India has so far reported over 11.8 million Covid-19 cases - the third-most infected nation after the United S...Read More
NEW DELHI: It has been a year since India announced one of the most stringent nationwide lockdowns in the world to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The year 2020 saw lives coming to a standstill with economies plummeting and people coming to terms with the "new normal". While the virus still has the upper hand in 2021, the panic among people has decreased in the country.
Here's a look at five predictions about Covid-19 that did not come true:
Covid cases in India
In March 2020, Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP), a public health research organisation had predicted that India was likely to see as many as between 12.5 crore to 24 crore of its people being infected with Covid-19. Experts had also claimed that at least half of India's 1.3 billion people are likely to have been infected with Covid by February 2021.
Today, India has so far reported over 11.7 million Covid-19 cases - the third-most infected nation after the United States and Brazil. Covid-19 infections started decreasing in India after a peak in mid-September, with 61,390 new cases reported on average each day.
Covid deaths in India
A study by United States-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington had predicted that India can expect approximately 492,380 deaths by December 2020.
In reality, a total of 1,60,692 deaths have been reported so far- one of the lowest mortality rates among the worst-hit countries.
'Covid-19 cannot be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates'
At the onset of the pandemic, there were high hopes that hot summer temperatures could reduce Covid spread. However, from the evidence so far, the Covid-19 can be transmitted in areas, including areas with hot and humid weather.
The health ministry had even clarified saying "even though flus are not usually common in summer, there is no evidence or study to suggest that high temperature kills coronavirus."
'Zero Covid cases' by May 2020
The government had predicted India would be "flattening" its Covid-19 curve and by May 16, there would be zero new Covid-19 case in India.
India recorded 3,970 additional Covid-19 cases on May 16, bringing the total number of active cases in the country to 53,035 in May 2020. NITI Aayog member V K Paul later apologised for misconception on the matter.
Decision of lockdown was timely, curve has begun to flattenThe nation has shown that lockdown has been effective,… https://t.co/jKWnOZGvYS— PIB India (@PIB_India) 1587728908000
"We showed you factual information and no claim was made. I apologise for the misconception and it was not what was meant to be conveyed," he said.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day complete lockdown last year, he said that if we want to restrict the spread of Covid-19, we will have to break its chain of transmission and lockdown will help in doing so.
The lockdown was heavily criticised for its lack of planning, migrant crisis, crippling economy and lack of an exit strategy, which led to the question if a nationwide lockdown can break the chain of transmission or just delays the peak.
In spite of the strict lockdown, India struggled to control the cases. States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh witnessed a surge in Covid-19 cases as lockdown had been lifted.
Confirmed cases of Covid-19 more than doubled in these states following relaxations in lockdown norms.
In 2021, Amid a spike in Covid-19 cases in some parts of the country, yet again, the experts still believe that lockdown is not the solution to the problem.
The Centre has asked the state governments and Union territory administrations to strictly enforce the test-track-treat protocol in all parts of the country.
Herd Immunity possible?
Last year, medical experts had predicted that at least 65-70 per cent of herd immunity can be reached effectively in India through a vaccine. Some also claimed that the Indian immune system is better than the west and thus Indians will survive Covid-19 infection better.
In February 2021, AIIMS director Randeep Guleria said herd immunity is "very difficult" to achieve and one should not think of it in "practical terms" in India, especially in the times of "variant strains" of Covid-19. and "warning immunity".
He also asserted that no sero surveys done so far have suggested India being "anyway near" achieving herd immunity.
A year on, the Covid-19 threat is far from over.