Experts from IISc and Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) have projected that the emerging new variants are not likely to result in a huge surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Karnataka.
According to their estimation, the peak daily average of new cases in Karnataka, in the context of the global scenario, will touch 291 in February. While an average of 169 cases are estimated to be reported in January in the entire State, the number is expected to reduce to 57 in March.
The estimation was based on a mathematical model, made using the immunological and genomic landscape of Singapore for XBB variant that closely matched with Bengaluru and Karnataka.
In a presentation made at the 191st meeting of the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on Monday. Professor Rajesh Sundaresan from IISc and Professor Siva Athreya from ISI, using Singapore’s immunological and genomic landscape as a reference, have estimated that Bengaluru, which has been the epicentre of COVID-19 in all waves, is likely to see a daily average of 111 new cases in January, 178 new cases in February and 32 new cases in March.
Data on the specific factors related to Karnataka vis-a-vis Singapore that were taken into consideration were not immediately available.
According to the TAC’s report, experts have estimated that the daily average hospitalisation is not likely to cross 0.4% in both Bengaluru and the rest of Karnataka.
Following this, the TAC has recommended that the above model can be used for initial planning while simultaneously closely monitoring the evolving situation on a daily basis. The TAC has also reiterated that all SARI cases should compulsorily be tested for COVID-19 in the current scenario both in government and private healthcare facilities and the positive samples with cycle threshold value of less than 25 (CT<25) should be sent for whole genome sequencing (WGS).
Sources in the TAC told The Hindu that the genomic surveillance data for Karnataka for December 2022 is awaited and wastewater surveillance is also not showing an increase in December 2022.
“The numbers assume a delayed XBB rise. The XBB rise is calibrated to what was seen in Singapore in November 2022. Moreover, the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) as of December 31 indicates that XBB is still the dominant strain in December 2022 with 340 of the 1,046 sequences showing this variant,” according to the TAC’s report.
“The hospitalisation and the ICU requirements are also based on what was seen in Singapore during its XBB rise period. It may be noted that 82% of the eligible population in Singapore had the minimum protection of two doses and 60% of the eligible population in Singapore had up-to-date vaccination...” the report stated.
Does not warrant work from home
The TAC has recommended that the current situation of COVID-19 in the State and Bengaluru does not warrant a work from home option for IT employees as an advisory from the State.