IJCRR - 12(12), June, 2020
Date of Publication: 16-Jun-2020
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COVID-19 Situation at Chennai City \? Forecasting for the Better Pandemic Management
Author: Kannamani Ramasamy, S. Jayakumar, Govindasamy Chinnu
Category: Life Sciences
Abstract:Aim: The objective of this study was to investigate the current state of COVID-19 pandemic at Chennai city and understand the possible contributors to the highest number of confirmed and death cases. The secondary aim of the study is to forecast the confirmed cases for the forthcoming days for better planning and execution.
Sample, Technique and Methods: For this study, we have used the data from March 9 to June 6 2020 (89 days). For forecasting the number of COVID-19 cases for Chennai, we have used FORECAST.ETS function in Microsoft Excel. Forecasting calculated from June 7 to August 31 2020 (85 days). Data of Chennai city and Tamilnadu is used for the study.
Results: From the forecasting analysis for Chennai city, by the end of August, the forecasted positive cases would be 121027. The percentage of confirmed cases from the total sample tested may go up to 12.6 by August 31, 2020. The forecasting of Tamilnadu indicates that the majority contribution comes from Chennai city. By the end of August, the number of death cases would be 4565 in Chennai city.
Conclusion: There are various initiatives from the government agencies to control, treat and prevent COVID-19 at Chennai city. However, the number of cases is rising in an uncontrolled manner. Strategical disease management is needed to control the situation better. Forecasting is one of the critical factors that play a vital role in the pandemic management. By using the strategical approaches, we can have better planning, execution and monitoring.
Keywords: Chennai, Causes, Forecasting, COVID-19, Coronavirus
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans. Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing. As of June 9, there are 6992010 Confirmed cases globally. There are 403128 Confirmed deaths across 216 Countries, areas, or territories1. Approximately 2.7 lacks of people affected in India from all the states. Maharashtra is the highly affected state with around 90000 confirmed cases. Sikkim is the least infected state with seven confirmed cases. (As on June 9, 2020)2,3. There are 33,229 positive cases in Tamilnadu state with a death count of 286. (As of June 8). Chennai is the highly affected place in Tamilnadu with 23298 cases, and Dharmapuri is the district with 18 cases that have the lowest confirmed cases4.
Overview of Chennai City:
Chennai city is the capital of Tamilnadu state and located on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. Being the biggest city in south India, Chennai city played a crucial role in the historical, cultural, educational and health sector growth of the country. During British period, Chennai (Madras) was the regional capital of South India, which comprises five states (Currently Tamilnadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka). Chennai city played an essential role in the Dravidian civilization. Chennai is the 4th largest city of India and has many principal government offices such as High court and Reserve Bank of India. Chennai is one of the most leading commercial centers of South India and well-integrated with the neighbour states for business activities. Various industries such as automobile manufacturing, IT services, which include hardware and software services, petrochemicals such as IOCL, financial services, textiles and hardware manufacturing are resulting in the economy of both Tamilnadu state and India as well. Chennai is well-connected to all the major cities of India as well as with the foreign nations due to its geographical location. Chennai is also considered the cultural hub of South India, which is famous for its rich heritage in classical dance, music, architecture, sculpture and crafts. The official language of the state is Tamil, and other most speaking languages are Telugu, English, Hindi, Urdu and Malayalam. The population of the city is around 6.4 Million and the area of the city is 178.20 sq. Km. The temperature in Summer varies between 21.10 °C to 37 °C Temperature in Winter varies between 19.81 °C to 32 ° C. The altitude of the city is 60 m above sea level5,6
As on June 6, 2020, the total confirmed cases in Tamilnadu are 30152 (Refer Table 2, Figure 1). 69.6 percent of the confirmed cases are only from Chennai city, and 36 districts across Tamilnadu are representing remaining 30.4% confirmed cases7
As on June 6, 2020, Chennai city has 20993 confirmed cases. Out of which, 10223 are active, and under treatment, 10572 patients discharged as they have recovered. 197 patients die due to COVID-19 from Chennai city (Figure 2). Table 3 talks about the positive cases details of Chennai and other parts of Tamilnadu from Day-1 of the confirmed case. Further, it explains about the statistics of the samples tested and percent of the confirmed cases across Tamilnadu which includes Chennai city.
Table 3 – shows the various statistics for Tamilnadu concerning COVID-19.7
Figure 3 shows the number of positive cases in Chennai and across Tamilnadu as of June 6, 2020. The total number of confirmed cases across Tamilnadu (other than Chennai) is not near the Chennai city's confirmed cases. The Graph indicates the outburst which is happening in Chennai concerning COVID-19 cases.
Figure 4 shows the COVID-19 increasing trend for Tamilnadu state (Except Chennai) and Chennai city. For better graphical representation, the data separated into two parts, below diagram representing from March 9, 2020 till April 22, 2020. Though we see the increasing trend for both Tamilnadu state (Except Chennai) and counts are less at Chennai City during this period.
Figure 5 shows the COVID-19 increasing trend for Tamilnadu state (Except Chennai) and Chennai city. Below diagram representing the data from April 23, 2020 till June 6, 2020. We see the growing trend for both Tamilnadu state (Except Chennai) and Chennai city till May 4. It is important to note that the Koyambedu vegetable market of Chennai was closed by the state government by 1st week of May 2020 and around 10000 people who worked in the market left to their native districts. The number of confirmed cases is tremendously increasing at Chennai city from May 5, 2020 onwards. As on June 6, 69.4 percent cases are in Chennai and 30.4 percent cases are at the whole Tamilnadu (other than Chennai).
Figure 6 shows the pattern of cases increased from first case to 20993. On March 18,2020, the first case identified at Chennai. On March 25, the number of confirmed cases increased to double-digit. On April 6, the number of confirmed cases reached triple-digit. With the constant increasing pattern, on May 1, the number of confirmed cases is 1082. As on May 24, 2020, within 24 days, the confirmed cases increased by ten times (10576). As per the data from the Tamilnadu government's health department, the total confirmed cases from Chennai city are 20993, as of June 6, 2020.
As on June 8, 234 people died in Chennai city due to COVID-19 (Refer Figure 7). The first death occurred on April 18, 2020. From May 5 onwards, there were continues deaths noticed. On June 8, authorities announced 12 death cases on that particular day in Chennai city. By seeing the increasing pattern, it looks like the death count may continue to rise in the coming days8
The percent of confirmed cases from the total sample tested on that particular day. From March 9 to April 22 2020, more cases were identified across Tamilnadu and less in Chennai city. (Figure 8 ). From April 23 onwards, more confirmed cases found in Chennai city. At one point in time, the proportional difference between Chennai city and the whole Tamilnadu was huge (figure 9). On June 6, 2020, 576695 sample tested, and 9.1 percent found positive. Out of which, 7.28percent from Chennai City alone and 1.82 percent from the other parts of Tamilnadu (36 districts).
From the date of first COVID-19 case till June 6 2020, 5,27,212 samples performed in total across Tamilnadu, which includes Chennai City (Refer Table 4, Figure 10). Out of which, 121950 samples tested in Chennai city alone and found around 17.21 percent positive (20993 cases) and out of 405262 samples performed across Tamilnadu (Except Chennai), only 2.26 percent found positive. Day by day, we see a huge increasing trend for Chennai city. . It is important to note that, from the total sample (527212) tested across Tamilnadu, only 23.12 percent belong to Chennai city. However, the confirmed rate is high i.e. 17.21 percent. Whereas 2.26 percent confirmed cases found from the 76.88 percent of the sample performed from other parts of Tamilnadu.
Possible causes for more COVID-19 cases at Chennai:
Public exposure in the Koyambedu market during lockdown10
Lockdown was not followed up properly11
People visit from profoundly impacted states and countries.
Quarantine and suspected people travel in the city without social responsibility.
Unaffected people roam with improper precaution11
Lack of awareness and negligence.
In this paper, we have used FORECAST.ETS function in MS EXCEL to predict the future number of COVID-19 cases for Chennai. The Excel Forecast.Ets function uses an exponential smoothing algorithm to predict a future value on a timeline, based on a series of existing values. The forecasted number is a continuation of the past values in the defined target date, which should be a continuance of the timeline. This function can be used to foresee forthcoming marketing, asset and configuration requirements and or customer’s usage patterns12
FORECAST.ETS(target_date,values, timeline, [seasonality], [data_completion], [aggregation])
Point forecasts are obtained from the models by iterating the equations for t=T+1,…,T+ht=T+1,…,T+h and setting all εt=0εt=0 for t>Tt>T.
Therefore, ^yT+2|T=?T+2bT,y^T+2|T=?T+2bT, and so on. These forecasts are identical to the forecasts from Holt's linear method, and also to those from model ETS(A,A,N). Thus, the point forecasts obtained from the method and from the two models that underlie the method are identical (assuming that the same parameter values are used).ETS point forecasts are equal to the medians of the forecast distributions. The forecast distributions are normal for models with only additive components, so the medians and means are equal. For ETS models with multiplicative errors, or with multiplicative seasonality, the point forecasts will not be equal to the means of the forecast distributions.13
Forecasted positive cases in Chennai. June 7 - August 31, 2020
As on June 6, 2020, the number of confirmed cases is 20993. By the end of June, the forecasted positive cases would be48909. By the end of July, the predicted positive cases would be84968. By the end of August, the forecasted positive cases would be121027 (Table 5 and Figure 11). Figure 12 shows the positive cases in the past and the future forecast with lower and upper bound. Transparent data above orange indicates the upper bound and the line within orange shows the lower bound (figure 12)
Forecasted percentage of cases in Chennai from the samples tested (June 7 - August 31, 2020)
As on June 6, 2020, in Chennai city, the rate of confirmed cases from the total sample tested is7.28. From the forecasting analysis, by the end of June, the forecasted percent of the positive cases from the samples would be 8.95. By the end of July, the predicted percent of positive cases from the total sample would be 11.23. By the end of August, the predicted percent of positive cases would be 12.6. (Table 6 and Figure 13,14).Transparent data above orange indicates the upper bound and the line within orange shows the lower bound (figure 14)
Forecasted percentage of confirmed cases (Tamilnadu)from the total samples tested on a particular day)
As on June 6, 2020, at Tamilnadu state (Including Chennai), the percentage of confirmed cases from the total sample tested is9.10. From the forecasting analysis, by the end of June, the forecasted percent of the positive cases from the samples would be 10.08. By the end of July, the predicted percent of positive cases from the total sample would be 11.36. By the end of August, the forecasted percent of positive cases would be 12.63. ForecastingTamilnadu pattern is critical as we need to understand how Tamilnadu’ s overall number is influenced by the Chennai city’s count. (Table 7 and figure 15,16).Other than the forecasted percentage of confirmed cases for Tamilnadu Vs. sample tested, the upper bound (above organge line) and lower bound (below orange line) is indicated for better understanding(figure 16)
3.Forecasted Death cases in Chennai) June 9 - August 31, 2020
As of June 8, 2020, at Tamilnadu state, the number of death cases is 234. From the forecasting analysis, by the end of June, the number of death cases would be around 773. By the end of July, the number of death cases is 2255. By the end of August, the number of death cases in 4565 (Table 8, Figure 17).
Discussion and interpretation
Chennai is one of the cities in India severely affected by the COVID-19. Tamilnadu state has 38 districts (table 1). The number of positive cases and the percent of death cases of all 37 districts is pretty less when compared with the Chennai city. As of June 6, 69.4 percent are from Chennai, and 30.6 percent cases from other parts of Tamilnadu (figure 1). Twenty thousand nine hundred ninety-three cases were confirmed from Chennai and 9,159 cases from all other parts of Tamilnadu state(table 2). The first case identified at Tamilnadu on March 9 and until March 23, it was a single-digit case. On March 24, the number of confirmed cases was 15(table 3). The reason for sudden changes in the number of cases was the contribution from Chennai city. The first case identified at Chennai on March 18. On March 24, the number of confirmed cases was 7(table 3). On March 25, the number increased to double-digit. On April 6, the confirmed cases reached triple-digit(table 3). With the constant increasing Patten, on May 1, the number of confirmed cases is 1082(figure 4). As on May 24, within 24 days, the confirmed cases increased by ten times (10576). As per the data from the Tamilnadu government's health department, the total confirmed cases from Chennai city are 20993, as of June 6, 2020(figure 5)
It is evident that the majority of the top cities such as Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai are poorly affected due to COVID-19 and Kolkata is exceptional. There could be various reasons for this worst situation. Population density at the Chennai city is one of the primary reasons for more confirmed cases. The Koyambedu market was kept open and operational during lockdown even after the confirmed cases at Chennai, which was another contributor. At one point of time, Government of Tamilnadu closed the market in the first week of May 2020, which made the workers to return to the native places. However, infected people might have roamed around without knowing that they are affected.
It appears that lockdown 1.0 was productive and successful. Lockdown 2.0 announced with no relaxations. However, the effectiveness was less comparatively. Further, lockdowns were not much helpful as people perceived the negligence and started roaming across the city. People who were healthy and unaffected by COVID-19 were moving around, which added more cases as an opportunity to pick the disease from others. Also, some of the people who were affected and quarantine at home were roaming without social responsibility and infected others. Additionally, there are so many people affected by coronavirus without any symptoms, which is a significant cause to add more confirmed cases at Chennai city. Symptoms vary from person to person, which is also adding more difficulties to medical professionals. The first death happened on April 18. From May 5 onwards, there were continues deaths noticed. On June 8, authorities announced 12 death cases in Chennai city and the total death count is 234(figure 7).
The neighbour districts and borders of Chennai cities such as Kanchipuram, Thiruvallur and Chengalpattu also impacted severely than other regions of Tamilnadu. This is because of the people's exposure to Chennai and people are roaming between these districts as Chennai city is well connected with all those cities. We have used FORECAST.ETS in MS Excel function to predict the expected number of COVID-19 cases for Chennai in the future. If the current pattern continuous, by the end of August, the forecasted positive cases would be 121027(figure11,12). As on June 6, 2020, in Chennai city, the percentage of confirmed cases from the total sample tested is 7.28. and it may go up to 12.6 by August 31, 2020(figure 13,14). As on June 6, 2020, at Tamilnadu state, the percentage of confirmed cases from the total sample tested is 9.10 but the majority contribution for Tamilnadu comes from Chennai city. From the forecasting analysis, by the end of August, the forecasted of positive cases would be 12.63 percent(figure 15,16). The forecasting of Tamilnadu indicates that the majority contribution comes from Chennai city. As on June 6, 2020, at Tamilnadu state, the number of death cases is 197. From the forecasting analysis, by the end of August, the number of death cases 4565(figure 17).
The forecasting is predicted based on the recent past trend on confirmed cases, percent of sampling and number of death cases. Prediction is carried by using the Excel Forecast.Ets function with the use of an exponential smoothing algorithm to predict a future value on a timeline, based on a series of existing values. The forecasted numbers will remain valid if the current conditions exist. If the people get more awareness, Chennai corporation takes additional measures to control the pandemic, announce the lockdown in the severely affected zones and the nature of the virus changes itself, may contribute to the lower numbers in the future, which may be different from the forecasted figures. Another side, there could be various factors that may play a role for an increasing number of cases. They are: If the virus changing the nature of the symptoms, more people affected without any symptoms, more positive cases due to unexpected reasons, and recent and forthcoming returnees from other state and countries due to lockdown relaxations.
Understanding the forecasted number is critical for pandemic management. Government of Tamilnadu, Chennai Corporation, disaster management from the revenue department, health department and Police department should have a better understanding of the current number of confirmed cases, future predicated cases, death cases and the various contributors for the same. Public awareness is critical in this pandemic situation. By involving famous personalities, awareness programmes can be conducted. Before it becomes a tragedy, the administrators should attempt to find the ways to control the spread of COVID-19, which will help them to prove the forecasted numbers are wrong, which can save the life of valuable human being's life.
Health workers can be deployed ward by ward and door to door for accessing and identify the symptomatic people as a preventive method.
Government of Tamilnadu and Chennai corporation may initiate the control of private hospitals across the Chennai city and neighbour districts for a certain period (Say 1 year) on compensation basis.
Hospitals, Doctors, Technicians, Labs and infrastructure facilities from the neighbour districts can be used to treat the COVID-19 patients of Chennai city. The availability of Human resources and infrastructure should not become a barrier to manage the contemporary situation.
Batch sampling test can be attempted by understanding the segment of the most affected people so that the disease can be detected in advance and a higher number of suspicious people filtered at the earliest.
Government of India, Government of Tamilnadu and Chennai corporation, either collaboratively or individually to take necessary steps for research related to the vaccination and therapeutic medicine by funding for such activities. While we are focusing on identifying the affected people, this approach is much needed as long term approach. Though there are few such initiatives, the rigorous research approach is needed by considering the present situation.
Severely affected areas to be identified as containment zones and implement the lockdown for that particular zones, including the movement restriction in and out the zone.
Health workers to be assigned to various zones in the Chennai city from other parts of Tamilnadu and do the necessary inspection at the different zones at Chennai, as a proactive approach.
Chennai Corporation should be equipped well with various factors such as a more significant number of doctors, nurses, health workers, hospitals, beds and testing equipment so that more testing and treatments can be done as a proactive approach and reactive approach as well.
The number of sampling per day should be increased so that affected cases can be identified earlier, which can help to treat them in the initial phase itself without any advance medical treatment, which includes ventilation. Also, this will help to prevent further spread to other people.
As the number of cases is increasing exponentially in Chennai city due to the dense population, sealing of Chennai city can be considered to avoid further spreading to other Tamilnadu regions.
It is worth considering getting an expert opinion from the health and statistical organizations of other state and central government medical organizations such as ICMR and AIIMS. By doing this, we would be able to gather better and adequate ideas, methodologies, tools, and techniques to control and flatten the pandemic's spread.
Finance plays a critical role in Pandemic management. It is understood that there are fund allocations from the government of Tamilnadu and government of India. However, for better and improved management of the COVID-19 situation, a committee can be formed by including the financial, administrative, statistical and medical experts who can appropriately work with the respective authorities in the central government which can help to get more financial support based on the actual facts and figures in the state.
Disaster and pandemic come suddenly and make an enormous change in society with substantial negative impacts. The human community cannot predict, and a proactive approach is not appropriate to the Disaster and Pandemic. The reactive approach is more suitable as we need to deal with it once we affected by them. When COVID-19 identified first in Wuhan city in China, it was just news for others from various part of the world. Now, India is one of the majorly affected countries and stands at 6th place. Most of the states and big cities are affected. Chennai, which is the capital of Tamilnadu, is severely affected by a considerable number, and the count is increasing day by day. There are various initiatives from the Tamilnadu government and Chennai corporation to control, treat and prevent COVID-19. However, the number of cases is rising in an uncontrolled manner. Strategical disease management is needed to control the situation better. Forecasting is one of the critical factors that play a vital role in the pandemic management. Unless otherwise, we predict the future trend in increasing spread, it is challenging to deal and control infection and death rate. As mentioned in the recommendations sections, few additional measures and actions to be taken by the respective authorities will help manage the situation better. Though the COVID-19 falling under medical, biological, and health departments, combined management initiatives are essential. Doctors can treat the patients, but it is challenging to manage other administrative and associated activities related to the pandemic. It is possible with the strategical approaches where we can have proper planning, execution and monitoring.
Our sincere and heartfelt thanks to all the authors, Chennai corporation and government of Tamilnadu whose articles/reports/data are cited and included in references to this manuscript.
Source of Funding – No funding.
Conflict of interest – The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests.
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