Health Minister snubs AIIMS director’s prediction on Covid peak

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.

New Delhi: In what appears to be a snub to the prediction made by AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria regarding COVID pandemic peak in the country, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said its “difficult” to make an assumption about “future scenarios of the disease”.

The Health Minister, in an exclusive interview with IANS, said that given the heterogeneous mathematical modeling based on varied assumptions and less information available about the virus, it was extremely difficult to make accurate predictions about future scenarios of the disease.

To a query by the IANS on when to expect the curve to flatten since AIIMS Director Guleria has said that the situation may worsen in the next two months, Harsh Vardhan clarified, “Right now, we have a steady curve. It has never shown any exponential rise.”

This seemingly public disagreement with Guleria is manifestation of the government’s apparent unhappiness with the AIIMS chief’s comment that sparked off fear psychosis amid the COVID-19 outbreak, in India.

The Minister added, “We are now trying to bend the curve downwards. The trajectory of the outbreak is decided by a number of factors such as pathogenicity and transmissibility of virus; availability of specific treatment or vaccine; as well as collective performance of all public health interventions undertaken to contain the outbreak such as testing and early case detection, isolation, quarantine, contact-tracing, optimum care of cases and surveillance.”

The Minister also said that COVID-19 is a new disease and the behaviour of this virus in the evolving outbreak is “unknown”. “We have isolated the virus and our scientists and epidemiologists are studying it with the help of gene sequencing. Not much data about the virus and the disease is available at the moment,” he said.

Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) Director Dr Guleria on May 7 had said, “National and international both experts are analysing the data. Most of them have guessed that India will most likely see the peak in June or July.”

194 deaths in single day, India reports 1.58 lakh cases

New Delhi: With 6,566 new cases and 194 new deaths India’s total tally of COVID-19 reached 1,58,333 on Thursday, the Health Ministry data revealed. This is the second highest number of deaths reported in 24 hours, it was on May 5 when India had reported 195 deaths in a day.

Of the total cases at least 86,110 are active cases and 4,531 people lost their lives while a total of 67,691 people have recovered taking the recovery rate to 42.75 per cent. The deaths rate hovers at 2.86 per cent which was 2.85 per cent on Wednesday. India continues to maintain the plateau of over 6,000 cases per day.

Maharashtra’s position remained the same with the highest number of total cases — 56,948 — which is 35.96 per cent of the total number of cases in the country, followed by Tamil Nadu with 18,545 cases and Delhi with 15,257 cases. The national capital surpassed Gujarat’s total cases which was the third worst hit state till now. The state of Gujarat reported 15,195 cases.

The infection is witnessing a surge in Bihar (3,061) and Uttar Pradesh (6,991) mostly due to the migrant exodus from urban areas to rural one in these states.

According to ICMR a total of 33,62,136 samples have been tested so far and 1,19,976 samples in a day.

On the world front, there over 5.7 million cases of novel coronavirus and more than 3 lakh deaths have been reported. India is few cases behind Turkey (1,59,797) which is the 9th worst hit country Globally from the pandemic. India has already surpassed Iran and China in terms of total cases and is the tenth worst hit country due to the pandemic worldwide.

Image courtesy of IANS

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