After 17 days of lock down in India, the official figures for total infections and deaths due to Coronavirus are 6,600 and 228 people respectively. At the beginning of this lock down the same numbers were 614 and 9 people respectively. Despite the lock down, infection cases in India have gone up 10 times and deaths 25 times. Regardless of this, Modi government, as usual, has started claiming the success of their draconian lock down. Such kind of response was expected because governments will never admit their failures while taking all the credit for others’ successes. Indian government claimed on Thursday:
The Indian government on Thursday claimed initial success in its fight against the coronavirus epidemic, saying it would have been hit with 820,000 cases by next week had it not imposed a nationwide lockdown.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to order 1.3 billion Indians indoors for three weeks in the world’s biggest lockdown has helped slow the infection rate, foreign ministry additional secretary Vikas Swarup said, even though it has exacted a heavy toll on the economy and on the hundreds of million of poor.
“By the middle of April, the caseload would have touched 820,000, he said, citing an internal assessment of the government’s Indian Council of Medical Research.”
If this is the case then I ask the government to make that internal assessment of ICMR public and let independent researchers, scientists and people test government’s claim scientifically. Even with ICMR’s own data we can easily prove the falsity of this tall claim. ICMR itself has noted that,
1,44,910 samples from 1,30,792 individuals had been tested as on April 9. Of these, 5,734 samples tested positive till date. “Positivity rate ranges between 3%-5% with no major increase. On Wednesday, we tested 13,143 samples,’’ said ICMR official Manoj Murhekar.
That means, till 9th April if the Indian government, working with their full capacity 24×7, has only managed to test some 1,45,000 samples in one and half months time then how can it claim that without lock down positive cases would’ve touched 8,20,000 by next week? Isn’t that type of positive case confirmation would’ve required testing of millions of samples? If positivity range is between 3%-5% in tested samples then millions of samples must have been tested before confirming 8,20,000 positive cases. And Government itself has exhibited that its system don’t have the capacity to test millions of cases; it could only manage to test some 1,50,000 samples in one and half months time! Government is simply cooking up numbers to justify its draconian lock down.
This can also mean that, in the prevailing condition of lack of testing, the infection numbers are much higher than what official numbers are showing. Contrary to government, we can claim that may be the infection numbers have already crossed one million mark, but because of lack of testing that number is not showing up in the data!
Moreover, such tall claim requires tall evidences. One of the proper scientific ways of testing this claim is to use a double blind experimental method. Government can lock down one randomly chosen part of the country and let other remain open and record the number of infections and deaths on pre and post lock down basis in both areas adhering to all requirements of double blind experiment. Using this technique, if we find any statistically significant difference between pre and post lock down infection and death numbers between both areas then we can start to suggest that, statistically speaking, the lock down had some impact. More rigorous causal methodologies and strong theoretical underpinnings, e.g., the exact model specification (variables included, and most importantly, not included etc. information), are required to prove that it was only the lock down that had an impact on the Coronavirus infection and death numbers and not any other factors like the weather.
I, of course, do not expect the Indian government to follow all these scientific methodologies. It is not needed because the docile and servile public is going to believe whatever the government is going to tell them. An average Indian doesn’t have the time, energy and mental capacity to understand these scientific issues. Schooling system has made everyone unscientific and blind followers in any case. Logical thinking is a life saving skill which can save us from lies and propaganda coming from government and other societal power and money mongers, but no educational institutions impart this skill.
Government and their blind followers will always abuse laws of logic to prove their successes. If Coronavirus cases are not high in India then it is because of brilliance of Narendra Modi and his government. If they rise despite the lock down then it is surely because we the people didn’t follow the orders of Narendra Modi and went out nullifying all effects of this lock down! No matter what happens, the end result will always be: Heads the government wins, tails we the people lose.