Right now, India might be the 3rd worst COVID-19 affected country, but if studies suggest that this might just be the peak of our iceberg.
A recent study based on testing and case data of 84 countries, comprising 60% of the world population by MIT researchers has predicted that India might record 2.87 lakh coronavirus cases per day by February 2021, making it the worst affected country in the world.
India Today quoted the study claiming that India would be the worst affected country, followed by the US with 95,000 cases per day, South Africa with 21,000 cases per day and Iran with 17,000 cases per day by the end of February next year.
The study has also projected that the total number of cases worldwide would be between 20 crore and 60 crores by spring 2021 in the absence of a vaccine.
The study takes into account three scenarios to arrive at this conclusion- 1) current testing rates and their response, 2) if testing increases by 0.1 per cent per day from July 1, 2020, and 3) if testing remains at current levels but contact rate set to 8.
In the first scenario, the cases could rise to 1.55 billion in 84 countries. But if these countries increase testing by 0.1 per cent per day i.e, the second scenario, then cases could rise to 1.37 billion.
Both these scenarios project a very large burden of new cases in the fall (September-November) 2020, with hundreds of millions of cases concentrated in a few countries estimated to have insufficient responses given perceived risks (primarily India, but also Bangladesh, Pakistan, and USA). In contrast, changes in response policies would make a major difference.