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Why are we talking movies in the era of Covid? Especially when it is neither Outbreak, nor Contagion. It is the 1992 classic, A Few Good Men.

Among the most quoted exchanges from that film is Tom Cruise as Lt Daniel Kaffee demanding the truth from Jack Nicholson’s Marine Col. Nathan R. Jessep, who famously throws a counter at the prosecutor: You can’t handle the truth.

That was about an ugly and inconvenient truth that Nicholson’s character was seeking to hide and justify. For this week’s argument, however, we are reversing that logic.

Can we confront you, therefore, with the same counter — you can’t handle the truth — when it isn’t as bad as you might have expected in this coronavirus crisis in India?

India is by no means going through a picnic. The entire country is locked down, more stringently than any other in the world, with all the attendant consequences: Economic stall, job losses, even mass misery in significant pockets, and hunger.

Yet, the truth that many, especially in the global commentariat, find so inconvenient is that contrary to what so many wise people with fancy degrees from a university in this league or that might have asserted by now, millions or lakhs, or even tens of thousands of us, are not dying. Apologies for letting you down.

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Our drains are not filled with bodies, our hospitals have not run out of beds. Our crematoriums and graveyards are not out of wood or space. There is not even a cricket field-sized sliver of India anywhere that might help you make a convenient or macabre comparison with the Spanish Flu of 1918. The India of 2020 is not perfect. But it is a far cry from the India of that past.

That good news, or absence of expected bad news, is the truth that so many in the international community, and also within India, seem unable to handle. Isn’t it too good to be true?


Also read: Why India may not see the kind of Covid-19 outbreak rest of the world has seen


We seek refuge again in the eternal wisdom of N.R. Narayana Murthy: “In God we trust. The rest of you bring data.”

The daily Government of India briefing on the Covid-19 crisis is often criticised for opacity, lack of information, and some Yes Minister-style bureaucratic ducking and weaving. But it gives you a set of data. We have the right, then, to be suspicious. But we then have to find facts from somewhere to counter it.

One scholar who tracks this data each day and publishes a string of brilliantly informative charts is Brookings Institution’s Shamika Ravi. You can check these out on her Twitter handle here. Her key chart shows us how India’s infection numbers had picked up pace by 23 March, but then began a decline, especially once the Tablighi bulge was absorbed, by early April. The numbers went from doubling in 3 days to 5, then 4 (with the Tablighi cluster), and now stand at 8 days. Her chart also assumes that if there was no lockdown, India’s infections would be about nine times higher than the figure now.

You can extend the same logic to fatalities and positive tests also. Both have generally remained in the same ballpark, about 3.4 per cent and 4.1 per cent, respectively.

Now, how can this be true, you can well ask. Can you trust official data? Look elsewhere. As we did.

The data plotted by the darling of the public health community, World Health Organization, plots the rate of doubling in 7 days now. As does the European Centre for Disease Control. Most delightfully, the darling of the doomsayers, Johns Hopkins University, whose logo was used by a set of them predicting millions of us dead, and was called out for misusing it, plots this rate of doubling of Covid cases in India at 8 days.

Of course, you may still say this is too good to be true; that everyone, from a top UN organisation to a premier European institution to a globally-respected university are all complicit with the Modi government. You may be right. But we will repeat to you that Narayana Murthy caveat. Bring data. Unless you think you are God.

I spend most of my time, especially during the lockdown, reading up and watching whatever is available globally on coronavirus. Every couple of days, there is a story or a commentary insinuating and implying three things: One, India must be concealing figures. Sometimes a snide remark in a TV discussion. Two, that India will soon — and inevitably — be the worst victim of the virus with millions dead. And three, that we in the Indian media are either complicit with the Modi government and won’t speak the truth, or so intimidated that we can’t.

The fact is that all our reporters are also looking at the same set of data points with a high degree of suspicion. Something to prove that the government figures are a gross under-estimation or a China/North Korea style fudge. But we do not find such facts — at hospitals, in surveillance figures, from so many state governments where anti-BJP parties rule. Health, in India, is a state subject.

An easy option is to follow the way of the BBC which, earlier this week, ran a story quoting two anonymous doctors from an unnamed hospital in Mumbai claiming lots of people were dying of respiratory collapse but were either not tested for Covid or not declared its victims. Would they run a story like that on Britain, or any other country where they’d treat human life in a more dignified, less cavalier fashion? But this is the ‘bhookhananga’ India, what is the story if it isn’t at least a few hundred thousands of Indians dead? Especially when the UK, Italy, Spain, the US, are already floating in high five figures. Or unless you begin counting for bodies like our Holy National Accountant of Yore used to count notional losses, with series freely added.


Also read: Does India need more Covid-19 testing or is it an uninformed argument?


The truth so far, fortunately, is less “fun” than that. I am not wagering anything on the news not taking a turn for the worse tomorrow, especially after the lockdown opens, but we can’t make those presumptions now.

This is the most polarising global pandemic in world history. First, globally, because the virus came from China and the deputy superpower does not want anyone mentioning that fact. Second, because the two global leaders the liberal community detests, Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, have bungled with its handling. And third, closer home, because Narendra Modi is seen as a member of the same Alpha Male Brotherhood. So sharply has this disease politicised us that even an 80-year-old drug like chloroquine has become contentious because Trump is prescribing it, and Modi dispensing it.

All stories do not necessarily turn out to be as lipsmackingly juicy as you might have expected them to be. The days when you could conveniently exaggerate, multiply and fictionalise mass tragedies in poor countries are over. And poor as India might be, its media, civil society, and most importantly, the common citizen, haven’t been mentally and spiritually transhipped post-2014 to North Korea or China that they’d pay no heed to fellow countrymen dying around them. Or to believe their government that claims there is no coronavirus victim, or that, oh, I got my count of the dead a little bit wrong, by just 50 per cent (to begin with) in Wuhan.

India, unfortunately, has a very recent experience of having been subjected to such callous and criminal excess by global influencers, especially from some sections of foundation-fattened public health mafias. Strong words, but why waste euphemisms on those who unanimously counted India’s HIV positive cases to be 5.7 million and rising? Until the summer of 2007, when a paper in Lancet derailed the gravy train? Everyone, from UNAIDS to WHO to the richest foundations, all conveniently rectified the numbers. You know to what: 2.5 million. India was being subjected to a 128 per cent exaggeration.

India’s numbers have been dropping since. You can read two stories from the venerable New York Times here and here on how everyone who had been complicit quietly retreated and reset. No one said sorry.

A few honourable Indians complained. Civil servant S.Y. Quraishi (then head of the National Aids Control Organisation or NACO) in 2005, and before that, Shatrughan Sinha as health minister in 2002, when Bill Gates arrived with a grant of $100 million for AIDS control and predicted that by 2010, India will have 20-25 million cases. They were ignored.

They all got away with it, including so many in our bureaucracy, activists and health NGOs, who had joined that well-funded, wine ’n cheese war to ‘save’ India. They all retreated. But the damage they did wasn’t just philosophical. It was real. The Hollywoodisation of AIDS in India took attention and resources away from more real issues. Like tuberculosis, to begin with.


Also read: Sick doctors, shut hospitals, no guidelines — a Wockhardt doctor on India’s Covid response


 

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125 Comments Share Your Views

125 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Mr. Gupta,
    I love Cut the Clutter and your analyses, and it is so refreshing to invest 15-20 minutes every day in your programs. I wanted to offer something — I have a PhD in Decision Analysis from Stanford University. I went back to my PhD advisor who was the co-founder of the field, and our dialog was around a very interesting idea — voluntary exposure to Covid-19. Here is the dialog:
    https://medium.com/@somikr/a-novel-way-of-tackling-the-novel-coronavirus-12f15298c920
    Sharing in case it is of some use in India’s context. Please feel free to reach out if you’d like a dialog with Prof. Howard.
    Regards,
    Somik

  2. Funny thing I noticed and couldn’t find in comments, apologies if already pointed out.
    The whole movie a few good men is about a system and people trying to cover up a crime and there being only a few good men who dared to question the actions of an all powerful “state”.

    The line attributed that you can’t handle the truth is actually one of the final admissions that you’ve been kept in the dark because it’s convinient and gate keepers (like journalists in this analogy) are liars who protect you from the ugly truth.

    Thank you Colonel Shekhar for your service. By this article you have assumed responsibility of those who will die because we’ve not listened to those with fancy degrees crying wolf, hope your conscience let’s you sleep with the “truth”.

  3. Mr. Gupta’s line seems to be that India’s numbers are largely unquestionable. But the ground reality may not be exactly the same. At least I have come across a first hand exasperation from a health worker that there are so many cases that they are not in a position to report all and also that he was not sure whether some deaths were of this pandemic or natural.
    Further, whether testing is enough in India is a question that has as many correct answers as there are those replying. With asymptomatic cases in the rise, it is anybody’s guess whether numbers are reliable if testing is not enough.

  4. These explanation are comments from regular news media or mass media channels. We need more scientific study on this, to predict.
    How many infected, should not be the issue. How many succumbed to virus is more important. Covid, spreads fast, but kills less, as compared to its previous clones. How many will recover when there is no cure available, is the subject matter and better to invest time in analyzing it.
    In spite of Jaamia episode and low testing rate, we are seeing low causalities, indicates some thing else. All scientific and data science, predicted during March 1st week have withdrawn their statement on India due to their pure mathematics or statistics. Spread also depends on the culture, geographical location and behavior of the region.
    This virus is going to stay for a year or so, until a cure arrives, but, it is our immunity system, which can fight it all alone. There are more asymptomatic persons carrying virus like a common cold virus, but are perfectly healthy. Tomorrow, medicine like a peppermint, may cure this, who knows, like an expectorant chews.
    Need of the hour is to reduce the spread as much as possible since we do not know what is the level of immunity at present, however, we are more strong as compared to other western nations so far. Reduce the causalities. Once, a person gets this and clears, he generates the immunity towards this, and possibility of second infection is rare.

  5. Mr Gupta,
    This is an interesting article, though not all of your articles are the same. Because you are looking at a political angle of this pandemic, perhaps you should comment on Suzanne Arundati Roy’s interview too. At the moment your credibility is very low, though you are trying to enhance it. Thus, your
    candid opinion on Indian govt committing almost a genocide on Muslims will be very welcome!

  6. There is nothing to gloat when number of mortalities are a low number. Any death is sad and destroys families. Real issue is the man made communal virus that is all over the place in India. Just few days back 55 Indians were massacred in north Delhi and Delhi Police, ministers and bureaucrats stood and did nothing . So until this communal virus is controlled society will only go downhill. So problem I is fixing this communal virus. Once this issue is addressed India will generate real good will.

  7. Yes , I agree with Shekhar Gupta that western media had exaggerated the numbers which India might have faced but ur missing a fact that all South Asian and African nations are faring well , scientists and researchers are yet to come up with an explanation but there seems to be a connect between warmer temperatures and R0 value of coronavirus , may be the virus stays less longer in air compared to colder countries which are witnessing the worst impact

    India’s main challenge lies ahead , because a economic disaster is looming ahead for India , NPAs would pick up , FPIs have already exited the stock market in droves , March had a record FPI pullout , our demand is at all time low , considering the way Indians prefer saving over consumption , the scars of coronavirus might further decrease their consumption spending , Migrants would be reluctant to go back in near future , Tourism Industry would be the worst hit , global demand is gonna git rock bottom and exports would decline

    We were already on a steep spiral decline before Coronavirus hit us , now it is really difficult to imagine , as to how the economy would again pick up , large scale unemployment would come back to haunt us

    It is important govt prioritizes migrant workers , lower rung of population before bailing out big corporate houses which have deep pockets to weather the storm

  8. I agree with you Shekhar ji.i am a Doctor in Kerala and can see quality care being given.the PM Shri Modi and CM of Kerala Shri Pinarayi Vijayan needs to be complimented.and also the common citizen of India.Jai Hind.

  9. Some of the comments here. Oh my god. Everyone is a WhatsApp University educated expert. Quoting unknown sources. Just proves how “apt” the headline and the whole article is.

  10. Absence of evidence, Mr. Gupta, is not evidence of absence! Without the kind of comprehensive testing that has been done in other countries, your argument that India has done better is really rather specious. Let us look at the facts, even in India, the number of samples tested have shown a linear relationship with the number of positive cases. Now if you consider the fact, that in a populous state like Bihar only 8000 samples have been tested so far, your argument that not a great number of cases exist in India just falls flat. One of my relatives recently travelled back from Delhi to Madhubani, he did the reponsible thing and went to get tested but was denied testing. He then had to go the route of calling up some influential people and pester the doctor himself before testing could be done. Now we hope his test results come back negative, but that just explains to you that if an educated, moderately influential person in Bihar has to jump through hoops to get tested, do you believe that the people who are most vulnerable, the poorer sections of our society are getting tested and such cases are being reported? Another question that a “senior” (no pun intended!) journalist like you should ask is whether the data being reported is for the individuals tested or the samples tested in India — initially both was being reported in India but, i believe since the start of April they are only reporting the number of samples tested. There are many flaws in the way that data is being collected and presented in India, so please stop being an apologist for this Government”s botched up response to the Covid crisis. It is another thing, that electorally these things may or may not matter but giving a free pass to the government, it does not really suit any journalist, surely not one like you!

  11. Coupta ji lost credibility the moment he called New York Times as “venerable.” This racist raga regularly pisses on India, but Gupta ji grovels before the white man.

  12. Unbelievable that you wrote there are no bodies in the drains. Do you wish to see that before taking action Mr Gupta? Are you not aware that at a premier govt Hospital in Mumbai, if people are brought dead, they are not even tested even though cause of death is shown to be respiratory failure, because the govt has not yet procured sufficient test kits? Just on Friday, there were 6 such cases of death, that failed to test for COVID. That’s 1 hospital in 1 city. This is a testing policy by the govt. so it is happening everywhere as doctors try to save lives. By any chance does it occur to you the scale of under reported deaths we will see in rural India which are currently not tagged to pandemic, simply because rural India has near zero testing capability? Please open your eyes to best practices around the world and acknowledge how far we need to catch up before you bring your arguments to the table. Articles like this, which foster an eyewash of the real issues, lower the reputation of your esteemed publication. CoVid does not seem to have gone viral yet for one reason and one reason only, grossly inadequate testing. It’s like saying black money does not exist in India because IT Dept no longer scrutinizes IT returns.

  13. Unbelievable that you wrote there are no bodies in the drains. Do you wish to see that before taking action Mr Gupta? Are you not aware that at a premier govt Hospital in Mumbai, if people are brought dead, they are not even tested even though cause of death is shown to be respiratory failure, because the govt has not yet procured sufficient test kits? Just on Friday, there were 6 such cases of death, that failed to test for COVID. That’s 1 hospital in 1 city. This is a testing policy by the govt. so it is happening everywhere as doctors try to save lives. By any chance does it occur to you the scale of under reported deaths we will see in rural India which are currently not tagged to pandemic, simply because rural India has near zero testing capability? Please open your eyes to best practices around the world and acknowledge how far we need to catch up before you bring your arguments to the table. Articles like this, which foster an eyewash of the real issues, lower the reputation of your esteemed publication. I wish you would investigate the real issues that we are seeing on the ground – hunger, shortage of PPE and test kits, illegal arm twisting of deducting one month’s pay from frontline healthcare workers, etc. If we as a country don’t acknowledge it, we won’t solve this problem.
    Also, tomorrow if economy opens, how do I know I am not sitting next to an infected asymptomatic person? No economy should reopen until they have reached a minimal sample size of testing. We are far behind the sample size, so let’s stop this foolish self congratulatory trend and make India a laughing stock. CoVid does not seem to have gone viral yet for one reason and one reason only, grossly inadequate testing. It’s like saying black money does not exist in India because IT Dept no longer scrutinizes IT returns.

  14. I see that there is a lot of emphasis on testing by Western media including the view that the the current data favours India because of lack of testing . Let us presume the worst that more people are affected by the virus. After almost 45 days of India being affected, can India hide deaths. Has the death rate in India increased abnormally over the last 45 days excluding Corona related deaths? Are people assuming that India is cremating or burying secretely? Is it possible with State Governments headed by Opposition in many States? India is not China where only State run media provides news. We have channels like NDTV, traditional press like Indian Express and The Hindu which are waiting for the Government to make mistakes to bring it to limelight. As of today, none of them have been able to bring out any data manipulation. As regards India having low infection rate due to heat, read about the pandemics that India has faced earlier. WHO in its communications has said there is no enough evidence to say the virus cannot survive heat. The main reason for the control of this pandemic according to me are two factors 1. Close cooperation by State and Central Governments 2. Self control by majority of Indian citizens.

  15. A good read.
    I agree with Shekhar. India is not offering a juicy tragedy to International media and influencers. Lock down has been vwry harsh. But bitter dose was required to save lives. All need to be continously careful because the virus is still there. The expert opinion is that lock down till 15 May is very likely to provide COVID free India by 15 Sep 2020 and lock down till 30 May will ensure COVID free India by 15 June 2020. The call is tough.

  16. The responsibility of convincing everyone that data is correct – verified and validated is on the who is making claims of accuracy. It is good if others can support or counter it. But it is secondary, at least in this case.

  17. There is no data available on public platform of anything related to COVID except daily numbers… It hope as a news media you are getting a better data. The real data is How many tests were conducted per day. Rate of positive cases per 100 tests, rate of self reported positive cases and the clinical condition of the persons at that time of self reporting… Testing strategy adopted in testing the patients, is it rapid antibody testing? Data of asymptomatic COVID positive patients. There is lot of data required to bring out actual course and predictions… Without this or without any such data… It is all Alice in wonderland.

  18. Shekhar gupta…. Today you have shown courage and optimism. Its a very redeeming piece. Congratulations. Can a leopard change its spots? Doubtful. Can a leopard try? For sure.

  19. The story smells like “who is right“ while everyone in the media has a right to question and express views . Unfortunately, till we KNOW how many people are affected in India and are without symptoms there is no way to say about the virus impacts. Second, we are in a LOCKDOWN that does not allow spreading, no doubt, brings down or flattens the curve of suffering and deaths. When it is all done and dusted After the lockdown is over, that may take anything from Months to even years to know the real health impact of the virus. Currently we know how many positive and how many die that’s all. Yesterday study from California predicted a low mortality rate in a population if you know how many people are infected. There are many stairs to climb yet Shekhar ! Hard to say who is right.

  20. Interesting,like every thing else that befalls India some how she SPIRITUALITY & materially survives to live another century on going with her unbroken continous civilization.good luck recoup India &move onnn.Nanastee…

  21. Shekhar Ji, i have become a big fan of your reporting, with media houses divided and influenced by their political leaning if not funding sources, i find print making a real attempt to present things as it is, without trying to paint it with what your political leaning might be. We need more of this type of journalism, rather than right wing version or left wing version of truth.

  22. I’m not sure which Western media house you are following, the ones which I’m following does not have such a grim picture that you have portrayed. Many of them have actually praised Kerela for bending the curve. There might be some skipticism but no one is in disarray as you have written.

  23. Hi Shekhar,

    I completely agree with you on your assertions. Infact all predictions of thousands dead and millions infected before april were lazy attempts at analysis.
    However i do not agree with your counter assertions. The 5 day moving average growth rates that shamika puts up is a sham. What should be worrying is that about 5% people are still testing positive, new hotspots and clusters are appearing every day and the ratio of % recovered vs % dead hasnt changed much over last few weeks.

  24. Amazingly naive and misguided analysis from a senior journalist. What eactly is your point? The danger has passed? Prophets of Doom have been exposed? India is Great? setting up a software company while believing in God and discounting data is better than acquiring fancy degrees — what, pray is your point?

    Should we have ignored the model estimates that came from people with fancy degrees? Should we have listened to Narayana Murthy on Covid19, left it to God and ignored the data?
    Should we applaud the government for declaring a harsh lockdown without preparation and then leaving it to the States to fend for themselves? When the Kerala CM appears on TV to give truthful and practical updates everyday, should we applaud the Central Government for behaving like the Big Boss, appearing once in 15 days to ask citizens to be dutiful?
    When politics — and divisive politics at that — keeps emanating from embedded journalists even in these difficult times?
    Moreover, 1200 people on any normal day die in India of diahorrea. Do we see our drains filled with dead bodies? Since when, and on what grounds have we decided that unless corpses appear in drains, an epidemic is not worth our attention?
    Finally, apart from your cronies, do also mention http://www.covd19india.org where a group of volunteers with fancy degrees are collecting data from the ground painstakingly to bring out an amazingly vivid and unbiased picture. They are doing a far better job than you journalists.

  25. You’re giving a publicity-seeking NRI academic hack whom a large section of India’s media sidled up with to demonstrate it’s biases and prejudices, a free pass. This is your page – I won’t name the so and so here – but you might consider naming and shaming him, even if that might reflect poorly upon former colleagues of yours for lapping up every lie that came from him, claims of Johns Hopkins backing his drivel being the least of them. India has many brilliant and scrupulously honest academics. Giving an NRI academic liar a pass just because he is an alumnus of an institution that some might slobber over, does a disgrace to the hard working experts in India whose laudable work gets sidelined in the public eye due to the exotic liar’s motivated lies, damned lies, and statistics.

    There are those of us who live away from India, who also are alumni of “name” institutions, and who are happy to recognize the hard work being done in India while some of our desi PT Barnums return to India and hog the attention only because they live outside. Please, Mr Gupta, let’s stand up for the “small guys” (giants, actually, for the work that they do!) and not hesitate to name the crooks who concoct and fabricate falsehoods to paint India in ugly colors in a way that hides good work that is being done. Best wishes!

  26. You are doubting if the BBC would run a story on Britain like the one it ran on Mumbai hospital. Well, it has boldly told off no less than the British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, during war time! Thatcher was angry on it because it was maintaining neutrality between Britain and Argentina during the Falkland war. When Thatcher criticised it for its neutrality, it told her, a widow in Britain was no different from a widow in Argentina! Would an India medisa outlet tell Modi the same, that a widow in India is no different from a widow in Pakistan or China, during a war between the two countries? British media has criticised their government even during big wars.

    If Chloroquine has become “contentious”, that is not because because Trump is prescribing it, and Modi dispensing it. It is because the scientists and doctors think it is a Malaria drug, and may not be good enough to fight coronavirus. Trump himself has said that he is not a doctor, but doesn’t see what he has to lose if he tried it. A doctor had issued a rejoinder that he had his life to lose!

    Bill Gate has always been a well wisher of India. Didn’t he give a grant of $100 million for AIDS control? His prediction about the number of AIDS cases in India went wrong, as the predictions would go wrong sometimes. But he was also very prescient in his 2015 speech, in which he warned that the greatest risk to humanity was not nuclear war but an infectious virus that could threaten the lives of millions of people!

    Yes, the western media, like the Indian media, has been critical of the India government about thousands of stranded, jobless, hungry migrant workers trying to walk back home hundreds of miles. On the other hand, you ought to ask, why India has failed to convince the westabout its handling of the coronavirus crisis? It has also failed to convinced the west about what it did in Kashmir, and then about CAA, NRC, etc. Even the Indian origin lawmakers in the US are not convinced! The foreign minister, Jaishankar, refused to talk to the Indian-origin lawmaker Pramila Jayapal. On top of Kashmir, the CAA, and the Delhi riots, come the pictures of the migrants walking back hundreds of miles home! There are Indian writers, living in India, writing critically about India’s handling of coronavirus in foreign newspapers!

  27. Hahaha. Moderation is an excellent ploy to escape amswering difficult questions. In short a farcical commitment to facing criticism. Goenkaji may be turning in his grave. Pathetic

  28. So here is Shri Gupta, joining the race to the bottom of the pit. Kudos! Maybe its the safest strategy given the way law enforcement agencies have been busy targeting journalists falling foul of the central govt, with even the virus failing to stem their enthusiasm. While appreciating your pragmatism and self preservation skills, one must still try to set the record straight, with the media clearly not being in position to do so.

    Its a shame really that you need to follow the IT cell footsteps and create this category of “others” and then decrying them while holding forth the flag aloft for the some vague notion of achievement. The Indians you decry are as much patriots as you or others of your band, or perhaps even more. They worry because they care. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Since you pointedly decry the intelligensia with their fancy degrees, they worry because they likely know more and can therefore think through more. Kindly note what the respected epidemiologist Dr. Fauci had to say recently regarding Covid19 – If it looks like you’re overreacting, you’re probably doing the right thing.

    If fatality rates are actually low in India, we can count it as a blessing. Maybe we are lucky for some reason – BCG vaccine, Genes, weather, so many things. Is it an achievement of some sort to gloat over? For some maybe, but a for a journo with your experience and standing?!
    Or maybe its just the hammer of the lockdown that has prevented this thing to spiral over and kept the numbers low. Once the lockdown is withdrawn, in whatever way, how will the spread go, is anybody’s guess. But dont the side effects of the hammer count for anything? We may havesome numbers for COVID19 fataility, but what if we suddenly start seeing higher numbers for people dying from hunger and malnutrition?
    Or maybe the numbers are actually bad. Maybe we are not classifying some of fatalities as due to COVID. Maybe its something else. Surely you can recall the NSO report leak with alarming unemployment numbers before the central elections in 2019 and how that was portrayed as a draft with incorrect reportage by the central govt. Only for the same report to be accepted after the elections.
    Its no crime to try to envisage different scenarios, try to share thoughts with the govt agencies, share expertise, etc.
    Its no crime to have done the hard work to reach Harvard.
    Its no crime to be a patriot and not a nationalist.

  29. we had two advantages. our climate is hot humid tropical. our population is younger 96% of covid infectons are in climate less than 17 degrees. .

  30. Shekhar Gupta,
    Your journalistic style is becoming too predictable now: take a contrarian view vis-a-vis the majoritarian discourse, sugar-coat it with self-serving data-points and appear as an out-of-the-box wizard.
    Btw, the patent on this style is held by a 56-inch chest-wallah. So ,are you taking the first tentative steps towards your bhaktisation. Best of luck !!

    • Haha…this is hilarious Hynes!
      So true
      Plus, can’t believe a senior journolist like him won’t fact-check before posting (wrongfully attributing the data comment to Murthy)

  31. Nice to see that our reporting is coming of age at last. One always felt that when it comes to reporting on India, ‘good reporting’ is only if you found things wrong. It was as if nothing right can ever happen in our country. What a pleasant change. Yes, we have a long way to go and many connected issues to be tackled. But we seem to be doing a satisfactory job in fighting this calamity, so far. Let’s be proud of it. There’s nothing wrong in saying it in so many words as has been stated here by Mr Shekhar Gupta here.

  32. India , for a developing country , has done remarkably well under the leadership of our PM . When one looks at the mess in the developed world with their world class systems and what not , one has to commend what India has managed so far .But of course , it is not the end of the story as yet , unless a cure or vaccine is invented , we could still get in to trouble . But one suspects , the lock down , social distancing & other government measures may have worked , the Covid 19 is somewhat defanged in Indian circumstances , the truth about this theory will be revealed when the lock down is relaxed and it turns out that Indians are being infected at the same rate as the developed nations but some how the deleterious effects are not as damaging as in the developed nations .

  33. Shekhar ji, Will you do an article on west’s misrepresentation of India’s polity by focusing on their selection of Indian authors of opinion pieces about India? How can journalism by the vaunted NYT, Atlantic, WaPo and the likes be so one sided? Have they forgotten the basics of journalism? Or anything to defeat the “fascists” as defined circularly by the same set?

    (In a lighter vein.. I can’t decide if Shekhar ji is genuinely a left-of-center but genuine liberal or he is presenting himself as a gateway drug to the way-left-of-center anti-Modi writers at the the print, with an occasional Makarand thrown in).

  34. BBC probably had more of Pak origin journalists who obviously have anti India agenda.Mr Gupta needs to do some research in this direction

  35. Modi is winning.
    He has a gift none of his eight predecessors, from Manmohan Singh to Rajiv Gandhi, had: Being able to speak directly and convincingly to a large enough section of Indians who will take his word for gospel, and his order like a papal bull. Shekhar Gupta

  36. Print is doing good job but they should avoid publishing stupid raciest article like they did with Ravinder Jadeja story

  37. > you can’t handle the truth<
    This is the Devil's advocate argument but let us address it.
    By Lockdown – only one thing that was already proven has been proven.
    The MOST crudest and disabling version works.
    This required sacrifice from most and gloating from a few.

    It was a purchase at a high cost to the individual for which he/she has paid – not the government.
    What did we do with that : WE bought time.
    How did we use the time- to GLOAT and be GOAT.
    This should have been used scientifically to collect – proper verifiable data which could be used to make policy for future relaxation.
    We have used the data to justify what did not need to be justified.

    Yes, you are right – not only now , even in future -You won't be able to handle the truth

  38. Dear Mr Gupta,

    I expect from a good journalist critical examination of data. Be it from central or state government. Not triumphalism. In a country where death certificates are not written, not filled in properly or gone missing, how can you be so disposed to mirth? Even if in rural areas a dozen of people would die per day more due to Covid 19, would it appear in any governmental state statistics, what the cause of death was?

  39. This is desi Chandrasekaran unlike zenophobic one from far offl lands.
    Sekharji tests karwayiye
    Malum hojayega
    Everyone wants it to end. But as i earlier also requested please have some guts to ask questions about Gujarat. 48 dead. Gujarat model. Patgetic health infra.
    If at all no is less it is due to tremendous work on the part of state govts like kerala, tn, odissa, chatisgarh, rajasthan and even UP
    Gujarat? And feb 22 you remember and too frightened to remember. Come on !!! Show you have spine

    • Who can forget feb 22nd. Those 3 days Of naked dance when 55 Indians were butchered on the streets of Delhi and this same govt looked other way. Let’s make each and every death accountable. Weather it is Modi or Trump.

  40. Mr. Shekhar Gupta, you are playing a wily and double game trying to be over smart. If you have guts, openly credit the Modi government for it’s untiring efforts on coronavirus fronts. If you guts, openly discredit the anti-nationals, infamous Columbia University tutored Siddharth Varadarajan and his gang in Editor’s Guild. You are singing different tunes there as President of EG and here as a dishonest journalist. Shame on you.

  41. Shekar ji,
    Sincerely hope you’ve not jumped the gun a la Bro Ghebreyesus and Bro Fauci and Bro Trickster & so on so forth.
    The voice of sanity in these awful times.

  42. The pandemic in India Decluttered you ( a hard core clutter wala ) . Some decluttering ? Some Shekhar ? Eh ? Oongli kaato !

  43. Don’t follow economists. They are failed mathematicians, scientists, doctors and physicists given a hall pass to live in the knowledge economy. If 2×2 charts and datasets plucked out of govt reports can assure you, we may also believe in flying pigs. Fact a lot of Indians agree or disagree with anything says a lot about the content of the piece. A terrible fluff piece and I mean it with utmost respect.

  44. When people outside India and also over enthusiastic pseudo-intellectuals predicted that dead bodies will be rolling out in thousands, fortunately, India seems be still in hundreds (sad that so many did die), but the over all count increase from 3 days to 8 days is heart warming, plain truth that social distancing and lockdown is effective so far, except in few pockets and few sections of society. People do say that in Kerala, they are not reporting death due to COVID-19 and most the new positives are treated by anti-biotics and never reported as COVID-19 positive cases. This could be like Wuhan under reporting. But still, the mortuaries in Kerala is not that full, nor the grave yards. Indian media has one thing for sure has learnt from western media, “Don’t trust your own government”. And create as much stories as the time is fast running out given that COVID-19 may not stay long for they story board. For reality check, we need to visit this page in mid August 2020 to see how India fared. Too early to call it a day.

  45. For the column’s optimism to be validated all the way up to the end of the pandemic would be the best thing that can happen to India. God’s grace and compassion. India is still on a rising curve, although the rate of doubling of cases has slowed. Whether the federal government’s preparations and response deserve all the credit is hard to say. After limiting the human toll, the forbidding task will be to restore livelihoods.

  46. Shekhar ji
    From all the comments before mine I realise one thing
    Damned if you do and damned if you don’t!

  47. The BBC is truly an international institution as it focuses so completely on other nations that news from Britain is a low priority. For example during this ongoing pandemic all it’s attention is on Italy, Spain, US, Iran, Brazil and other badly hit countries. It’s heart bleeds more for future possible deaths in poorer countries like India, South Africa etc. then for the far greater deaths at home. It’s coverage of PM Boris Johnson’s illness and stay in hospital would have done the erstwhile Soviet Union proud and will most probably find it’s way into ‘censorship training’ manuals in China and North Korea. Only the credulous, those who believe that British colonialism was a force for good and those with a deep rooted inferiority complex treat the BBC as the word of God. Goes without saying that this applies to most media organisations in the Anglo Saxon world.

    • Absolutely agree with this. BBC tops the list for being most boring and biased (one-sided) when it comes to presenting news on India. However, for words on British Royalty., evaluating the mediocre Andy Murray, or anything to do with national pride, it behaves like a fawning mouthpiece. At least Sky News tries to take a middle position. The lesser said of the Western print media, the better.

      • Oh yes! I totally agree with you. There’s plenty of the ‘Cat ran away with the neighbor’s dog’ variety British news.

    • BBC’s coverage in the recent past has been shockingly slanted. If you type “India” in the search box on the website you will find nothing but negativity, a neutral observer would think that the country is falling off the cliff.

      The articles often don’t even have the names of the writer, a basic rule of journalism that is not followed.

      During the coverage of repealing of Article 370, articles began with the statement “BBC has heard”. Since when did hearsay become a creditable source of information, especially for a topic where we know that there has been massive amount of misinformation being spread by all sides.

      I don’t expect them to be flag bearers of the establishment or even believe what the govt says, but the fact is that they have all sense of objectivity and are no longer a credible source of news.

    • ” It’s coverage of PM Boris Johnson’s illness and stay in hospital would have done the erstwhile Soviet Union proud and will most probably find it’s way into ‘censorship training’ manuals in China and North Korea. Only the credulous, those who believe that British colonialism was a force for good and those with a deep rooted inferiority complex treat the BBC as the word of God. ” Well said.!!! Glad people do notice such biased coverage by BBC. The viewers get high blood pressure by watching their almost racist coverage!

  48. As always very nice summary of what is happening in India. As far as Coronavirus spread is concerned, the comparison countries are Pakistan and Bangladesh, and not the Europe or the USA. Simply because we must compare countries having similar climatic conditions. It is true that Coronavirus is under check in India but reasons for this are still in the fog of the future. It is not rocket science, as to what is needed to stop the virus – lockdown, tracing, testing, preparing hospitals etc and searching for effective treatment. Each country has to adapt its own strategy to target, scale-up and fine-tune, these interventions to get best outcomes. Key question is – are we in India doing these things right or just praising ourselves because we have been lucky to have the hot climate.

    • True, we should be focussed on doing things right and take advantage of the climate here….
      Test a lot, make sure that after lifting of lockdown, we don’t let it multiply from the residuals.
      Also, make things better for the migrants and plan a calibrated strategy to reach them to their villages to avoid the sudden rush after the lockdown is lifted and trains restarted.

  49. Mr. gupta,

    The facts are simple:
    1. you have no data whether your neighbor who’s coughing is corona infected or not
    2. Someone who dies, whether they died of corona or not

    When you can show the data, I will believe your theories.

    Best.

    • I think that was his point. There is data but you dont want believe it. So instead of saying – correct the data – you should bring the counterfactual

    • Your are right on the dot. There is no way to know reality until there is a proof at least statistical one. There can’t be proof without verification and validation. This is not possible until there is rigorous testing which is also good to become basis for sound policies.

      I would say instead of being complacent PM Modiji should give resources – money, food grains, testing kits, protection kits etc as most of the resources are with center even though state a the front line in the battle against the virus. You don’t want ignore those who don’t have house balconies or front yards.

      Let us remember virulence of virus remains same and there is no way to avoid testing to identify and control the spread as transmission can be asymptomatic.

    • Does ur neighbours died u moron. I like in apartment complex of 1700 flats. Multiply by two. No reported case in my community. As matter of fact we have bright entire area on app platform and numbers were extacty matched with gov data.

      No need to expalin to morons like u.

  50. Perhaps the problem lies in the absence of agency among Indian stakeholders – whether economists, media or administrators, to put the positive story across. Most of the academics interviewed in the Indian media, for example, are not seen on American or British television. We must find ways to locate ourselves more publicly and for our (non-hysterical) voice to be heard. Having said that, I must say that Gupta’s ‘Cut the Clutter’ does a better job at staying neutral (most often) than the editorials which steer toward sentiment.

  51. An easy conclusion to draw from this article is that Shekhar is turning bhakt without any sense of guilt!
    Keeping that aside, there is no doubt that India has handled this crisis well and Modi did act timely, decisively and effectively. He allowed the teams to work effectively and collectively. Hence, despite many constraints inherent in our health system, we have controlled the situation. The period of last one month or so also shows that we are capable of engineering lot of things required – ventilators, testing kits, N-95 and N-99 masks, innovative products and technologies and also re-discover that we can make required APIs ! It also indicates that our funding of research and development on health related ares have been totally inadequate and we were happy to import cheaper things from China all the time. This is a major gain for the country and hopefully, we develop total self reliance in this area soon. We could also observe for the first time, PM and all the CMs working together effectively. We could see how effectively Yogi managed to get stranded migrants out of Delhi or students from Kota. In Kerala, we saw RSS and SFI working together to feed migrants! Similarly, Kerala, TN, Maharahstra, Delhi CMs were seen working hard and effectively. We had India working at its best.

    It does not matter who says what and in particular, from the western world. In the NDTV program by Pranoy Roy where he talks to so called world’s best, we know what quality of advises these bests have to offer compared to sound knowledge and wisdom contained in say, interview in The Print with our desi Dr. Gangakhedkar or any one from AIMS or even usual government babus like in the recent ‘Off the cuff with CEA,”.

    But we are on for a long haul on corona but reigning in the growth of infection has given us a good time to get required infrastructure in place. The real fight is to be fought by people themselves by wearing masks,hand gloves, following cleanliness, avoiding crowded places and protecting old. But a confident India has emerged and will be ready for any such emergency in future.

    Of course, Modi hai to Mumkin hai!! But I hope Shekhar goes back to being sickular soon; he is not out of the world in that space!

    • You left me a bit confused, Mr. Surendra Barsode. Why would a “Modi hai to Mumkin hai” announcing gentleman remark ” Shekhar is turning bhakt without any sense of guilt!”. Is he not allowed to be objective, which he, esp. during his IE days, he mostly has been? Having said that, it’s a pleasure reading your comments.

    • Seriously? What nonsense! Print is doing an excellent job, at least for us simple folks who want a balanced view of things.

  52. Sirji , please do not compare India with others. We all know how our government handled as none you guys have done a fact check. You all continue to whip TJ event but ignore what was spread rate from other events including the large gathering organised to welcome Trump and several other gathering which continued well after TJ event. And what about Physical Distancing measure which was not put in place from the day we got first case in Kerala and why there was no curbs all large gatherings. Though I don’t rely foreign media or see their discussion. Let us look inwards first. Imagine the government can organise special bus to bring back special children from Kota (which indeed I welcome on humanitarian ground), why the children could not have been educated to maintain physical distance,. Why no such gesture to migrants struck in various places. If even now physical distance cannot be maintained by majority, what moral right we have to attack TJ which does not pardon the organisers for what they did.

    • Mr Nagarajan, I hope you know how this virus spread, all over world various Govt. ask a person to isolate 14 days if they have any symptoms or coming from virus affected country.
      By your login if it happens during Trump visit to India, there were couple of hundred thousands gathering in that event and by now Ahmedabad / Gujarat could become another Wuhan / New York it did not happen so please keep your rubbish argument with you.
      In case of TJ there were hundreds of person came from overseas having symptoms of virus and they spread themselves all over India. Main point is people who visited TJ is hiding and not coming forward for test. You may not have any idea of seriousness of this in India as our density of population is so high, once it become out of control you cant trace any one.

  53. “In God we trust. The rest of you bring data.”

    Someone else I think said that. There are several claimants, but certainly not NRN. NRN has other credits — one of the pioneers of techno-labour shopping (“techno coolies” as some call it).

  54. Why is it that Shekhar Gupta sees events unfolding in India in right direction while many jernos and authors writing for ThePrint in left direction? Isn’t a clever way of balancing the politics? There are so many stories appearing on daily basis that degrade ThePrint. If ThePrint has to become a leading news portal, it should stop stories that are not only mere political opinions but a platform for propagation of manufactured facts. Except Modi haters turned India haters, everybody knows that librandus have gone insane and have no way of reclaiming what they have lost to nationalists. The roles among Librandus and nationalists are perfectly reversed i.e. librandus becoming most illiberal and nationalists embracing liberalism.

    • If you think all journos in Print should sing the same tune you should know trend of the tune also changes with time. This too shall pass.

  55. Well written but you haven’t explored the fact that we are seeing one of the lowest testing rates among major countries. I would like to believe that India is fairing as well as you say, but the suspicion arises because of low testing numbers. Another aspect is that so many foreign returnees entered in Feb/March could be asymptomatic carriers when screening was only for fever and flu symptoms. A number of cases have come up where vguidelines for home quarantine for such returnees have been violated. The government has taken strong action,no doubt, but the numbers still seem suspicious. You call for data, but it is exactly the lack of testing data that people are suspicious about.

  56. Gupta Saheb , a very thought provoking and very informative article. Kudos to you. But who’s line you’re towing ? Have you received a well deserved ” Padma ” ? If no then it’s a great effort and if yes then an effort is wasted.

  57. “Would they run a story like that on Britain,……..” The point is hot whether BBC would run the story in Britain or not BUT whether what they said was FACT

  58. In the month of Ramazaan we hope the Covid-19 Coronavirus can be Knocked Out and can be eradicated because Ramazaan is a month of Blessings and Mercies. If all the people in the the world from all religions decide and start fasting in Ramazaan and supplicate to One Almighty God by praying with a pledge that they worship only One God and follow His commandments and refrain from committing sins and help the poor and hungry by all means and carry on the message of truth. If the world can do that just for a month to eradicate the Virus by God’s Will, then there is no better and cheaper deal than this to come out from the greatest calamity.

  59. Bravo! Why is media in general in our country is failing to see truth from such perspective ! The world of intellectuals and their indian stooges were expecting a slumdog millionaire kind of exotically filthy body piling reality out of India isn’t it ?Way to go shekhar gupta and Print!!

    • Absolutely right. It is disheartening to the western media that the body bag numbers in India are not piling up. Forget about the statistics and numbers being reported by the government, if there is an element of truth, we would be seeing hospitals being overrun by patients and dead being found on streets daily. Is that happening daily.? No. So before being overridden by envious suspicion and bring the old narrative on how India always fails and there is always a tragic story to be seen coming by default from India, it is time that these western journos, introspect what is happening in their own companies and where the governance is falling short, before commenting on India’s case and suspect the numbers, portray as if the entire country is somehow hiding the “facts” which they(western journos) want to see and hear so delightfully, which to their distress is not happening on the ground. I would say tough luck to these folks with colored lenses

    • Why you are commenting prematurely ??…At least in crisis, reporters should learn not yo be anxious and study, watch, wait and then write,,,this is one opportunity for journalists to correct their approach…This will help them in long term

  60. The world always talks through it’s back side when talking about India. When polio eradication was started in Indua in early 1990s, the “wisemen” brt Polio can never be eradicated in Undia, it was impossible to immunise the entire country on a single day. the National Immunization Day. 2014 Insia was declared Polio Free and maintains it.
    Unfortunately we have media and Elitist crowd and the China loving Marxists who will always disparagingly if India, and NYT , BBC, Economist, Washington Post will quite experts and write off India.
    This is one of them. And adding to the heart burn of the foreign looters and colonials and their servants, it is under PM Modi’s watch its happening.

  61. Thanks for enlightening me on this. I believed the AIDS story (and so many others like it) dished out by the crooks.

  62. Oh my good lord..what a revelation that author can be a nationalist finally.

    This is the first time I have seen the author batting for India questioning the western world.

    Albeit it took a crisis of this proportion to question the western intelligentsia, propaganda, the truth is India can lead also on global stage.

    Provided we don’t seek western approval at every drop of the hat but slowly and steadily build on our relying and building in the everyday science and life.

    We trust our own. This will lead to one India, Indians and indianess.

  63. As always an excellent piece from an unbiased and sharp observer of India. Shekhar Gupta is one person not afrraid to call out liberal and western nonsense about India.

  64. Mr. Shekhar Gupta, amongst the “global commentariat” India barely barely ever gets a mention, negative or positive. So stop worrying about international reaction to whatever is going on in India. What is this paper-degree educated Indians’ obsession with what the world thinks of India when the world is not even thinking of India. You seem very boastful that India is not seeing COVID-related damage similar to what we see in New York city for example. I think being grateful is appropriate but boastful?!! For what? What has India or the govt done that is uniquely different to warrant such a boastful attitude?

    Lastly, are you the same “gentleman” who was in the supplementary charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate of India in the Rs 3,600 crore AugustaWestland chopper scam? I thought so!

  65. You may be right and I hope you are.
    But is there a scientific reason for this?
    Is this virus sparing Asians?
    Europeans and Americans are facing the brunt of it and yet China is now way down in the list on infections and India has escaped unscathed (comparitively speaking).

  66. Pakistan is doing just fine too, they have no lockdown. Both countries are doing better for the same reason: better immune systems and a weak covid virus strain.

  67. An excellent article. Let us go back in history. 1918 flu pandemic in India was the outbreak of an unusually deadly influenza pandemic in between 1918-1920 as a part of the worldwide Spanish flu pandemic. Loss of life in India: up to 12-17 million people in the country, the most among all countries or about 5% of the population. Bengal famine of 1943: Madhusree Mukerjee in her book, “ Churchill’s Secret War” has estimated loss of life of more than 5 million. Compared with these two worst natural calamities that afflicted India in the recent history, the Covid-19 has so far claimed about 400 lives. Worldwide, the toll is quite high – in excess of 1 lakh. But in the twenty first century, the media is quite strong. Pages and pages have been written, in-depth analysis is carried out in print, electronic and digital media. We do not find much information in the form of books or articles about the two calamities of the twentieth century. How would the humanity remember the Covid-19 crisis say after hundred years in 2120? My guess is that it would remembered more as an economic crisis- a depression comparable with the 1928 world-wide Great Depression, rather than as a medical calamity. By no stretch of imagination can Covid-19 be considered as an existential threat. Such a threat occurred seventy five thousand years ago. We, Homo Sapiens, were in the eastern corner of the African continent and the Toba volcanic eruption occurred in Indonesia. It ranked as the most powerful volcanic event in the last twenty five million years. It blew and unimaginable 670 cubic miles of dirt into the air which caused large areas of Malaysia and India to be smothered by volcanic ash of 30 feet thick. What followed was even worse: a volcanic winter in which vegetation and wildlife was totally devastated. Humans survived a genetic bottleneck and thereafter spread over the entire surface of the earth. Our population now exceeds more than 7.5 billion. Again I ask the same question : How would the humanity remember Covina – 19 in which say about 1.5 lakh persons are estimated to die? If we try to answer this question, we can see the pandemic in its proper historic perspective .

  68. Sir, I watch your de-clutter Series for its informative value-a bit too windy, but insightful. I wish you had talked a bit more about testing or absence of it. And it’s relationship to the data thrown at us. Also the plight of ‘migrant’ labour- lakhs of them- caught as a collateral damage in this lockdown game- could have been dealt with a bit more sensitively. I also do not see any mention of the fact that the country which on 17th January started scanning incoming international travellers, didn’t have many scenarios worked out for Covid‘a progression that when it finally came with the lockdown announcement it caught lakhs by labourers by surprise, to their utter detriment. Do you think a case for casual approach can be made out against the government?

    • Thank you for stating exactly what I was about to comment.

      Another update: government’s decision to reopen businesses subject to social distancing from April 20th (today) has already resulted in traffic jams in Mumbai. Even if we survived the first wave (which is hard to say for sure, without adequate testing) it seems like the government is tempting fate by inviting another.

  69. gupta ji that comment was not from Narayn Murthy but Edward Cummings. Murthy is not capable of this level of wisdom. After this I stopped reading.

    • Seems you stopped reading the original quote also midway , it was was by W Edward Deming and not Edward Cummings. Do note the saying about ” Half knowledge being dangerous…..”

  70. An authentic piece of corona reporting with carefully disguised jabs thrown in. Shekhar Gupta has trumped himself (pun?) in reporting it as objectively as facts dictate. A masterclass in print journalism !

  71. It isn’t exactly one-way traffic. If there are doomsayers on one side, there are also those for whom everything is a “masterstroke” irrespective of the consequences. And it is a fact that the local news media and the social media are filled with these types.
    The net result is- public discourse is now reduced to a football match – with supporters and opponents but no referee.

    One wonders why the “other side” doesn’t find a mention. Could it be because the author cannot handle the truth ?

  72. You may be right and I hope you are.
    But is there a scientific reason for this?
    Is this virus sparing Asians?
    Europeans and Americans are facing the brunt of it and yet China is now way down in the list on infections and India has escaped unscathed (comparitively speaking).

  73. Well, let’s hope this is true.
    But it also tells us that India is not really an economic and tourist hub connected to the rest of the world like Singapore or even a Brazil. Travel to India seems to consist of primarily Indians.
    Secondly, the road is a long one and it needs just one small cluster to go viral. Let’s pat ourselves a year later.

  74. It is too premature to be confidant and boasting on the data we have because for the fact that data is not enough. Cases are slow to rise because of the lockdown. That is sure. However, we have no other epidemiological details to study the scenario in India. It is so tightly guarded that it encourages distrust. Also laboratory testing is low to begin with to conclude for a population of 1380million. So please hold your horses. Even if COVID19 is controlled now, it can bring on a second wave once it is lifted. That time it will be difficult to control.

  75. Such a brilliantly written rebuttal. You said it all. Perhaps this episode of westerners even hoping for india to have many more cades has exposed their racism and feeling of european supremacy are not yet dead. Sharing this.

    • Akhil you’re so right. even after 70 years BBC and the whites can not digest that they were kicked out of India. Even some media groups in uk and USA. India is not banana republic or a military occupation. Our media and press and Supreme Court are the best in the world

  76. Excellently articulated. Very well written. I do listen to his videos on ” Cut the Clatter”. We need fair and objective journalists like Shekhar Gupta. Best wishes to you Mr.Gupta.
    Chandrasekaran Subramanian
    Currently in Houston, TX

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