When a top Indian government official predicted on April 25 that the country would report zero COVID-19 cases by May 16, no one countered him, except James Wilson, India's top data mining expert.
James, who has been meticulously analysing data from different authentic sources since the pandemic outbreak, instead, projected that India would record 80,000 COVID patients by May 16. He was bang on target, as India had 85,784 active COVID-19 patients on May 16.
Now, he has projected that the number would touch one lakh by May 20.
India had realised James' uncanny knack in data analysing after the demonetisation in 2017. That time, his insightful tweets and sharp blog posts educated thousands of people about the long and short term impacts of the government's decision.
His COVID-19 analysis too found a lot of issues with the government's approach in fighting the pandemic, and he expresses his thoughts in this freewheeling discussion.
"Instead of facts-based policy, what we are seeing is a policy-based facts," James said about the data manipulation by the government.
He also explains his data analysing efforts, what is polynomial curve of COVID growth, impact of lockdown in checking COVID-19, how government used flawed data to ease lockdown restrictions, the importance of intelligent testing and why he is unable to make a project specific time frame to ride over the crisis.
Background score: Veetraag
Editor: Alex Pappachan
Producer/ Presenter: T A Ameerudheen
Editor's note: This podcast was originally published on May 18, 2020. The cover image was changed on May 29, 2020.
(Let's Talk brings expert views on an array of topics regularly. Listen to other Onmanorama podcasts here).