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Publication date: 
August 28, 2020

Without action, 13 states are projected to have over 10,000 deaths by December 1

SEATTLE (August 28, 2020) – New modeling of the COVID-19 pandemic in India shows that while the disease will continue to pose a major public health threat, it may be possible to prevent more than 200,000 deaths by December 1, 2020, with widespread mask use and data-driven social distancing measures in the most affected states. The modeling, produced by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, suggests that there is an opportunity to further limit the toll of COVID-19 in India and highlights the critical need for people to comply with face mask use, social distancing, and other COVID-19 prevention guidelines as advised by public health authorities.

“India’s epidemic is far from over, as a large proportion of the population is still susceptible,” said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray. “In fact, our modeling shows there is a wide range of potential outcomes, depending on the actions that governments and individuals take today, tomorrow, and into the near future. Mask-wearing and social distancing are crucial to mitigate the spread of the virus.”

India’s response to COVID-19 has produced some significant successes that highlight the opportunity to limit the pandemic’s toll in the country. In some urban areas, including Delhi, containment measures that include intensive contact tracing, widespread testing, mask-wearing, and social distancing mandates have helped reduce the spread of the virus. In addition, COVID-19 testing in India has scaled up rapidly.

In the best-case scenario in this modeling, India can expect approximately 291,145 total COVID-19 deaths by December 1, up from 60,000 in late August. This scenario assumes that face mask usage increases to near-universal (95%) levels and that six-week, state-level lockdowns are re-imposed if the daily death rate exceeds 8 per million in the state. This threshold is based on when governments worldwide have typically imposed lockdowns to stop COVID-19 transmission.

In contrast, if lockdown restrictions continue to ease up and face mask usage remains at current levels, India can expect approximately 492,380 total deaths by December 1. In this scenario, 13 states would have more than 10,000 total COVID-19 deaths by that time (see table below). Currently, only Maharashtra has crossed this threshold.

“India is at a tipping point,” Murray said. “If hospitals in those states are unable to accommodate everyone needing COVID-19 care, the result will be more deaths and greater long-term harm to state and local economies.”

 The forecasts of total COVID-19 deaths by state by December 1 are:  

 

Worst-case scenario

Lockdown restrictions continue to ease up and mask usage remains at current levels

Most likely scenario

Mask usage remains at current levels; six-week, state-level lockdowns are re-imposed if daily death rate exceeds 8 per million population in that state

Best-case scenario

Face mask usage rapidly increases to 95% starting now; six-week, state-level lockdowns are re-imposed if daily death rate exceeds 8 per million population in that state

India

492,380

445,265

291,145

Andhra Pradesh

32,586

30,179

19,685

Arunachal Pradesh

177

177

52

Assam

10,691

10,691

3,770

Bihar

6,083

6,083

2,290

Chhattisgarh

17,577

14,678

8,147

Delhi

5,717

5,717

5,145

Goa

2,422

1,333

1,129

Gujarat

5,465

5,465

4,438

Haryana

6,918

6,918

3,029

Himachal Pradesh

737

737

297

Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh

4,253

4,253

2,206

Jharkhand

11,794

11,794

5,168

Karnataka

45,109

39,598

31,001

Kerala

16,608

15,599

11,602

Madhya Pradesh

10,206

10,206

4,621

Maharashtra

110,971

91,438

85,686

Manipur

1,698

1,586

615

Meghalaya

439

439

261

Nagaland

8

8

8

Odisha

18,663

18,362

7,851

Punjab

27,953

18,773

16,404

Rajasthan

4,420

4,420

2,397

Tamil Nadu

45,553

43,770

24,592

Telangana

1,905

1,905

1,367

Tripura

5,149

3,250

2,516

Uttar Pradesh

50,631

50,631

21,524

Uttarakhand

5,887

5,289

3,288

West Bengal

42,760

41,965

22,053

 

Until there is a widely available vaccine against COVID-19, much of India’s population remains susceptible to the disease. Monitoring trends state-by-state, encouraging mask use, continuing social distancing and hygiene precautions, and using state-level or district-level lockdowns if needed can help save lives and minimize the impact of the pandemic on India’s health and economy.

IHME’s projections for India are based on an epidemiological model that includes data on cases, deaths, and antibody prevalence, as well as state-specific COVID-19 testing rates, mobility, social distancing mandates, mask use, population density and age structure, and pneumonia seasonality, which shows a strong correlation with the trajectory of COVID-19. 

The new projections, including additional forecasts of daily infections, are available at https://covid19.healthdata.org/india, and will be regularly updated moving forward.

Contacts: 
Indian media: Ritika Jauhari, [email protected] 
International media: [email protected]

 

About the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent global health research organization at the University of Washington School of Medicine that provides rigorous and comparable measurement of the world’s most important health problems and evaluates the strategies used to address them. IHME is committed to transparency and makes this information widely available so that policymakers have the evidence they need to make informed decisions on allocating resources to improve population health.