India had abruptly removed the cumulative COVID case data in August 2020, leaving just active cases for the day versus cumulative recoveries and deaths, says a London based independent research group TotalAnalysis. “These numbers cannot be usefully compared to one another, while case fatality rates cannot be calculated,” states the company release. On December 19, India’s officially confirmed coronavirus cases have crossed the 10 million mark.
TotalAnalysis has published a Covid Data Transparency Index (CDTI) which shows that India scores poor 73rd position out of 100 countries and has scored below even Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. CDTI ranks countries on a variety of Covid indicators, grouped into four key pillars – data transparency, coverage, usage and management. TotalAnalysis release says that it has been monitoring and extracting official COVID data from over 200 countries and their local regions on a daily basis since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Scoring just 33 per cent overall, an effective 1-star rating, it falls significantly below the 70 per cent level that TotalAnalysis argues all countries should attain ten months into the pandemic. “For a country ranked 6th in the world in terms of GDP, India also occupies a lowly 19th position in the Asia Pacific league table of 24 countries, trailing much smaller countries, such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Kazakhstan,” states the company release.
Mike Laflin, Director of Research, Total Analysis, said “India has major issues in the areas of data coverage and data usage – both of which score a disturbingly low 16 per cent. While India’s data management merits a creditable 68 per cent, the government is delivering very weak data coverage and scores very poorly on accessibility and user-friendliness.”
Other major countries scoring less than 50 per cent and judged to be delivering unreliable Covid data include Brazil in 48th place, Russia in 57th and Turkey in 97th, while China sits four off the bottom in 96th place.
“Data credibility is critical. Low levels of public trust in government data have resulted in compliance issues, not just for India but across the world. With major gaps in the data, including reliable testing data across the provinces, the Indian government needs a systematic and comprehensive approach to its Covid data, especially with critical vaccination data approaching in 2021,” says Richard Londesborough, Co-Founder, TotalAnalysis.
Only four countries, namely Belgium, Norway, USA and Chile, have scored above 70 per cent on the world index, while at the other end of the scale sit North Korea and Turkmenistan in joint 99th position with a zero score, both countries being in “total Covid-denial” with not a single infection reported.