In India’s COVID-19 catastrophe, figures are only part of the story

India’s COVID-19 curve resembles a vertical line right now. An already fragile health infrastructure is on its knees, the government has shown itself to be incapable. There are no hospital beds to be had, no medicines, no oxygen, no emergency care; even the dead have to endure 20-hour queues for last rites. A nine-day streak of 300,000-plus new cases daily has ended with fresh infections crossing the 400,000 mark on May 1. More than 3,000 COVID-related deaths have been recorded daily for three consecutive days. Still, the worst, experts say, is yet to come.

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Global.health has gone public—what’s actually in the database?

Last week, we included Global.health in our featured sources section. The initiative aims to document 10 million plus cases in one source. Instead of just listing numbers of positive cases and deaths, they collect individual cases and gather information about said case. What was their age range? Gender? When did symptoms develop? The dataset has room for more than 40 variables aside from just “tested positive.” While there are lots of dashboards and tracking sources, none collect detailed data about (anonymized!) individual cases.

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Trust is key for a successful COVID-19 response

The COVID-19 Data Dispatch largely focuses on U.S. news. This country’s response to the pandemic has been so chaotic and confusing that it is a full-time job just to keep up with major developments. But sometimes, to truly understand COVID-19 in America, we need a global perspective. More specifically: seeing how other nations have succeeded in mounting a robust public health response—with actual support from the public—can show us how we have failed.

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