The experts’ panel formed by the Department of Science and Technology said in its study in September 2020 that the number of Covid-19 cases would have peaked in June if the nationwide lockdown was not imposed in India in March.

The expert panel, consisting of Manindra Agarwal, Madhuri Kanitkar, and M. Vidyasagar, published the study titled “Modelling the spread of SARS-CoV-2 pandemic-Impact of lockdowns and interventions”, in September 2020 to study the impact of lockdowns in India to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

The report said that the country experienced coronavirus peak in September.

The committee also claimed that if there was no lockdown, the number of active Covid-19 cases would have peaked to 14.7 million and more than 2.6 million deaths would have been reported and the peak would have arrived in June 2020.

The number of cases as on 24 December is over 10 million cases and less than 0.2 million deaths.

In this study, the committee formed a new model that was developed on the lines of susceptible-asymptomatic-infected-recovered (SAIR) to assess the impact of lockdown and make predictions on its future courses.

The report also that in Delhi, serosurvey showed antibodies in 23.5% and 33% of population in June and September, respectively.

The report also claimed that the herd immunity in around 28% of population in September. Herd immunity is the resistance to the spread of an infectious disease within a population that is based on pre-existing immunity of a high proportion of individuals as a result of previous infection or vaccination. The report studied that disease progression in six different phases starting from March to September. The model used in the study was developed to analysed the spread of the disease under the three hypothetical scenario that is no lockdown, lockdown starting 1 April and lockdown starting 1 May 2020.

The report also mentioned about the exodus of migrants from cities to rural villages. The report said that because of the exodus of migrants in April and May, the virus reached rural parts of India and infected more people in the country.

The report also claimed that because of the strict lockdown, there was a sharp reduction in Covid cases in India.

Talking to The Sunday Guardian, Dr Gagandeep Kang, who is also part of the panel, said, “It is important to test, trace and isolate the infected patients. If we trace the contacts and isolate the infected patients, we will be successful in controlling the spread of the disease. We have to follow social distancing, wear masks in public places and it will help us to overcome the threat of the virus.”

Pointing out that the new Covid variant is not dangerous, she said, “It seems like the variant is spreading faster, but we need not worry because it has only one mutation out of the eight that is relevant where the antibodies will act and one mutation will not make much difference.”