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IIT Kanpur Professor predicts COVID-19 to peak in May, dismisses claims of Kumbh and poll rallies being responsible for spread

If Kumbh and election rallies are responsible for the surge of the pathogen in India, then why Maharashtra and Delhi have been witnessing this kind of a surge, questioned the IIT Kanpur professor.

The second wave of Coronavirus is wreaking havoc in India. The State and central government are trying to do whatever it takes to control the resurgence. Amidst the gloomy Covid situation, IIT Kanpur Professor and Padmashree awardee Maninder Agarwal’s predictions will definately come as a breather for the people of the country.

Speaking to Hindi Daily Dainik Bhaskar, Prof Agarwal has predicted that the second wave of the infection could peak in the first week of the month of May, following which the infections may see a steep decline by the end of May.

Prof. Agrawal in the IIT’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the recipient of the first Infosys Prize for Mathematics and the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in Mathematical Sciences in 2003. He was involved with the national ‘super model’ initiative.

The IIT professor and his team have studied the average COVID-19 cases being reported in different states of the country in the last 7 days. By applying his mathematical model, SUTRA, to predict the trajectory of the current surge in infections, the professor said: “We will cross the peak (during April 15-20) and then there will be very a sharp drop over the next 15-20 days.”

According to his research, the coronavirus cases in Maharashtra has already peaked while in states like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi, Rajasthan and West Bengal, the cases might peak anytime between 20th to 30th April. He predicted that in Uttar Pradesh the number of active cases in a day might go up to 35,000. Delhi at one point may touch 30,000, West Bengal- 11,000, Rajasthan- 10,000 and Bihar might hit the 9,000 mark, predicted the professor.

“There is some uncertainty in predicting the peak value of daily new infections because of the sharp rise. Currently, it is coming to one lakh infections per day, but this can go up or down. But the timing remains the same between April 15-20,” he added.

In the interview, Manindra Agrawal spoke about the impact of the election rallies and the Kumbh event on the surging number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Leftist media and opposition parties have been rallying behind the claims that the Kumbh Mela in Uttrakhand is the primary reason for the resurgence of the Covid cases in India. Prof. Manindra Agrawal from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has dispelled this rumour by confirming that the Kumbh or the poll rallies for that matter, might have had a little impact on the second wave of the infection in India.

Agarwal said that both these events might have added to the daily caseload but was definitely not the reason behind the second wave of infection.

The professor questioned those who were holding these events responsible for the surge of the pathogen in India, that if election rallies and Kumbh is the reason behind the rising cases, then why are Maharashtra and Delhi witnessing this kind of a surge.

The IIT Kanpur professor said that since the election rallies and the Kumbh are held in open spaces, there are few chances of it spreading the virus.

Asked about the possible explanation of the second wave, Agrawal said there were two reasons or possibly the combination of the two, that might explain what changed in February which could make it for the sharp rise. He said that it could be due to gatherings linked to the opening up of schools, colleges and other working areas where people became comparatively more careless, and the fact that there are some mutations that are spreading faster.

Leftist media houses and opposition blame Kumbh Mela for the second wave of covid in India

It becomes imperative to note here that many media houses and political opponents have blamed the 2021 Uttarakhand Kumbh event for the second wave of coronavirus in India. Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar had slammed the organisation of Kumbh Mela, stating that those returning from the Kumbh Mela will distribute the coronavirus as ‘prasad’. Leftist media houses like India Today and The Logical Indian had also resorted to peddling a similar lie.

Kumbh wrapped up by April 17

On Thursday (April 15), the Panchayati Niranjani Akhada had announced that the Kumbh Mela would concluded by April 17. The decision came at the backdrop of rising cases of Coronavirus in Haridwar.

It must be mentioned that the itinerary of Kumbh Mela includes 4 ‘shahi snan’ and 9 ‘Ganga snan.’ The fourth ‘shahi snan’ will be conducted on April 27. Reportedly, a total of 2,167 people were diagnosed with Coronavirus in the past 5 days.  This is despite the fact that a Covid-19 negative RT-PCR report, not more than 72 hours prior to arrival, was made mandatory for attending the festival. The turnout of devotees was also less compared to the preceding years.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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