THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 19 June 2020 (Keeping count (Indian Express))

Keeping count (Indian Express)

Mains Paper 2:Health
Prelims level: Case fatality rate
Mains level: Role of case fatality rate metric to address the pandemic


• Till Monday, the case fatality rate (CFR) of India’s most coronavirus-hit state, Maharashtra, stood at 3.7%, substantially higher than the national average of 2.8%.
• A day later, the state’s CFR shot up to 4.8%. This rise is not because of a dramatic increase in COVID deaths on Tuesday.
• On a day when 81 people succumbed to the disease in Maharashtra, the state added 1,328 more deaths — 862 of them in Mumbai — to its COVID toll.
• A mismatch was noticed between the Maharashtra government’s figures and the numbers uploaded on the ICMR’s portal.

Number mismatch:

  • This exercise is only halfway through and state government officials have expressed apprehensionsthat more unaccounted deaths may emerge.
  • Maharashtra is not the only state where the fatality data of different government agencies have not tallied.
  • In May, this paper reported a mismatch between the figures of the Delhi government and that of the city’s hospitals.
  • Last week, the fatality.......................



  • Even after Tuesday’s increase, India’s CFR is almost two percentage points below the global average of 5.3%.
  • But ambiguitieshave dogged the reporting of COVID-19 deaths.
  • In mid-April, for instance, the West Bengal government admitted that it did not count 72 deaths because these were reckoned to have been caused by co-morbidities.
  • Other states are also reportedly reluctant to count all COVID deaths and have set up death audit committees.
  • Maharashtra, in fact, has two — to assess whether a death is due to the infection or a result of a co-morbidity.
  • None of the states reveal the number of cases they refer to such committees and there is a lag of several days in reporting deaths.


  • As COVID cases have surged following the easing of the lockdown, epidemiologists have underlined that the death toll is the key metric to ascertain the disease’s burden.
  • Establishing and implementing transparent and rigorous data standards to ascertain coronavirus fatalities is not just crucial to this process, it’s also essential to develop public confidence in the battle against the pandemic.
  • States must urgently correct lags and ambiguities.

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Prelims Questions:

Q1. With reference to the “India Rankings 2020” for Higher Educational Institutions, consider the following statements:
1. This is the fifth consecutive edition of India Rankings of the institutions of higher education by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
2. Dental institutions have been included for first time in “India Rankings” bringing the total tally to 10 categories / subject domains.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: ............................


Mains Questions:
Q1. Define the fatality rate. ............................................