Jay Naresh Dhanwant and V. Ramanathan
This is a refutation of the article titled, “Data show India’s coronavirus lockdown may not be working” written by RupaSubramanya which appeared on April 14, 2020, in the Quartz magazine (https://qz.com/india/1837337/data-show-indias-coronavirus-lockdown-may-not-be-working/). We had earlier approached the Quartz by email asking whether they will be interested to know the rebuttal to this article. With no response, we approached them through Twitter on April 18, 2020, which too did not avail any response from them. Having waited for more than a week we hereby present our refutation in this platform.
The article mainly decries the country-wide lockdown imposed in India from March 22, 2020, till April 14, 2020 (later lockdown extended to May 03, 2020). The article may be sectioned in two, the first dealing with opinions on economic losses that the country is facing and will face due to this lockdown and the second section deals with data on COVID-19 cases in India. In this refutation presented here, we mainly focus on the second section.
This article buttresses on another article that appeared in Scroll which had raised several objections on the ICMR figure of 8.2 lakh number of corona cases. Just for a quick recap, on Aril 11, 2020 ICMR in one of its press briefings announced that had there not been any lockdown India would have witnessed around 8.2 lakh corona cases by April 15, 2020. There have been several objections, questions and opinions on this figure of 8.2 lakh. Several questions have been raised on the underlying rationale for this figure.
Be that as it may, it is interesting to note that though the article’s title begins with the word ‘data’ but it is entirely bereft of it. The article merely reproduces the ICMR’s graph and another from the Worldometerwebsite which is a database that updates the total number of cases on a daily basis. Amidst all the aspersions, there is indeed an element of comic relief for those with minimum numeracy. We request the attention of the readers to the caption of the figure. For a quick reference, the ‘data’ of the article is reproduced below:
Before explicitly revealing the comic portion, a small lesson in basic logarithm is in place. In math, we write the equation a^b=c also as log_ac=b. In this, the term ‘a’ is called the base. If the base is 10, it is referred to as the base 10 logarithm or simply log. If the base is the irrational number ‘e’;