Media reports claiming prior notice of second wave remained unattended lack factual backing, say SUTRA Scientists

Science    03-May-2021
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New Delhi, May 3: Scientists working on the SUTRA model for charting the trajectory of COVID-19 have pointed out some facts related to the predictions of the mathematical model, since they believe that they have been misunderstood and misquoted. 
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Recent reports in some media have suggested that scientists working on the SUTRA model had cautioned as early as in March about the second wave but attention was not paid to it. The scientists have stated these claims to be false and unfounded. The statement was released with the names of Professor Manindra Agrawal, IIT Kanpur, Professor M Vidyasagar, IIT Hyderabad and Lt Gen Madhuri Kanitkar, Deputy Chief, Integrated Defense Staff.
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According to the scientists, a meeting was called on Apr 2 by one of the very senior govt officers coordinating the national pandemic response, to seek the inputs. At the meeting, the scientists indicated that the SUTRA model predicted the second wave to peak by the third week of April and to stay most likely around 1 lakh daily cases.  However, the model predictions turned out to be wrong due to certain reasons that the team acknowledges.
The team has been working on a mathematical model to predict the spread of the virus. It is important to note that a mathematical model can only predict future with some certainty so long as virus dynamics and its transmissibility doesn't change substantially over time. Mathematical models can also provide a mechanism to predicting alternate scenarios corresponding to various policy decisions such as non-pharmaceutical interventions.
In the case of COVID 19, it is clear that the nature of the virus has been changing very rapidly. In such a context, any prediction for COVID 19 must be continually readjusted, sometimes almost daily. The scientists are still working closely with the govt and their inputs have always been received positively, reads the statement. The team has also acknowledged that the method didn't lead to an accurate prediction of the nature of the second wave earlier, but have also assured to continue for a better estimation of its future trajectory.