More than a month ago, the left-liberal media in India was rallying behind one epidemiologist, who actually has a doctorate in economist, after he predicted unprecedented devastation and millions of deaths across India owing to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Several “eminent” journalists, interviewed this so called epidemiologist, Ramanan Laxminarayan who had predicted that India could have around 30 crore cases of COVID-19, and in the worst-case scenario 60 per cent of the country’s population, that is around 80 crore people, could get Coronavirus-infected based upon “mathematical modelling”.
The economist had predicted 5 million severe cases and one to three million deaths in the timeline of April 10 to May 15. It is April 24 today, and how many active cases do we have in India? 17,428 and how many deaths? 725, at the time of writing this story.
Ramanan Laxminarayan’s predictions have turned out to be horribly overstated, and his “mathematical modelling” itself seems like a catastrophic failure. But the mainstream media, both global and Indian have not stopped giving ample space to this farce of an epidemiologist, whose “mathematical modelling” is nothing more than pointless astrology.
He continues to play up fears by predicting astronomically high number of ‘severe’ Coronavirus cases in India. On March 27, barely a week after giving interviews to left-liberal journalists in India, Laxminarayan wrote for the New York Times.
A week ago his model had predicted 5 million cases, but within a week the prediction doubled to 10 million ‘severe’ cases. He also tried to paint a scary picture- predicting an apocalypse in India, at a time when the United States itself was headed towards a major disaster.
His estimates had suggested that despite the lockdown, “about a million people would still need hospital beds and critical care.”
His organisation, Centre for Disease, Dynamics and Economic Policy (CDDEP)’s bizarre predictions are completely detached from reality, while India’s containment measures have proved effective.
But the mainstream media is still giving him and his US-based organisation a lot of importance. One of the leading dailies Economic Times have published a story which features certain recommendations from his organisation, CDDEP.
Earlier, they were causing alarm about millions of cases that could absolutely ravage India. But now they have given a new spin to the narrative, that is, harshness of lockdown measures.
CDDEP now recommends lifting India’s strict lockdown and letting people below 60 years of age return to everyday life, while still observing social distancing. Ramanan Laxminarayan himself says, “We’re dealing with a trade-off against starvation, hunger, all this other stuff,” and adds that by allowing Coronavirus to spread in a controlled way, “We’re dealing with a trade-off against starvation, hunger, all this other stuff.”
He is almost promoting “herd immunity” strategy for India here, but only days ago he had himself been spreading rumours about millions of ‘severe cases’ in the country. Why this sudden change of heart?
However, days later, Ramanan and his US-based team took another U-turn probably because they want to exploit both the fronts- rumour mongering about millions of ‘severe’ cases on one hand and playing up fears of “starvation, hunger, all this other stuff” on the other.
Therefore, a sensational headline figured in Hindu Business Line on April 23 that read, “By September, India could have 111 crore SARS-COV-2 cases: CDDEP.” At the same time, this US-based organisation and its Director were also recommending lifting the ongoing lockdown that has been extended till May 3.
A day later, Ramanan Laxminarayan writes for Hindustan Times, wherein he puts up a fickle defence for his outlandish claims one again. This time he takes up the case of Delhi and cites an ICMR report about how 25% of Delhi’s population would have been infected had there been no lockdown.
So, how is it a defence for the claim of millions of cases in India? The ICMR report was based for Delhi, not the entire country. And moreover his op-ed in New York Times had predicted 10 million cases in India apart from healthcare requirement for 1 million people days after the lockdown was already enforced in India.
Even if extrapolate his ICMR-Delhi defence to the entire country, there would be 25% of India getting infected, that comes out to be around 350 million. How come his organisation is predicting 111 crore cases in the country?
It is utterly shameful that Ramanan Laxminarayan is hogging all the limelight with the mainstream media when his lies and false predictions, can clearly cause a false sense of panic and alarm in the country. False fears are as harmful as the Wuhan virus itself, and it seems that the mainstream media is only complicit with such fear-mongering from the US-based CDDEP and its Director Ramanan Laxminarayan.