Dubious Formula Used in Map on Risk of Community Transmission
The data used for the infographic is sourced from Aarogya Setu app, which is self-reported data.
An infographic in circulation claims to show the risk of community transmission of coronavirus in various states of India. The map shows that Delhi has a risk percentage of 143 percent and Telangana has 122 percent risk of community transmission.
However, not only is the formula used in the calculation questionable but also the data used for the infographic is sourced from Aarogya Setu app which is self-reported data. Also, a statement issued by the Telangana’s health minister’s office mentioned that the infographic is “plain mischief.”
The infographic has been created by an organisation called ‘India in pixel,’ which uses the formula: 100 (Total confirmed-cured)/ Quarantined to calculate the risk percentage.
Several Twitter users have been sharing the map with alarmist claims.
Arogya Andhra, which is the official COVID-19 response handle for AP, relied on the map and stated that the risk percentage for the state is 8 percent.
The infographic is in circulation on Facebook and WhatsApp as well.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
We checked the Twitter handle of ‘India in Pixels’ and found that the organisation had replied to queries of several people related to the map. In one of the replies, they said that the map is only stating that there is a risk and that they “are not commenting on the spread or the casualties at all.”
“But still this can be a good yardstick to estimate which states might have to increase their quarantine ratios.”
In another reply, they shared the data set used in calculating the percentage of risk in each state.
DATA SET AND SOURCE OF THE NUMBERS
Let’s consider the state of Telangana. In the Github link provided by India in Pixels, the number of confirmed cases is 7,802. The number of people who are quarantined are 2,933 and those who are cured are 3,731.
So, what are the government numbers?
Telangana government, in a press release, accessed by fact-checking website Factly, mentioned that the total number of cases are 8,674, while 4,005 have been cured and the number of quarantined people are 23, 49, 551.
It quite evident that even though there is not much difference in the confirmed cases and the cured ones, there is a stark difference in the quarantined numbers between the one shared by the government and the one used in the India in Pixels’ data set.
Consequently, the end result of the formula used in the infographic also changes. Taking the government numbers in consideration, the risk percentage turns out to be only 0.198 percent.
TELANGANA GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE TO THE MAP
A statement issued by the Telangana’s health minister’s office mentioned that the infographic is “plain mischief.”
The statement read: “The formula assumes that only 2,933 are in quarantine in Telangana which is an absolute lie. The actual number of people in quarantine in the state will be several times that number. But the organisation which created this infographic has conveniently ignored that fact.”
“The infographic uses self-reported data from Aarogya Setu App which is not used by everyone,” the statement added.
Further, there is no known formula to calculate the risk of community transmission, so the usage of the one used in the infographic, is itself questionable.
“The formula behind this infographic is the creation of a private person who is neither a doctor nor an expert. It is neither a scientific formula nor issued by the government,” the statement added.
Evidently, an infographic based on a dubious formula and self-reported Aarogya Setu data is making alarmist claims about risk of community transmission in various states and creating panic among citizens.
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