NDTV deletes report on COVID-19 transmission in India as Johns Hopkins distances itself

India is expected to see a rise in COVID-19 cases in April and May, said a report reportedly published by John's Hopkins University and the and the Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP).

While the report was published by news agency IANS, it was picked up by several publications such as Business Standard and NDTV, which subsequently deleted the story from their timeline.

NDTV deletes report on COVID-19 transmission in India as Johns Hopkins distances itself

The news, however, has turned out to be fake after the University admitted that the logo in the paper was used without their knowledge, and that they had not conducted any such research.

"To reach these numbers, Johns Hopkins and CDDEP -- a public health research organisation -- used IndiaSIM, a well-validated agent-based model of the Indian population which has been published widely over many years and has been used for government decision-making. According to the report, hospitalised cases can reach up to 25 lakh people in the High scenario, 17-18 lakh people in Medium scenario and 13 lakh people in Low scenario," the IANS reported said.

Incidentally, The Center For Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy is the same organisation where Ramanan Lakshminarayan works as the director. Lakshminarayan in a series of interviews with both Indian and foreign media, had said that India would see 300 million cases of COVID-19-positive cases by May. While he admitted that the government data was not wrong in an interview with Karan Thapar, he said that India did not have the medical infrastructure to conduct as many tests compared to other countries.

Currently, India has reported 902 coronavirus cases in the country, but the number could be higher than recoreded. Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, the country’s senior-most bureaucrat, in a letter to all chief secretaries on Thursday, admitted that there was a gap between the number of international passengers who need to be monitored by the States /UTs and the actual number of passengers being monitored.

He said, "We initiated screening of international incoming passengers at the airports with effect from 18th January 2020. I have been informed that upto 23rd March 2020, cumulatively, Bureau of immigration has shared details of more than 15 lakh incoming international passengers with the States/UTs for monitoring for COVID-19. However, there appears to be a gap between the number of International passengers who need to be monitored by the States /UTs and ihe actual number of passengers being monitored."

Gauba further added that this may seriously jeopardise India's efforts to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of 24,136 people and infected 537,569 globally so far.

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Free Press Journal