Covid-19 Data: How Rahul Gandhi’s Cherrypicking Failed, Not The Lockdown 

Covid-19 Data: How Rahul Gandhi’s Cherrypicking Failed, Not The Lockdown 

by V Ramanathan - Tuesday, June 16, 2020 12:14 PM IST
Covid-19 Data: How Rahul Gandhi’s  Cherrypicking Failed, Not The Lockdown Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. (Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
  • The Covid-19 data put out by Rahul Gandhi has only proved that the lockdown has been effective.

Recently, former Congress president, Rahul Gandhi tweeted the following, expressing his opinion that the lockdown has been a failure.

The same has been re-tweeted by his party after adding some ridicule.

It is indeed not rocket science to look at the allied data pertaining to these countries, say the population density and Covid-19 mortality rate, for instance.

The mortality rate is obtained by dividing the number of deaths reported due to Covid-19 by the total number of positive cases.

Among the countries taken up for comparison by Rahul Gandhi, Italy and UK top the list with Covid-19 death rates of 14.451 per cent and 14.139 per cent, respectively. Spain’s death rate is 9.396 per cent followed by Germany (4.724 per cent) and India’s death rate is 2.764 per cent, the least among all the countries that Gandhi was comparing.

In light of these data which, in fact, are in the favour of the lockdown, this cherry-picking could have been avoided by Rahul Gandhi.

The following figure puts the data in better perspective by also taking into account the population density (population/area in a square kilometre).

Whereas the population density is 92.76 for Spain, and 232.80 for Germany, 199.90 for Italy and 279.90 for UK, it is 415 in India.

In the plot shown below, the population density is reported after dividing by a factor, 100, in order to have a comparable scale with respect to the mortality rate.

The effectiveness of lockdown was earlier shown by this author here and here. Briefly, our Covid-19 related numbers would have been orders of magnitude higher in the absence of lockdown.

Covid-19 Data: How Rahul Gandhi’s  Cherrypicking Failed, Not The Lockdown 

If public shaming of the central government is one part of the narrative, another is their (Congress’) obsession to score self-goals accompanied with copious blandishments from their fan media.

One of the self-goals was when Congress president Sonia Gandhi went gaga about the virus being contained in Bhilwara, Rajasthan. She attributed this solely to the timely wisdom of Rahul Gandhi. This melodrama was soon seen through and the “putra moh” (obsessed with the son) was spotted but not without a score of articles carrying this news and showering praises.

Around the same time, Rahul Gandhi tweeted the following.

It is indeed nothing wrong to boost the morale of the states where one’s own party is holding on to power. At the same time, one must not shy away from disclosing the shortcomings as all efforts must be to contain this pandemic and not merely score brownie points through virtue signalling.

But eventually when the same person is seen mocking at the entire country’s effort, it is like saying, “heads I win and tails you lose”.

Let us now look at the current scenario and dissect the data a little bit. The following colour coded map of India (taken from Wikipedia) is self-explanatory. It must be noted that Chandigarh is considered as a part of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Delhi is placed in the “others” category. Tamil Nadu is considered separately.

Following this grouping, the number of Covid-19 confirmed cases is depicted in the table (data as on 10 pm of 8 June 2020 and taken from website).

The pie charts shown below help us see the data in perspective. Whereas the first pie chart shows the individual contributions of those states ruled by the political parties grouped in the table towards positive Covid-19 cases, the second pie chart shows the corresponding cumulative population density.

Covid-19 Data: How Rahul Gandhi’s  Cherrypicking Failed, Not The Lockdown 
Covid-19 Data: How Rahul Gandhi’s  Cherrypicking Failed, Not The Lockdown 

The colour code in the second pie chart follows exactly the ones in the first pie chart. Cumulative population density is obtained by simply adding the population densities of all the respective states under the particular political power.

The number of Covid-19 positive cases, when looked in perspective of the population density of the respective states as shown in the second pie chart, further adds to the insight. It is indeed very clear that the BJP along with coalition are handling a significantly larger number of people compared to what the Congress and its coalition are handling.

These data reveal a story that the Congress, or the media who play to their tunes, never tell out. Data clearly shows that those states either ruled by the BJP or the party in coalition have done remarkably well in handling the pandemic until now.

Contrarily, those states under direct rule of Congress or where Congress is in coalition have put out an abysmal performance.

Hence it is safe to surmise that Rahul Gandhi and Congress have to do some soul-searching and own up responsibility for allowing the pandemic to spread unchecked in the states where they are either occupying the seat of power or are in close proximity to it.

It is indeed true that they are in the opposition in Parliament. But during this pandemic, they must transcend all lines of prejudice and cross the political Laxman rekha, embrace and emulate the methods that the BJP (and its coalition) have adopted to manage spread of the virus in a relatively better manner.

The Congress’ display of braggadocio while shaming the country is highly sanctimonious.

Dr V Ramanathan is Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, at the IIT-BHU (Varanasi). 

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