Even as a two-week complete lockdown kicked off in Karnataka on Monday to combat the COVID crisis, experts at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) predicted that state capital Bengaluru will see a flattening of cases only after peaking on May 17.
Karnataka is currently among the worst hit in India, coming next only to Maharashtra in terms of caseload. On Sunday, it reported 47,930 fresh infections, of which Bengaluru took a giant share of 20,897 cases. The city also reported 281 deaths while its test positivity rate rose to 38.86%.
Rise and fall
The Department of Computational and Data Sciences at IISc has been quoted by media reports as saying that active COVID cases in Bengaluru will continue to spiral till next Monday, after which they may taper.
The researchers deployed a multi-dimensional partial differential equation model, taking into account various factors. These include the ongoing vaccination programme for all adults, the imposition of a strict lockdown, and certain assumptions (such as two unreported cases for every reported one).
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According to a Bangalore Mirror report, the experts expect the number of COVID cases to reduce by 28 lakh to 13.93 lakh in the second week of June. Yet, the flattening of the caseload curve may not necessarily bring down the mortality numbers, said the experts. There may be a rise in deaths from 9,664 on May 17 to 14,220 on June 11, they observed. The fall in death rates will not match the decrease in caseload since active cases are predicted to increase in infection severity.
The experts cautioned against easing the curbs, particularly on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border, since the neighbouring state may see a spike in cases around May 17.
Complete lockdown in place
The state began a 14-day total lockdown on Monday. Metro, taxi and bus services have been grounded. Educational institutions remain closed. Cinemas, shopping malls, stadiums, etc are also not open. However, various basic activities are allowed, such as grocery and vegetable sales, flights and trains, and marriages and cremations/funerals (with limited number of attendees).
“As we begin the 14-day strict restriction to break the chain of infection, I request all citizens to follow the guidelines in letter and spirit,” tweeted Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa. “Your cooperation is crucial to contain the spread of the virus. Together we can defeat the pandemic.”