actual spread of the infection was almost the same. During the second peak, Delhi missed 43 infections per case while in the third, it missed just 21 as the Delhi government had stepped up the testing, added Agrawal.
The model arrived at by the expert committee uses the number of positive tests on a given day to arrive at an estimate of the actual number of infections in the population two weeks ago, since the incubation period of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the body is a maximum of 14 days.
As per the model, about 60 per cent of Indians have already been infected, and now broadly the numbers will continue tapering off. The latest supermodel projection by the DST panel suggest that there may not be another peak, and predicts the end of COVID-19 pandemic in India by February 2021 with about 20,000 active cases.
The earlier findings were published in a pre-print article in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, authored by Agrawal, Vidyasagar and Kanitkar.