In the early days of the pandemic, when there were no reliable estimates of the spread to base healthcare policy on, a team of academics came up with a data-based model exploiting the universality of the disease across geographies. Santosh Ansumali, Associate Professor at the Engineering Mechanics Unit of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bengaluru, knew that an early prediction model, while not useful for long-term tracking, could help direct critical resources where and when they would be required most.
We wanted to be wrong but we didn’t expect to overestimate Covid-19 deaths by 5-6 times. The early lockdown made a big difference and we are studying the impact of it
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The medical inventory dashboard based on the model developed by Ansumali and Meher Prakash at JNCASR, with Aloke Kumar at the Indian Institute of Science, P Sunthar of IIT-Bombay, student volunteers and Soumyadeep Bhattacharya of SankhyaSutra Labs (where Ansumali is CTO), helped states like Karnataka, Delhi and Punjab stay on top of case loads through May and June. The team is now working on a quantitative model for Covid-19 that incorporates the impact of the lockdown and the spread due to hidden asymptomatic carriers.