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Coronavirus pandemic | Johns Hopkins University distances self from report claiming 40 crore Indians may get coronavirus by July

The varsity, in a tweet on March 28, said, "The report has been updated to clarify its authors' affiliations and does not reflect the views of CDDEP, Johns Hopkins, or Princeton."

March 30, 2020 / 04:00 PM IST

Johns Hopkins University on March 28 clarified that it did not authorise the use of its logo in the report titled 'COVID19 for India Updates'. While the university noted that the report was co-authored by its faculty along with researchers from Princeton University and the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP), it added that the same does not reflect their views.

The varsity, in a tweet on March 28, said, "The report has been updated to clarify its authors' affiliations and does not reflect the views of CDDEP, Johns Hopkins, or Princeton."

The original report, which was published on March 24 and is available on the CDDEP website, made an observation pertaining to the possible number of COVID-19 cases in India in the months to come. It said that come July, as many as 40 crore (400 million) Indians are likely to be infected (assuming there is no intervention). It also pointed out that community transmission of the coronavirus in India most likely started in early March, a claim which is not in line with the government's position on the subject.

As a result of the 'alarming claims' it made about the possible spike in the number of coronavirus cases in India in the months to come, the report was circulated widely.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

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Responding to a Twitter user's query in this matter, Princeton University, on the other hand, said, "This work was indeed done at Princeton. An earlier version of the report included an unofficial logo and therefore needed to be corrected."

The report uses the IndiaSIM Model to arrive at the key conclusions pertaining to the spread of coronavirus in India. The key parameters used include the force of infection, age- and gender-specific infection rates, severe infection, and case-fatality rates.

Joint Secretary (Health) Lav Agarwal on March 26 said that there was no proof of community transmission of coronavirus in India as yet, reiterating the government's stance that the country has not yet entered 'Stage-3' of the COVID-19 transmission. However, contrary to this, the CDDEP report noted that community transmission (Stage-3) of COVID-19 in India had most likely started in early March.


The graph depicts the numbers in three possible scenarios depending on the risk factor: high, medium and low.

  • High: trajectory with current lockdowns but insufficient
    physical distancing or compliance.

  • Medium – most likely scenario with moderate to full compliance
    but no change in virulence or temperature/humidity sensitivity.

  • Low – optimistic scenario with decreased virulence and
    temperature/humidity sensitivity.

Even as the number of cases in India had breached the 800-mark as on March 28, with the country under a 21-day lockdown, the report says, "A national lockdown is not productive and could cause serious economic damage, increase hunger and reduce the population resilience for handling the infection peak. Some states may see transmission increase only after another 2 weeks and lockdowns should be optimized for when they could maximize the effect on the epidemic but minimize economic damage."

(An earlier version of the story said that 'India may have 400 million cases of coronavirus by July' as per a CDDEP-Johns Hopkins University report. The story was updated after Johns Hopkins University said that it didn't authorise CDDEP to use its logo on the report.)
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first published: Mar 27, 2020 03:55 pm
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