Home SMARTPHONE Herd immunity? India still has a long way to go, scientists say

Herd immunity? India still has a long way to go, scientists say

88

Science‘s COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center and the Heising-Simons Foundation

Last week, a panel of leading scientists appointed by the Indian government delivered a startlingly optimistic message: The world’s second largest COVID-19 epidemic has rounded a corner. India’s daily number of cases has declined by roughly half in the past month, and a new mathematical model suggests “we may have reached herd immunity,” the panel wrote in a paper published online by The Indian Journal of Medical Research. Assuming measures such as social distancing, wearing masks, and hand washing remain in place, the group said the pandemic could be “controlled by early next year.”

But other scientists say the model overestimates the number of people already infected and warn that with colder temperatures and several religious holidays approaching, India may well see a second wave. The positive national trends hide a more complex picture, suggests Giridhar Babu, an epidemiologist with the Public Health Foundation of India. He believes the virus may have burned through large, densely packed populations but will continue to spread in rural areas, at a lower rate, for many months: “We still have large numbers of people for the virus to go through.”

The encouraging projections come from the National Supermodel Committee, which modeled the past and future of India’s epidemic at the government’s request. Its work suggests 380 million Indians had already been infected by mid-September and that there might be “minimal active symptomatic infections” by late February 2021 if control measures continue. (The study also concluded that by flattening the curve, India’s lockdown in the spring saved up to 2.6 million lives.)

The model did not take regional differences in viral spread into account. But Babu notes that serological surveys—which test for antibodies in a population to gauge the fraction already infected—have found much higher infection rates in Indian cities, and in particular in slum areas. Studies in August, for example, found antibodies in 41% of residents of Mumbai’s slums, compared with 18% elsewhere in the city. “Many dense pockets that can be easily infected have [likely] already been infected,” Babu says. That could help explain the slowdown in new infections but suggests many more people remain vulnerable.

Gautam Menon of Ashoka University, a co-author on several COVID-19 modeling studies, adds that the model suffers from “a lack of epidemiological realism” because it assumes an unusually large fraction of infected people remains asymptomatic. He says 200 million to 300 million is a better estimate for the number of infected people.

Experts agree that spread in rural areas, home to more than half of the population, is a challenge to both monitor and fight. Testing isn’t easily available in many small towns and villages; serosurveys suggest official testing, now at 1 million per day, vastly undercounts actual cases. Some states rely heavily on so-called rapid antigen tests, which range widely in sensitivity. Meanwhile, the health infrastructure in many of India’s rural states is weak, making it harder to treat patients.

More granular data might help scientists better understand the pandemic’s trajectory. The national epidemic is a “figment of statistical imagination,” says T. Jacob John, former head of the department of virology at Christian Medical College; instead, “There are 100 or more small epidemics in different states and cities, rising and falling at different times,” he says.

Babu warns against complacency. “The decline [in cases] is real and valid, but no one should rejoice yet,” he says. “It only means that the first set of formidable challenges is over, and the next set is beginning.”

Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar is a journalist in Mumbai.

news image
#smartphonephotography
image
Read More

88 COMMENTS

  1. I just want to tell you that I’m new to blogging and site-building and really liked this web site. Most likely I’m planning to bookmark your blog post . You actually come with impressive posts. Thanks a lot for sharing your web-site.

  2. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is fantastic blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

  3. I simply want to say I am just newbie to blogs and really loved you’re page. Very likely I’m want to bookmark your site . You certainly come with amazing articles and reviews. Thanks a lot for sharing with us your webpage.

  4. Furthermore, i believe that mesothelioma is a exceptional form of cancer that is commonly found in individuals previously familiar with asbestos. Cancerous tissues form inside mesothelium, which is a protective lining which covers the vast majority of body’s areas. These cells normally form in the lining of your lungs, belly, or the sac that encircles the heart. Thanks for giving your ideas.

  5. Hi! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!

  6. On the internet, I have actually found lots of write-ups on this topic. None have actually been as thorough as this one. I just intended to say thank you for your understanding. I really hope that you go on to write this kind of post for myself and also others.

  7. Somebody essentially lend a hand to make significantly posts I might state. This is the very first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I surprised with the research you made to make this particular put up amazing. Wonderful job!|

  8. You actually make it appear really easy with your presentation however I find this matter to be really one thing which I think I’d never understand. It seems too complex and very extensive for me. I’m looking forward for your next submit, I will try to get the hold of it!

  9. Hello very cool blog!! Man .. Excellent .. Superb .. I’ll bookmark your web site and take the feeds additionally…I’m happy to search out so many helpful info right here in the publish, we want develop more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  10. Hey there! I’ve been following your web site for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the excellent job!|

  11. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research on this. We got a grab a book from our area library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I’m very glad to see such fantastic information being shared freely out there.

  12. Somebody essentially help to make seriously posts I would state. This is the very first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I surprised with the research you made to create this particular publish amazing. Great job!

  13. You made some good points there. I looked on the net for additional information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.|

  14. It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or suggestions. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I want to read even more things about it!|

  15. naturally like your web-site but you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth nevertheless I will certainly come back again.

  16. I just like the valuable information you provide for your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again right here frequently. I’m slightly certain I will learn a lot of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!|

  17. Superb website you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics discussed in this article? I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get responses from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thank you!|

  18. Hmm it looks like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any recommendations for first-time blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.|

  19. Simply desire to say your article is as amazing. The clarity in your submit is simply excellent and i could think you’re an expert on this subject. Well along with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to stay up to date with coming near near post. Thank you a million and please keep up the rewarding work.|

  20. I’m curious to find out what blog system you’re utilizing? I’m experiencing some small security issues with my latest blog and I’d like to find something more safeguarded. Do you have any recommendations?|

  21. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.|

  22. Thank you a lot for giving everyone a very wonderful possiblity to read critical reviews from this blog. It is always very useful plus full of fun for me personally and my office peers to visit your web site a minimum of 3 times in one week to study the latest guidance you have got. And indeed, I am just usually satisfied with the remarkable concepts served by you. Certain 1 tips on this page are truly the most impressive we have all ever had.

  23. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You definitely know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?|

  24. I was curious if you ever considered changing the structure of your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  25. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this site. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very hard to get that “perfect balance” between usability and appearance. I must say you’ve done a very good job with this. Additionally, the blog loads super quick for me on Internet explorer. Exceptional Blog!|

  26. May I just say what a relief to uncover someone that really understands what they’re talking about on the web. You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people should look at this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you’re not more popular because you most certainly have the gift.|

  27. Greetings from Florida! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the knowledge you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how quick your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, very good site!|

  28. Hey! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this site? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  29. Thank you for some other wonderful article. Where else could anybody get that type of information in such an ideal means of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m at the search for such information.|

  30. I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble. You are amazing! Thanks!|

  31. Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you, However I am having problems with your RSS. I don’t understand why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anybody else having similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!|

  32. I think this is among the most significant info for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, The web site style is wonderful, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers|

  33. With havin so much written content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement? My blog has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any ways to help prevent content from being stolen? I’d truly appreciate it.

  34. Hello I am so excited I found your blog, I really found you by mistake, while I was browsing on Google for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a incredible post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all at the moment but I have saved it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the excellent jo.|

  35. Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this site. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very hard to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and visual appearance. I must say you’ve done a very good job with this. In addition, the blog loads super fast for me on Internet explorer. Exceptional Blog!|

  36. Can I just say what a comfort to discover someone that actually understands what they’re talking about on the net. You certainly know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people really need to check this out and understand this side of your story. I can’t believe you’re not more popular because you surely possess the gift.

  37. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that too few people are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy that I came across this in my search for something concerning this.|

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here