The Second Wave…

DECLARATION: I am not a specialist in this area, there are many variables that I would have missed. It is simply a raw analysis of data present on different websites. My ideas will be based on high-school mathematics.

Today, with my limited knowledge, I am going to interpret the pattern of COVID-19 disease spread using graphs and some basic mathematics. Finally, I will try to conclude what can be the possible future. Let us understand few terms that I am going to use in this analysis. You can simply click on them and read about them in depth.

The maxima or minima can also be called an extremum i.e. an extreme value of the function. Let us have a function y = f(x) defined on a known domain of x. Based on the interval of x, on which the function attains an extreme, the extreme can be termed as a ‘local’ or a ‘global’ extreme. Let’s understand it better in the case of maxima.

Global Maxima/Minima : A point is known as a Global Maxima/Minima of a function when there is no other point in the domain of the function for which the value of the function is more/less than the value of the global maxima/minima.

Local Maxima : A point is known as a Local Maxima of a function when there may be some other point in the domain of the function for which the value of the function is more than the value of the local maxima, but such a point doesn’t exist in the vicinity or neighbourhood of the local maxima. You can also understand it as a maximum value with respect to the points nearby it.

This basic knowledge is sufficient for us to understand the pattern behind the spread of corona virus. We will compare graphs of new infection cases and number of deaths of 5 largest economies except China. USA, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom and India.

Let us keep the graphs side by side for the above countries.

United States of America

Japan

Germany

United Kingdom

Observations:

1. In almost all the countries there are multiple local maxima and minima and multiple waves i.e. numbers increase, reaches maximum value and then decreases then again after some time it rises. The second wave is more infectious and has been more fatal in every case. Every wave takes around 2–4 months to travel from one minima to other minima.
2. Germany and Japan show increase in the number of cases even after the vaccines are available. In case of Germany, the slope of death rate is positive signifying more deaths in the future.
3. UK with two peaks depicts more stable case of controlled situation. Slope of both the curves are negative.

India

1. As of now we observe only one wave and there are fewer local maxima. Curve till 19th Jan resembles initial day curves of other countries. After that there is steep increase in number of active cases, crossing maxima of first wave in the initial days itself. This condition signifies the occurrence of second wave.
2. Considering the pace and scale of vaccination programme, we can assume that the second wave will follow the same pattern as in the other countries. We are going to face surge in the number of new cases and death toll in the coming days.
3. Since the maxima of the present wave is yet to occur, next 2–3 months is going to be critical. We are nearly 1.36bn, this number is going to cost us a lot.
4. Lack of individual responsibility, shortage of basic infrastructure, public congregations and political rallies are going to worsen the situation.
5. We, the people of India, need to be ready for another economic hit. Randomness in the environment will continue till 2nd of May (till the election results are out) but we can’t afford to remain ignorant till then.

What to do….

1. Government has never released true stats for obvious reasons. But we can’t keep our eyes closed and ignore the flooded cremation grounds which are now operating for 24 hrs.
2. Awareness is the first step. Even if there is no lock down, we must follow COVID-19 protocols and guidelines. Avoid stepping out of the house as much as possible. 1% completely vaccinated people and 8% partially vaccinated people are not going to protect the rest of the population.
3. Mask, sanitizer, hand wash, social distancing are must. Avoid igniting and inflating news. Spend time with your family and stay positive, not COVID positive though.
4. Build a community support system, help daily wage earner. Stay inside, stay safe.

Electrical Engineer l Economics enthusiast.

More from Vipin Rai

Electrical Engineer l Economics enthusiast.