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Business News/ Opinion / Quick Edit/  A dire MIT forecast for India

A dire MIT forecast for India

Could the country really end up as the world’s worst hit by covid-19 next year? It doesn’t matter how likely or unlikely this outcome is. The stakes have risen and we have no choice but to learn from our errors for the big battle ahead

Labourers working at a construction site after the authorities eased restrictions during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown, in Chennai (PTI)Premium
Labourers working at a construction site after the authorities eased restrictions during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown, in Chennai (PTI)

India could emerge as the worst covid-hit country in the world if a treatment is not developed soon, according to a study by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In a dire prediction, they have warned that we could see coronaviral infections of 287,000 per day by early next year. The MIT study comes days after India surpassed Russia to become the third-worst affected country. India’s case count is over 743,000 already, with only the US and Brazil higher on this scor.

The MIT researchers used data on cases, deaths, testing and other factors to develop a dynamic epidemiological model for estimates of the virus’s spread in 84 countries spanning 4.75 billion people. Accordingly, the top nine countries to follow India in terms of projected daily infections at the end of next winter would be the US, South Africa, Iran, Indonesia, the UK, Nigeria, Turkey, France, and Germany, in that order. Also, without a vaccine, the world could see about 250 million cases and 1.8 million deaths by spring 2021. The study’s report called for rigorous testing and contact minimization to restrain the pandemic.

Apocalyptic scenarios have been forecast before and few of them have been accurate. Defenders of such studies say that these are merely warnings and their success lies in the actions that are taken in response. While a safety-tested vaccine could well be available by early next year, we must do all we can to keep the country from rising to the top of covid catastrophe chart. Many of our containment strategies appear to have failed. But, if it’s any consolation, perhaps the real battle starts now. The stakes have risen drastically over the past three months.

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Updated: 08 Jul 2020, 08:17 PM IST
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