A study conducted by researchers at Stanford University in California has shown that there is a huge disparity in the way different states in India are presenting data related to the coronavirus. The study, published as a preprint on medRxiv last week, ranked Karnataka as the best state in terms of coronavirus reporting while Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were placed last.
The researchers studied public health data reporting by the states based on four parameters – availability, accessibility, granularity and privacy. The calculation of scores was done during a two-week period from May 19 to June 1.
“Our results indicate a strong disparity in the quality of Covid-19 data reporting done by the state governments in India,” the researchers wrote. “CDRS [Covid-19 Data Reporting Score] varies from 0.61 (good) in Karnataka to 0.0 (poor) in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, with a median value of 0.26.”
The researchers said that Bihar and Uttar Pradesh did not publish any coronavirus data on their government websites. Meghalaya (0.13), Himachal Pradesh (0.13), and Andaman and Nicobar Islands (0.17) are also among the states that scored the lowest in coronavirus data reporting.
Kerala (0.52) and Puducherry, Odisha and Tamil Nadu (0.51) were among the states with best coronavirus data reporting scores.
The Stanford study also found that 10 states did not report age, gender, district or comorbidity-specific data. Only 10 states presented coronavirus trends in a visual manner. The researchers also found that Punjab and Chandigarh released private information of people kept in quarantine.
The researchers said the disparity in coronavirus reporting by the states showed a lack of a unified framework for Covid-19 data in the country. “This makes it difficult to coordinate an effective nationwide response, a lack of coordination among states and inequality in access to public health information based on the state where the person resides,” they said. “Moreover, it reflects the inadequacy in coordination or sharing of resources among the states in India.”
The researchers added that the reporting scores also showed inequality in individual access to public health information and privacy protection based on the state of residence.
India reported a record 49,931 new coronavirus cases on Monday, taking its overall tally to 14,35,453. The toll rose to 32,771. More than 9.17 lakh people have recovered.