Over 4,00,000 cases are being registered every day In India amid the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, and thousands of people succumb to the deadly virus in less than a month. The numbers have left everyone from the public to government officials in concern. There have been discussions earlier about whether India will face the second wave or not. Still, now as we are here tackling the deadly pandemic, several scientists and experts blame the Sutra model for creating a perception that India is most likely not to face the second wave.
Now, why is a model being blamed? What is the Sutra model for corona? In this article, we will see all the content required for Sutra model upsc preparation by going through an overview of the same,, pros, cons, and flaws to why wasn’t it effective in predicting the Covid-19 scenario in India and some of the general and essential questions from the UPSC perspective.
What is a Sutra Model?
Sutra stands for Susceptible, Undetected, Tested (positive), and Removed Approach. It is a government-backed model or prototype. The government of India formed a national Covid-19 supermodel to predict the nature, the spread of the virus, the second wave of the disease in the country to help make short and long-term plans to fight against the deadly disease.
Most of the scientists from IIT Kanpur and Hyderabad have applied this Sutra concept to predict the trajectory of Covid-19 in India. This model came into the public eye when one of its members declared in October last year that India is past its peak of the pandemic and announced that it is most unlikely for us to be hit by a second wave. Now, they are being slammed as both of their significant prophecies proved to be utterly wrong as the ongoing second wave, raising cases, and deaths are definitive proof of the contrary.
How is the Prediction Made?
This model uses the following parameters to foresee the pandemic:
Understanding each of them,
Beta, also known as contact rate, measures how many people are infected by an infected person per day. It is similar to the R0 value, which denotes the number of people an infected person infects throughout their infection.
Reach is a measure of the percentage of the population exposed to the pandemic.
Epsilon is the simple ratio of cases that are detected to undetected cases of the virus.
How does It Work?
Firstly, the model helped in dividing the patient population into patients infected with no symptoms and infected patients with some deterioration in health. With the help of contact tracing, some fraction of asymptomatic patients could be detected, but there were also large numbers of undetected patients who had no symptoms of the virus.
Second, they have vividly considered the relating to spread of a pandemic over time through a parameter called ‘reach’.
Third, present numerically stable methods are used to estimate the parameters in our model and detect the ratio of infected to uninfected.
.To predict the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic in several countries, this model has been used. The data on the number of recovered patients is available, Scientists predict the number of active cases as a function of time. This resulted in the conclusion that India had a smooth rise followed by an equally smooth fall-off in the number of active cases. For other countries too, the predictions closely matched the observed outcomes.
However, these criteria and the above calculations combined didn’t seem ideal and resulted in wrong calculations because of the following issues.
Problems with Sutra Model
There have been many instances where Sutra forecasts are out of bounds of the actual scenario, and the predictions of the Sutra model are too variable to guide government policy.
Too Many Parameters:
The Sutra model was difficult to calculate, as it is dependent on too many parameters and all the parameters are recalibrated whenever its predictions come wrong. The more parameters you have, the more you are in danger of predicting the future reliably. In ideal cases, three or four parameters can fit in any curve over a short time window.
Ignoring the Behavior of the Virus:
The Sutra model omits the importance of the behaviour of the virus. For example, some people were more significant transmitters of the virus than others. The lack of accounting for social or geographic scenarios and not accounting for contacts between different age groups also undermined its validity.\
Ignores the Reason for Change:
New variants showing up every few months in the Sutra model increase the value of parameters called ‘beta’. And the model observes changes in parameter values. It does not care or amplify the reason behind the change. As the virus kept changing its course constantly and in a short time, the prediction also needed to be continuously changed, but that didn’t happen.
What do the Officials of the Sutra Model Have to Say?
Scientists and experts working on the Sutra model for corona revealed that they predicted that in the third week of April, the cases would be around 1 lakh, but the assumptions were wrong as they were working on a mathematical model. They say they can work in this way and would be accurate only when the dynamics and nature of the virus do not change over time. But in India’s case, the virus has constantly been changing, and they have to make changes almost every day. Though they could not predict the exact nature of the second wave, they continue to work on the future course and help in finding accurate projections.
UPSC Question Samples
Here are a few common UPSC question samples that can be asked for Prelims on the Sutra model that can help you with the preparation of this topic.
#1. What is the Sutra model? How does it work?
#2. What are the parameters used in the model and what are they used to observe?
#3. What are the flaws in the model?
#4. What changes can be done to the model to make it ideal for corona prediction?
The government-backed prototype Sutra model has been under fair use for a good cause so far to find out the future projections of the virus. However, being a mathematical approach and with the virus changing its course and various other factors, the Sutra model for corona has not been of much help as expected as of now but the research and works are being continued using the model to come up with solutions with more accurate future predictions to curb the virus.
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