IIT Kharagpur has developed a model to help predict the future spread of COVID-19 which can facilitate decision making in health-care, industry and even academics. The study also indicates that the disease may continue to prevail in the country till September-end, a statement issued by the institute said.
Prof Abhijit Das from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering has developed the logistic model which can be used to fit the available daily counts of infection cases. The trend reveals that the country is yet to achieve a steady pattern in the spread of the disease, Das said.
"It is unlikely to get rid of COVID-19 before the end of September 2020.This does not leave us in a region of comfort, but the reality has to be accepted, and appropriate plans must be chalked out to address all the issues associated with the outbreak of the pandemic," Das said.
The data used for the predictions pertain to the entire country, and for the eight most affected states of Maharashtra, Tami Nadu, Delhi, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh.
Talking about the model development, he said, "We have used only the daily infection counts available in the public domain without accessing sensitive information pertaining to medical records or contact-tracing data for a large fraction of the population.
"Despite that, the prediction curves show remarkably good fitting with the past data, and can be used for future planning," he said.
However, the predictions change quite rapidly with time, Das said.
There are several potential factors for this such as separate mobility patterns of people in different phases of lockdown, large-scale migration of labourers, change in diagnostic facilities, evolution of coronavirus, and so on, he explained.
These are well beyond the control of the logistic model or any other currently known prediction model, he said.
Director, IIT Kharagpur, Prof Virendra Kumar Tewari said that though the model is experimental, it can be helpful in planning academic semester and policy matters related to the institute under the current circumstances.
"People have been living in an uncertain black box without the knowledge about which way life is going to turn and how to plan their activities. A study like this based on a clear statistical model will enable them to understand and plan their way forward," the director said.