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India Covid deaths weekly projection – 11 Oct update

IT’S CLEAR NOW THAT INDIA PEAKED IN SEPTEMBER.
FROM 1.07 LAKH REPORTED DEATHS AS OF NOW, WE WOULD REACH AROUND 1.4 TO 1.6 LAKH BY YEAR END.
IT’S QUITE POSSIBLE THAT EVENTUALLY INDIA FLATS OUT AT MAX 2 LAKH TOTAL REPORTED DEATHS.


I have been looking at the India Covid figures since few months now. I update my projections every Sunday. This is how things look as of today.

The actual Covid death toll could be as high as twice the ‘reported’ figures, for various reasons documented here but what’s clear is that the avg daily death has been going down for three weeks now. This suggests India peaked by 4th week of September.

Graph plotted by Amrit Vatsa on 11 Oct 2020, based on publicly available data

The total reported Covid death toll for India right now is 1.07 lakh that basically translates to roughly 78 deaths per million.

In comparison, Brazil has over 700 per million dead, US & UK over 600 and Canada over 250.

One could try forecasting the future Covid deaths in India by simply using the existing rate of week-on-week growth / decline in deaths.

Chart created by Amrit Vatsa on 11 Oct 2020 from publicly available data

For three consecutive weeks, total weekly deaths in India has continued to decline.

For future, -8% (baseline), -12% (better case) and -4% (worse case) assumption for decline rate sounds good?

Below is how the forecast looks like, for those three scenarios.

Chart created by Amrit Vatsa on 04 Oct 2020 from publicly available data

The total death toll will reach somewhere around 1.4 to 1.6 lakh by 2020 end and it’s quite likely that Covid in India will be more or less over once around 2 lakh are dead. That will take many more months in 2021 given that growth is on decline.

Fingers crossed.

Let’s now try a slightly more nuanced (albeit indirect) approach to project future deaths that requires looking first at cases. Cases are important because even when you don’t die, just being infected seems to have its own issues.

From ‘brain fog’ to heart damage, COVID-19’s lingering problems alarm scientists

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Like deaths, for cases too, if we look at the rate of week-on-week growth / decline, we can get some idea of how it’s probably going to unfold in the next few weeks.

5.05 lakh total positive cases were detected this week – that’s 11% lower than the total cases detected the week before (~5.7 lakh).

Let’s call this w-o-w rate of growth / decline in cases – ‘X’. X was -4% last week and -8% the week before (see the above chart). X=-11% this week. For my projection, I think I will assume a range of zero to -10% for X in the coming weeks.

Now in general, people who die of Covid in a given week, are either tested positive the same week, or the week before (just a basic assumption). Do we have some idea of what %age of such cases die? We do actually.

6,574 Covid deaths were recorded this week, which is basically 1.2% of half of total cases from this week + half of total cases from last week.

Let’s call this %age Y; Y= 1.2%.

For the future, let’s assume a range of 1.1% to 1.3%?

So we can forecast now – I am going with the following 3 scenarios:

  • X=-5%, Y=1.2% (baseline)
  • X=-10%, Y=1.1% (optimistic: cases decline faster + lesser %ge of deaths)
  • X=0%, Y=1.3% (worse: cases don’t decline + higher death %age )

With the above assumptions, below chart shows the future cumulative death count.

This gives a similar estimate.

India’s reported Covid deaths would be around 1.4 to 1.6 lakh by year end.

It was interesting to see the New York Times report on the spread of Covid in rural India in pretty grim ways. This is their article from Friday (behind paywall). Number-wise things are actually getting better!

Before I end, below is a new Covid insight that you all should be aware of!

That’s it for this post. I’ll get back with updated projections next Sunday (19 Oct). Stay safe.

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