Home / News / India /  Covid-19 may infect 50% Indians by 2020-end if lockdown lifted: Virologist

Bengaluru: The further lifting of lockdown restrictions post 31 May is only likely to add to the surge in Covid-19 cases and will end up infecting half the country by the end of the year, a senior virologist said.

“By the year end upto 50% of people will be infected," Dr V. Ravi, the head of Neurovirology at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (Nimhans) said.

He said that the infection in the country was only delayed by the lockdown and that massiv spread would be “inevitable" in the coming days.

Ravi's statements come just ahead of the possible lifting of restrictions of the two months of nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 March.

Ravi said that around 90% of those infected are asymptomatic and are unlikely to transmit the virus, which leaves less than 10% who need hospitalisation and even fewer would require ventilator support. He further said that more should be done to protect the elderly, people with co-morbidities and other vulnerable sections of the population.

Ravi also heads the expert committee on Covid-19 in Karnataka that has also asked that the state do away with institutional quarantine, one of the main reasons why the state may have fared better than its counterparts in containing the spread of the disease.

At least 1.1 lakh people are currently lodged in institutional quarantine centres across the state as the state government has made this mandatory for people entering Karnataka.

Ravi has suggested that the state government do away with institutional quarantine as there is no room for the hundreds of thousands who will enter the state in the coming months and overcrowding will also raise the risk of spreading the virus.

“We just have to learn to live with the virus," he says, adding that more people may have died due to non-covid-19 related reasons.

He said that the H1N1 had a mortality rate of over 6% but did not necessitate a lockdown since there was no social media to create this sort of panic a few years ago.

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