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Epidemiological Aspects of COVID-19 Disease in India during Nationwide Lockdown Phase- An Empirical Data-Based Analysis and its Implications on Interrupting the Transmission

Author(s): Vanamail Perumal

Background: Covid-19 disease is pandemic in more than 85% of the countries in the world, with about 10 million cases and 0.5 million deaths as on July 2, 2020. In India reporting of the first case was on January 30, 2020, and to prevent rapid community spread of the disease nationwide lockdown phase was imposed from March 25- June 1, 2020. Our objective was to assess various epidemiological measures during the lockdown phase.

Methods: We used daily reporting of confirmed cases by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India during the period March 19-June 1, 2020. Using statistical packages STATA and R-packages, we fitted three statistical distributions (Gamma, Weibull and Log-normal) to the daily recorded new cases. We estimated daily incidence rate and death rate per million population, generation time and Basic Reproduction numbers.

Results: During the lockdown phase, the daily per cent increase in the cumulative number of cases showed negative exponential growth with 0.022 as an instantaneous rate of decrease. The average incidence rate with a 95% confidence interval (CI) was 1.84 (1.43-2.25). Day specific incidence rate per million (revealed the exponential pattern with 0.069 as the instantaneous rate of increase per day, which accounted for the doubling time of the disease (10 days; 95% CI: 9.25-10.93). Case fatality rate (2.92%; 95% CI: 2.82% -3.02%) and overall death rate was 1.14 (95% CI: 0.87-1.41) per million. were abysmally low. Statistical distribution fitting of new cases found to be satisfactory with Gamma distribution. Basic reproduction numbers 1.83 (95% CI: 1.82-1.83) was less.

Conclusion: In India, with a population density of about 450 per Km2, the virulent of COVID-19 transmission was interrupted significantly with 70 days lockdown during the early transmission stage. We observed a considerable decline in all the epidemiological indices compared to the corresponding indices recorded during the same period in the severely affected countries.

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