Hello and welcome to Episode 17 of The Moving Curve. I’m Rukmini, and I’m a data journalist who lives in Chennai. Every night, I consider one question about the novel coronavirus epidemic in India. Tonight I’m asking one I’ve been waiting to get to — what’s a good testing strategy to get the data that we need to understand and contain COVID-19?
I interviewed Gautam Menon, professor of physics and biology at Ashoka University, and he gave me a sense of some of the things that we’re lacking vital data for: https://www.ashoka.edu.in/welcome/faculty#!/gautam-menon-1526
There are the various aspects of community transmission we need to know about, Professor Menon said. Knowing what share of patients hospitalised with other flu like diseases are testing positive is very important to understand the extent of community transmission, Professor Menon said; one such report was released by the ICMR yesterday, and I’ve linked to it: http://www.ijmr.org.in/preprintarticle.asp?id=282179
I spoke to Professor Shamika Ravi, senior fellow at Brookings India, and a leading economist who has done a lot of work on health: https://www.brookings.edu/experts/shamika-ravi/
So more testing and more clinical data will be vital to our understanding and our response. There’s clear ways to achieve it; I sincerely hope the government uses the rest of the lockdown to get moving on getting this data.
Thank you for listening. This episode was edited by Anand Krishnamoorthi. Tomorrow — a new question.