As Covid-19 spikes, ICMR to model best, worst case scenarios

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 22, 2020

The Indian Council of Medical Research revises its strategy to fight the spread of the new coronavirus.   -  The Hindu

Will release the predictions on Tuesday

In the light of the spike in Covid-19 cases, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will release mathematical estimations of the best and the worst case scenarios on the number of new cases that could play out over the next few months.

According to academic modellings, the number of coronavirus cases in India could run into lakhs, with a few thousand deaths.

“We are looking at mathematical modelling estimates to predict the numbers and will release the scenarios on Tuesday. We have to calculate the need for diagnostic test kits now,” R Gangakhedkar, head, epidemiology and communicable diseases, ICMR, said.

Balram Bhargava, ICMR Head and Secretary to the Department of Health Research, said that 80 per cent of those with Covid-19 symptoms like dry cough will recover under home-based set-ups and their symptoms will not worsen. He added, “About 20 per cent will have exacerbated symptoms and discomfort, of which only 5 per cent will require hospitalisation,” Bhargava said.

Separate Covid-19 set-ups

All States have been asked to identify empty or under-utilised hospitals to prepare separate Covid-19 quarantine and isolation set-ups. “Delhi has identified the National Cancer Institute in Jhajjhar, run by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, as a Covid-19 hospital set up,” Bhargava said.

While Bhargava said that ICMR labs have the capacity to run 60,000-70,000 diagnostic tests a week, it has run 5,000 tests since the outbreak began. “We have till date tested 15,000 samples,” he said.

On roping in private players for testing, Bhargava said 60 labs had approached the ICMR for registration; their capacity to handle samples without it posing a bio-security hazard was being reviewed.

Published on March 22, 2020

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