New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Day after the government claimed that lockdown saved around 37,000 to 78,000 lives in the country, a new study in the US has found that the intensity of the spread of novel coronavirus reduced to almost a third of what it was prior to the lockdown in India.

A study published in the University of Michigan in US said that the lockdown brought down the reproductive rate of the dreadful coronavirus in India by almost three times.    

“We may not be able to do 40 million tests in the next two weeks but we can create simple record-keeping for symptoms and contact diaries. Community engagement and protecting the most vulnerable from both economic and public health point of view will be the key,” Professor Bhramar Mukherjee said, as reported by India Today.

This came a day after the government said that the first two phases of the lockdown led to 14-29 lakh COVID-19 cases being averted, adding that the unprecedented shutdown has paid "rich dividends" in the fight against the pandemic.  

The lockdown in India has been a timely, graded, proactive and pre-emptive public health measure to fight the pandemic and has been part and parcel of the government's overall strategy, Dr V K Paul, member (health), NITI Aayog, and chairman of the Empowered Group 1, told a media briefing on the COVID-19 situation.

The government imposed the nationwide lockdown from March 25 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and it is currently in its fourth phase.

Like the number of cases, the growth rate of number of COVID-19 deaths too has fallen significantly due to the lockdown, marking a notable difference between pre and post lockdown situations, Paul said.

At the briefing, Pravin Srivastava, Secretary in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, gave model-based estimates on COVID-19 cases and deaths which have been prevented due to the lockdown.

As per Boston Consulting Group's model, the lockdown saved between 1.2 lakh and 2.1 lakh lives, while the number of COVID-19 cases averted is between 36 lakh and 70 lakh, he said.

According to Public Health Foundation of India, nearly 78,000 lives have been saved due to the lockdown, Srivastava said.

Citing a model by two independent economists, he said that around 23 lakh COVID-19 cases and 68,000 deaths have been averted due to the lockdown.

Some independent experts, including retired scientists, have calculated that around 15.9 lakh cases and 51,000 deaths have been averted due to the lockdown, Srivastava said.

A joint study by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation and the Indian Statistical Institute found that around 20 lakh COVID-19 cases and 54,000 deaths were averted due to lockdown, he said.

Taking all these into account, the number of COVID-19 cases averted due to the lockdown is in the range of 14-29 lakh, while the number of lives saved is between 37,000 and 78,000, the official said.

"We are fully confident that the lockdown, with full public cooperation, has reaped rich dividends," Srivastava said.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma