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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 64  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 142-146

Impact of nonpharmacological interventions on COVID-19 transmission dynamics in India

1 India Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi, India
2 Senior Statistical Officer, National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi, India
3 Joint Director, National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi, India
4 Additional Director, National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Tanzin Dikid
22, Sham Nath Marg, Delhi - 110 054
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijph.IJPH_510_20

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Background: As of May 4, 2020, India has reported 42,836 confirmed cases and 1,389 deaths from COVID-19. India's multipronged response included nonpharmacological interventions (NPIs) like intensive case-based surveillance, expanding testing capacity, social distancing, health promotion, and progressive travel restrictions leading to a complete halt of international and domestic movements (lockdown). Objectives: We studied the impact of NPI on transmission dynamics of COVID-19 epidemic in India and estimated the minimum level of herd immunity required to halt it. Methods: We plotted time distribution, estimated basic (R0) and time-dependent effective (Rt) reproduction numbers using software R, and calculated doubling time, the growth rate for confirmed cases from January 30 to May 4, 2020. Herd immunity was estimated using the latest Rtvalue. Results: Time distribution showed a propagated epidemic with subexponential growth. Average growth rate, 21% in the beginning, reduced to 6% after an extended lockdown (May 3). Based on early transmission dynamics, R0was 2.38 (95% confidence interval [CI] =1.79–3.07). Early, unmitigated Rt= 2.51 (95% CI = 2.05–3.14) (March 15) reduced to 1.28 (95% CI = 1.22–1.32) and was 1.83 (95% CI = 1.71–1.93) at the end of lockdown Phase 1 (April 14) and 2 (May 3), respectively. Similarly, average early doubling time (4.3 days) (standard deviation [SD] = 1.86) increased to 5.4 days (SD = 1.03) and 10.9 days (SD = 2.19). Estimated minimum 621 million recoveries are required to halt COVID-19 spread if Rtremains below 2. Conclusion: India's early response, especially stringent lockdown, has slowed COVID-19 epidemic. Increased testing, intensive case-based surveillance and containment efforts, modulated movement restrictions while protecting the vulnerable population, and continuous monitoring of transmission dynamics should be a way forward in the absence of effective treatment, vaccine, and undetermined postinfection immunity.

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