On 21st March, Barkha Dutt had interviewed Dr. Ramanan Laxminarayan, known to be a Epidemiologist. Now what does a Epidemiologist do? He studies and analyses the distribution (who, when & where) patterns and determinants of health and disease conditions in defined population.

However, Dr. Laxminarayan is not an Epidemiologist. In fact, in reality, he is not even doctor. He is a Economist and holds a PhD degree in Economics. He is Senior Research Scholar and Lecturer at Princeton Environmental Institute and Director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy in Washington DC.

Dr. Laxminarayan, through his so called India specific SIM model predicted that there would be 300 to 500 million (i.e. 30 to 50 crore) cases with deaths between 1 to 3 million (10 to 30 lakhs) in India by end of July. The figures are so mind boggling that shiver will pass through the spine of any person listening to such horrific numbers. But it is very clear from his talk that he is applying “mathematical models” applied in the USA and UK to India for estimating Covid-19 infections in India. He also claimed that within a period of 3 to 8 weeks, his predictions will start showing such results. And eventually every single Indian will be get Covid-19 infection i.e. all 130 crores.

Today we are in the 8th week of that prediction so I decided to take a look at the ground reality. As of this moment, India has 71000 cases of Covid-19 cases with deaths around 2300. Now let’s presume that India is under-reporting the number of cases and deaths and they are at least 10 times higher than officially reported figure. That gives a picture of 710,000 cases with 23000 deaths. Now just for the sake of argument, let us accept that India has more than 7 lakhs cases as of today. But it is just beyond my comprehension how such large number of deaths will go unnoticed. In today’s world of Electronic Media & Social Media, is it practically possible to hide such figure?

It really pains me that today such fear or panic mongering has become a norm. I know I am not a doctor or specialist in this field but I feel that such professionals have a responsibility to mitigate such panic. Yes, I agree that we all must take necessary care but this fear psychosis is creating havoc in the minds of people. Today TV news channels call anyone to express his or her view on Corona. I once saw Kapil Dev in one such discussion. Ridiculous to say the least.

Hence I have stopped listening to such so-called experts who spread nothing but fear. There have been some notable exceptions to such panic mongers viz. Dr. Raman Gangakhedkar of ICMR and Dr. Sanjay Oak, Chairman of Task Force for Covid-19 in Maharashtra. Both have been extremely articulate, using simple language with no exaggeration yet ensure that important information is made known to people.

Lastly I do not understand why are we so obsessed with the thought of winning over Covid. I can’t term it as a dream considering the fact that vaccines or treatments are still beyond sight. The way forward should be how to live with Covid.

Let us all take necessary care and precaution and get on with our life. We can’t remain in permanent lockdown. All the best to all of you; cheers!!

Yeshwant Marathe

yeshwant.marathe@gmail.com

#Corona #Covid #Fear #Panic #Statistics