14 to 29 lakh COVID19 cases averted due to lockdown, claims govt- Upto 37000 to 78000 deaths averted till May 15

Maitri PorechaNew Delhi, May 22 Updated on May 22, 2020

India may have averted COVID-19 cases in the range of 14 to 29 lakh as well as saved between 37000 to 78000 persons from dying up til May 15, if mathematical modelling presented by government think tank NITI Aayog is to be believed.

Five groups were made to estimate cases and deaths averted due to lockdown including privately-run Boston Consulting Group, non-profit Public Health Foundation of India, two experts from private sector, independent experts consisting of retired scientists from National Statistical Institute and Ministry of Statistics.

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While VK Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, shared a presentation of all the five mathematical models, the detailed methodology through which these estimates have been arrived at has not been shared or explained.

Paul also stated, “On April 5, growth percentage of new cases over total confirmed cases averaged over five days stood at 22.6 per cent which has dropped to 5.5 per cent on May 15.”

Earlier Paul had shown a graph which claimed in one of the scenarios COVID-19 cases on May 16 would nosedive to zero. India had recorded 85940 cases on May 16 which have grown to 118447 cases on May 22, of which 48534 persons have recovered while 3583 persons have died. “I had never claimed that the cases would be zero. If there has been any miscommunication, I apologise for that,” Paul said in the MoHFW press briefing on May 22.

While officials have attributed the reduction in hypothetical averted cases to the two-month long ongoing lockdown, MoHFW has not released any estimates of deaths causes due to non-COVID reasons due to multiple reasons like starvation, exhaustion or no access to emergency health care.

A Niti Aayog official involved in case estimations said, “Such models by their very nature are theoretical but the full presentation has details on tangible and intangible benefits that could have accrued due to the lockdown. Definitely non-COVID deaths should also be looked at by analysing all-cause mortality.”

Also Paul said that as of May 21, up to 70 per cent active cases were concentrated in ten cities - Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Thane, Pune, Indore, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Aurangabad while 70 per cent of deaths were concentrated in ten cities - Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Delhi, Kolkata, Indore, Thane, Jaipur, Chennai and Surat.

Published on May 22, 2020

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