As cases rise, several states go slow on data | India News


The data on Covid-19 in India put out on a daily basis by the Centre and states is severely limited, with few states being notable exceptions. Among the states, the worst offenders are Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, which release no daily data online as well as Delhi, Telangana, Jharkhand and Assam, which give only the bare minimum.
The Union health ministry gives only cumulative data on total cases, deaths, active cases and the recovered on a particular date for various states, but without any time series showing progression of the disease. The district-wise data it used to put out earlier is no longer released.
Like the Centre, Delhi too has regressed over time.
Earlier, the Delhi government’s daily bulletins gave details of the number of hospitalised cases including a break-up of how many were in ICU, on ventilators and the numbers being treated in the various government and private hospitals. It also gave hospital-wise death data and the number of new cases. From a two-page detailed bulletin, data in the public domain has shrunk to a single page with hospital-wise data, age group wise case fatality rate and other such details disappearing.
Karnataka puts out the most detailed data right down to the taluk level, followed by Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. While most states have dedicated websites linked from the health ministry site for sharing all Covid-related data, in Uttar Pradesh there is no data in the public domain. The data is shared with the media by the information department but cannot be accessed in any one place by the public. Bihar too has no website with all the data in one place. Instead, whatever data is shared is tweeted every day.
With most states providing either only cumulative data or only details of the day in their daily bulletins, anyone seeking to analyse the data has to do so by collating the data from each state’s daily bulletins or updates. Barring Karnataka, the district is the lowest administrative unit for which Covid data is available. There is no official centralised database for districts and no district-wise cumulative data even at the state-level.
Andhra Pradesh used to give district and mandal/taluk-wise data, but stopped doing so about a month ago. In Madhya Pradesh too, the amount of information given has been curbed. Earlier, information on availability of test kits used to be given, but that has been stopped.
Such wide gaps and differences in availability of data between states and the huge variation in states’ testing rates has hampered any sort of meaningful comparison of states.
A joint statement issued by the Indian Public Health Association, Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine and the Indian Association of Epidemiologists last month had urged that all data should be placed in the public domain so that experts could “access, analyse and provide real-time context-specific solutions”. It had added: “The opaqueness maintained by the Government of India as well as state governments in the context of data so far has been a serious impediment to independent research and appropriate response to the pandemic.” Unfortunately, the situation has only worsened over time instead of getting better.



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