Episode 95: Where Does The Buck Stop On Testing?

Hello and welcome to The Moving Curve. I’m Rukmini, a data journalist based in Chennai. Twice a week on this mini-cast, I consider one question around the novel coronavirus epidemic in India. Tonight I’m considering this one — where is the accountability for a huge mistake that we have made with testing?

The data on test positivity that Mumbai now releases is here.

An article I did for India Today using the testing numbers Delhi disclosed in court is here.

Aneesha Bedi’s interview for The Print of Dr S.K. Sarin, the chief of the Delhi government-constituted expert panel on Covid, is here.

The Indian Express’s Sourav Roy Burman’s story on antigen test positivity in Delhi is here.

So that’s my question then — where is the accountability? Where does the buck stop? Should we go one allowing states to conduct more and more antigen tests knowing this is happening? Especially since states with low administrative capacity are exactly the very backward states that will conduct ever more antigen tests because their labs don’t measure up for RT-PCR tests. I find it hard to accept this throwing up of the hands, this attitude that we are telling the states but they don’t do it. We’ve got to design strategy for a state that cannot pull this stuff off, not an imagined utopia.

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

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I am a data journalist based in Chennai, India.

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