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IIM study predicts 1.5 lakh Covid-19 cases by May first week as ‘result of Tablighi event’

IIM-Rohtak research team uses mathematical models to conclude coronavirus cases have increased by nearly 3 times in India after Tablighi Jamaat event in March.

IIM study predicts 1.5 lakh Covid-19 cases by May first week as ‘result of Tablighi event’
Nearly 4,000, including foreigners, had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi (representational image) | Photo : Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint

New Delhi: The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Rohtak has predicted, using mathematical models, that the Tablighi Jamaat congregation held at its headquarters in Delhi from 13-15 March will increase coronavirus cases “exponentially” — with Delhi and Mumbai to emerge as the most vulnerable locations.

“We predict… that the number of Covid-19 cases will increase exponentially in India to approximately 13,000 cases by 15 April 2020 and to more than 1,50,000 cases by the first week of May 2020,” said a report prepared by a research team at IIM-Rohtak.

“This rapid increase in cases is a result of the Tablighi Jamaat event and we propose that any such event in the future will be severely detrimental for the health of the people and may pose a serious threat to the growth and well-being of the nation,” the report stated.

The research team, led by IIM professor Dheeraj Sharma, had professors Dr Amol Singh and Dr Abhay Pant and a research scholar as members.

“The government should play a proactive role to condemn any such congregation and should mandatorily lock down such places to avoid proliferation of Covid-19 cases,” the report added.

The team analysed data using a mathematical forecasting model involving two exponential functions. Such models have been used recently to predict disease spread in a given region.

“Using the data from covid19india.org website and employing a regression model, it was proffered that the coronavirus cases have multiplied approximately three times post the Tablighi Jamaat event,” said the report, which was accessed by this author.

“The detailed forecast post the Tablighi Jamaat event of Covid-19 cases across India are presented in Table 1 below… The predicted cases have been compared with the actual cases and the analysis showed approx. 93% accuracy on an average for all the data.”

The report added, “Following a model of coronavirus case estimation…, some empirical analysis was done to forecast coronavirus cases for India considering the rapid growth of cases pan India.”

It said, “The estimation of predicted coronavirus cases in the future was done taking into consideration reproduction number and serial interval in our model. This model is estimated in the scenario of uncontrolled spread without the effectiveness of any control measures.”

State-wise comparison

The report has also done a state-wise comparison of coronavirus cases.

“… a hotspot state-wise comparison of Covid-19 cases has also been done and presented from Table 3 to Table 8… The analysis indicates that there is a multiplier effect of Tablighi Jamaat event on number of cases for the hotspot states and the multiplier range is between 2 and 4 times that of pre-Tablighi Jamaat event. It can be clearly seen from the data in hotspot states that the Tablighi Jamaat event has increased the number of cases drastically,” said the report.

The “significance” of the event can be seen from Table 3 below that the cases have increased nearly four times in Delhi since the event. It is expected that the cases will increase further, said the report.

In the remaining states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, cases have increased nearly two to three times after the Tablighi Jamaat event.

It is evident from the analysis that Delhi and Mumbai are the most vulnerable locations out of all the hotspot locations. The probability of being affected through Covid-19 viral infection is highest in these locations.

The report further stated: “The prediction accuracy is nearly 93% when we compared actual cases with the predicted cases on an average.”

An analysis (Table 8) has also been done for Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, which is the worst-affected state at present.

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