Coronavirus is a disease which is spreading very fastly in our country. Adequate research needs to be done on this with exact numbers so as to understand the cause and effect relationship of the virus with the people. There has been a lot of data fudging in India in the previous years, we hope that this scenario does not continue in the future and even right now. Portraying the right image is the duty of the government. There is nothing that can be done for a government that is lying to its people. But the government must also realize that it has the lives of millions of people is in its own hands. The government will be responsible for the blood the people have shed and the families who have lost their loved ones. Losing someone to a disease is not easy when the healthcare system is advanced and not at a primary level. Claims are made about how great India is but is it really great?
Data fudging is not a new concept for a nation like India. India has been fudging data for tuberculosis disease for a very long time. WHO has given constant reminders to our country for giving proper data so that the higher authorities can understand the cause and effect relationship between tuberculosis. According to reports India under-reported TB for 15 years. Wrong estimates of TB patients in India between 2000-2015 lead to the major TB epidemic scandal. India reported 127 for 100000 TB cases but when WHO checked it was about 217 per 100000. The size of the epidemic increased tenfold because the previous research that was done and the data collected was highly incorrect. In the most recent findings, it was found out that in 2014 only 56% of the TB cases were reported and in 2015 only 59% of the cases were reported. The major reason why India has so many TB cases is because a large proportion of the population is living in poverty.
According to WHO there was an increase in reporting from India in the later stage because of the new policies which were passed with regard to TB. Indian made TB a notifiable disease in 2012 and it also started a web-based reporting system just like the Aarogya Setu app. This actually led to an increase in the number of cases that were reported.
In the scenario mentioned above, the highest authority in power, the WHO, criticized India for not reporting enough patients for TB which led to the widespread of this epidemic. TB was the disease that was spreading like wildfire in India and it is still prevalent in various parts of the country. Now when we look at the new pandemic the COVID-19, it is also spreading very fastly. With over 3000 cases reported every day since the last two days, there is a fear rooted in everyone’s mind about their health and well-being. People are scared to go out, they are stuck inside their houses, some are suffering from anxiety, some from depression, and some are suffering from the virus and not reporting that to the authorities. There have been various accusations on the government about not reporting the coronavirus cases properly. Politics is getting the best of us even in times like now. Communalisation of the virus is occurring. People are blaming religions. It is high time that we all realize that if adequate numbers are not displayed on the screen, alarming reactions won’t be taken out from the people. People will not understand the depth of the situation till the time they do not look at the exact numbers. There won’t be a very bad reaction for 10 Coronavirus cases but if we tell the public that there are about one lakh cases, the public will be scared and will practice social distancing.
ICMR can not give us the numbers of COVID-19 cases directly. China as the country revised its coronavirus estimate after the ending of the disease. Will India do the same? Will this help our country in the long run? Portraying a positive image right now will not solve any purpose. The government is made for the people, and by the people, it is the government‘s duty to never lie to the people and make things right in situations like today.
There have been various data fudging cases in states in India. The exact number of COVID-19 cases in West Bengal is said to be fudged. The central government has claimed that the numbers are still not clear. Even when the West Bengal state is tallying the data with every hospital, the rate of COVID-19 cases does not seem to be right. West Bengal continues to deny the allegation that it has the highest death rate right now. The Inter-ministerial Central Team has said that the mortality rate in West Bengal is highest in the country at about 12%. The government of West Bengal said that they are dividing the deaths with respect to the virus in two parts, one is the death directly related to Corona, and the next one being the indirect death caused by COVID-19. The central government is constantly accusing West Bengal of not portraying the right numbers. We wonder what will happen if the numbers are not right. Will it lead to the same battle as we have with TB?
A survey also states that in certain areas people are violating lockdown because of the West Bengal state government appeasement policy. This is not the time to relax down the rules which were made a month ago with regard to the virus. If the rules are not followed properly, we are not far away from the doomsday. From March to April the West Bengal state said it had 200 cases, but after tallying it and after the central intervention the number of cases has gone up to 1344. The data which we are presenting is up to a specific date.
Districts like Alipurduar have shown to have zero cases but the doctors are telling that there have been four cases there. If proper screening of the number of cases isn’t done, the public life is in jeopardy. India is known to have poor standards when it comes to handling the data, but this is not acceptable.
Few ministers have also said that the CM of Delhi has fudged a lot of data. There is a lack of trust between the ministers and the health officials. It is said that the Arvind Kejriwal government has been misleading people by showing a lower level of cases because the data collected from hospitals does not match the figures of the government. It is also said that the death toll is not noted properly. There are about six super-specialty hospitals in the capital but several cases are not being reported in these hospitals. COVID-19 patients aren’t even getting the proper beds in these hospitals. If patients keep on moving from one hospital to another, how will their count be accurate?
The central government has also questioned the Delhi state government regarding the same and the response is being awaited from the Arvind Kejriwal government. Messages are also sent to the Delhi Health Minister, their responses are also awaited. The spokesperson has said that it is very unfortunate that these political false allegations are being put on to various states during times of distress.
The public does not know what is right and what is wrong. Taxes are being paid, donations are being made, truth is all we deserve. Hiding the exact numbers from higher authorities will only dig us deeper into our graves. It might lead to a slow death but will lead to death ultimately. We just hope that India does not let Coronavirus get the best of it just like it let TB do.