COVID-19 deaths in India may double in coming weeks, forecasters warn: Report

Image: AP

Image: AP

Even as India struggles with the second wave of coronavirus with daily infections reaching a high of over four lakh, several forecasters have warned of a potential worsening of the crisis with the death toll more than doubling from the current levels in the coming weeks.

A mathematical model used by a team at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru pegs the death toll at 404,000 by June 11, while another model by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington forecasts over a million deaths by the end of July, according to a Bloomberg report.

Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.

India added 3.82 lakh fresh cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, the highest in the last three days. The fatalities continue to be over 3,000 for an eighth consecutive day at 3,780, the biggest single-day increase. Total deaths have been recorded at 2.26 lakhs.

The medical infrastructure is struggling to take in the rapidly growing number of patients as their family and friends run around looking for hospital beds, oxygen and medicines.

“Despite scaling up testing considerably, it’s still not enough to capture all the infected people,” said Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at the World Health Organisation, speaking on Bloomberg TV. “So the numbers, while very high, are likely an underestimate of the true numbers of infections,” she said. “It’s a grim situation.”

The United States currently has the highest number of deaths at 5,78,000.

The country has also opened the vaccination drive for adults between the age of 18-44 years from May 1, many states have announced that they are not in a position to do so anytime soon.

To break the chain of the virus, several states have imposed partial or complete lockdown restricting the movement of people. Bloomberg Economics had earlier lowered its growth projection for the year ending March 2022 to 10.7 percent from 12.6 percent.

“It could honestly get a lot worse, which is hard to imagine given how staggering the impacts have already been when you see 400,000 new cases each day and you know that that’s probably an underestimation,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, Maryland told the publication.