The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has said that IIT Kanpur has clarified that they have not forecasted the fourth wave of COVID-19 in India. Nevertheless an independent study done by a team of researchers from their Department of Mathematics and Statistics have prepared a mathematical model and submitted the same to a preprint server for the experts to comment. While the same is not peer reviewed, modelling studies are based on a certain set of inputs either based on real world scenarios, or approximations of those inputs that are not available and may vary in accuracy according to the technique used.
Often these studies involve taking a relatively small actual sample and extrapolate the result to the entire population.
While this may achieve near accurate results for a small homogenous country or region, such techniques have failed repeatedly to give reliable results for a large diverse population, the ministry said. Ruling out the possibility of the 4th wave as inaccurate may not be appropriate either.
The ministry at the same time said that given the emergence of variants of COVID-19 virus with variable transmissibility and other public health implications, it is closely following COVID-19 trajectory globally and in the country along with various expert committees.
In addition, network of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) of laboratories is undertaking whole genome sequencing of samples for timely detection of mutant variants of virus, it said.
The ministry says that it regularly holds review with all relevant stakeholders including subject experts and states to review preparedness and response measures to address COVID-19 pandemic following the five-fold strategy of test-tack-treat-vaccinate and adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour. The J&K government must keep track of the situation closely and continue to keep a close watch.
Economy is far from fully recovering. There is still a need to stay alert even as the fresh cases have declined significantly. Vaccination remains the key along with strict observance and enforcement of Standard Operating Procedures.
A significant portion of the population in J&K is still without vaccination. And they remain most vulnerable. There is a need to ensure that more and more people take the vaccine. All efforts shall be made by authorities through active involvement of PRIs, community leaders, market associations and federations to urge people to take the jabs and maintain guard against the pathogen.