Districts close to water bodies were Covid hotspots: IIT-Mandi study

Districts close to water bodies were Covid hotspots: IIT-Mandi study

According to the study conducted in 640 districts from April 1 to December 25, 2020, the hotspots of the pandemic in India have been states with high international migration and districts located close to large water bodies.

Dipender Manta

Tribune News Service

Mandi, January 10

Having studied the Covid-19 outbreak along with other pandemics in India, the IIT-Mandi has recommended extra precaution at places with huge international arrivals and in North India during winter months.

During research, they have identified states with a high probability of being the first hotspots for the spread of Covid-19. According to the study conducted in 640 districts from April 1 to December 25, 2020, the hotspots of the pandemic in India have been states with high international migration and districts located close to large water bodies.

The research was led by Dr Sarita Azad, Associate Professor, School of Basic Science, IIT-Mandi, and co-authored by Neeraj Poonia, research scholar, IIT-Mandi.

“We observed that cooler climate conditions may have contributed to the rise in Covid cases in districts that are close to water bodies,” says Dr Sarita Azad.

“Even though the transmission rate stabilised across the country during the winter, northern areas witnessed the highest increase in the number of Covid cases. We have also identified states and districts where the government should have a more tailored and targeted approach in case of a future outbreak,” she adds.

The researchers observed that states such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh were the hotspots of the pandemic in India. In almost all these states, international migration was a significant factor, they say. For this reason, the researchers recommended that in cases of pandemic outbreak in future, travel to and from these states should be carefully monitored.

The researchers reviewed the past pandemics and found common patterns between Spanish Flu (1918-1919), H1N1 (2014-2015), Swine Flu (2009- 2010) and Covid-19 (2019-2021) outbreaks. It shows water bodies have a strong influence on a region’s microclimate in terms of temperature and humidity, which is commonly referred to as the lake effect, they say. 

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