Herd Density — Lockdown Covid19, The Affected & The Migrants

Lavanya Addepalli
5 min readApr 11, 2020

1. Introduction

As of 12th April 2020, the pandemic of Corona Virus has spread across the world counting nearly 17 lakhs of people tested positive with more than 1 lakh of deaths and counting. India in spite of the strictly imposed lockdown, it had reached the mark of 7500 tested positive and about 240 deaths and counting. The Indian stats are as of on the 19th day of the country wide lockdown. On March 22nd 2020, India followed a “Janta Curfew” complete lockdown everything was standing still. Following the Janta curfew a lock down is imposed in order to contain the spread of the virus. As the nature of the virus is to spread when an infected person comes in close contact from a healthy person around within 10tms distance.

Though the government of India took precautionary measures towards the outbreak of the pandemic, but somewhere it failed to handle the vulnerable people who are working in the informal sectors like daily wage labour, construction site labours, domestic help in residential and the help working in shops among others. Once the lockdown was declared people started reaching to the borders of the states to go back to their native places and these migraters were held and not all of them were allowed to pass the boarded likely to create the ripple factor. Some of them were allowed, some returned back and others took the minor routes via connecting villages. The migrants may or may not have come in contact with an infected person, but tracking all of them at least having an estimated density of such migrated population across the country is not less than a nightmare unless they themselves come forward. But again, not all of them would want to come forward and yet why would they come forward?

When the displacement of vulnerable migrants and tracking them down in one challenge so it to find the people who participated in the Tablighi Jamaat a congregation held in mid-March 2020. There have been reports of tracking down the few hundreds of participants of the congregation, but the attendee count was about 8000 people. Tracking them all is next to impossible unless the telecom authority comes forward to share the micro level details based on the Geo location. Another challenge is to red alert lockdown of the area where the virus positive patients are originating more in number. Entire lockdown of those locations is defiantly easy to talk, but estimating the density and estimating the size of the community which may or may not be infected is again a challenge. The other unknown and unpredicted situation is gathering for protests or religious gatherings which are happening even during the lockdown unless the authorities are not notified by another person it is getting difficult to estimate the possible catastrophe.

2. Methods

In the times of desperation, a solution can be presented to identify the herd density of migrated, mostly virus affected regions, and how they might have dispersed by using the cumulative counts of Mobile Phone GSM logs (Pings) from mobile tower level data. As an optimized application of “Crowd Steering Model” implemented successfully during the Kumbh Mela 2015, in Nashik, Maharashtra along with the Nashik Municipal Corporation and MIT Kumbhathon; following same the technology and methods referring “Patent Application №201841015808 — A Method of Detecting A Density of a Crowd in A Geographical Location and A System Thereof.” A synthetic model is being developed to get a visualization of how with spatiotemporal analysis the density estimation of the herd movement can be achieved.

3. Dataset Details

Synthetic Data contains cumulative counts depicting mobiles devices connected with the period of an hour. The data mimic the original Tower Level BTS logs of a given location and given time.

4. Solvable Challenges

1. Migration Density Estimation

2. Estimate the Community Density likely suspected of virus contraction

3. Identify if and when any gathering occurs

4. Estimate the density of Herd displacement traveling in trains (before lockdown)

Alerted Location and the Density of that location

Image 1: The Density of the location on a normal day when there was no spread of covid19. The data is taken as a reference to be used for future comparison.

Image 2: Indiviual Tower level GSM Mobile logs (ping) Data. The mobile towers are located for a range of half km to one km apart from each other.

Image 3: The Heatmaps depicting the high alert areas, where the spread of the contagious Coivd19 Virus is more than the other less affected area. Allows the authority to estimate the density and draw location boundaries.

Density, Flow of Crowd on a Normal Day

The density flow of Herds when Lockdown was announced all of a sudden and the migrators randomly decided to leave the cities and travel to their villages and home towns.




Lavanya Addepalli

“Wandering Researcher” .. Student by profession... Human by heart with clusters in brain.. Travel & Music Lover, Foodie, Ghost Writer