The Moving Curve — Episode 5

Hello and welcome to Episode 5 of The Moving Curve. I’m Rukmini, a Chennai-based data journalist. Every night, I consider one question around the novel coronavirus epidemic in India.

It’s Day 59 of the epidemic in India and today the number of confirmed cases crossed 1,100, with 27 deaths. Tonight I’m considering a question that I’ve seen many express an opinion on in the last few days: is the novel coronavirus not as lethal as people are making it out to be, and are the young and able-bodied basically safe?

My article on migrant workers: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/india-fight-coronavirus-takes-toll-migrant-workers-200324084150540.html

and on the impact on daily wage earners: https://www.livemint.com/news/india/lockdown-to-fight-coronavirus-is-going-to-hit-most-indian-workers-very-hard-11584940247186.html

Fatality rates vary widely by country right now: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/27/821958435/why-death-rates-from-coronavirus-can-be-deceiving

The Imperial College projections for the UK: https://spiral.imperial.ac.uk:8443/bitstream/10044/1/77482/5/Imperial%20College%20COVID19%20NPI%20modelling%2016-03-2020.pdf

The Indian estimate I referred to: https://medium.com/@covind_19/predictions-and-role-of-interventions-for-covid-19-outbreak-in-india-52903e2544e6

A good explainer on the potency of this virus: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2020/3/18/21184992/coronavirus-covid-19-flu-comparison-chart

The crowdsourced public database: https://covid19india-network.now.sh/

We do not want the elderly, the immuno-compromised and the less able to become collateral damage in our attempt to revive the economy. But at the same time, we cannot have daily wagers and migrant workers becoming collateral damage in our fight against coronavirus. These are tough calls but there are ways to balance the two objectives humanely, and I’ll talk about that in a new episode. But for now, let’s at least not downplay the severity of what we‘re up against.

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

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I am a data journalist based in Chennai, India.

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