Episode 93: Thinking About Death, Beyond Left/ Right

Rukmini S
2 min readSep 6, 2020


Hello and welcome to The Moving Curve. Two nights a week on this mini-cast, I consider one question about the novel coronavirus epidemic in India. Tonight I’m considering this one — is there a space between the left/ right binary to think about covid mortality?

My reporting for IndiaSpend on missing deaths is here.

A news story about the spike in excess mortality in Mumbai in June is here.

Sachin Sharma of The Times of India wrote about Vadodara counting deaths of covid positive persons with comorbidities as “discharged” here.

My reporting for IndiaSpend on Infection Fatality Rates is here.

Murad Banaji is on Twitter.

The Greek-American Stanford University professor John Ioannidis’s article from March in which he called global restrictions “a fiasco in the making” is here.

Catherine Offord’s article calling the Santa Clara survey “how not to do an antibody survey for SARS-CoV2” is here.

The public health doctors’ letter to the PM is here.

For me personally, I find this a complex issue to form a position on, and it undoubtedly has to do with who holds which view. I’d like to think of myself as independent minded, but I’d be lying if I said that I find it difficult to find myself on the same side of an argument as Trump supporters. That of course is not a useful way of thinking about it. At best, here’s where I find myself now — covid is not like the flu — it’s concentrated intensity, especially among the elderly make it remarkable calling for remarkable measures. There’s a lot more that we don’t know about its impact even on those who contract it but do not die, and so we need to remain circumspect about its impact. But yes, we now have a fair idea of how many people are likely to die of it and it isn’t going to be very high in relative terms. So should we lift most restrictions? Well yes, because people are suffering, but while being cognizant that those who don’t have to should still restrict their movements, we should still not allow large gatherings, and we should still be prepared for significant illness, even if not significant death.

Thank you for listening. This episode was edited by Anand Krishnamoorthi. On the next episode — a new question.



Rukmini S

I am a data journalist based in Chennai, India.