India may see up to 13 lakh cases of COVID-19 by mid-May, warn scientists

Preventing the pace of spread is in our hands. Therefore, people should strictly follow the rules specified by the Government.

New Delhi – India could face 13 lakh confirmed cases of the coronavirus by mid-May if the current trend in the growing number of COVID-19 cases continues, according to a report by an international team of scientists.

The report, compiled by COV-IND-19 Study Group, an interdisciplinary team of researchers, said while India seems to have done well in controlling the number of confirmed cases compared to other countries like the US and Italy in the early phase of the pandemic, India is critically missing a key component in this assessment – the number of truly affected cases.

This factor depends on the extent of testing, the accuracy of the test results, and the frequency and scale of testing of people who may have been exposed but do not show symptoms, said the researchers. Citing World Bank data, they said the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people in India is only 0.7, compared to 6.5 in France, 11.5 in South Korea, 4.2 in China, 3.4 in Italy, and 2.8 in the US.

Citing multiple studies, the researchers said the number of people in the country without an insurance policy stretched to about 1,100 million as of 2014, with the number of men and women with hypertension, one of the major risk factors for death from COVID-19, being more than 300 million people.

India, according to the researchers, has the most overstretched healthcare system where it is hard to provide care even when the patient volume flowing into hospitals is ‘normal’.