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Home >News >India >Covid-19 India report carries strong modeling but not our views: Johns Hopkins

NEW DELHI: Johns Hopkins University (JHU), which is at the centre of a controversy over the report on the likely spread of coronavirus in India, while pointing out that it does not reflect the university’s views, has said that the study “uses strong scientific modelling based on available data & clear assumptions to help inform the #Covid19 response in India".

“New report co-authored by faculty w/ appointments at @JohnsHopkinsSPH uses strong scientific modelling based on available data & clear assumptions to help inform the #Covid19 response in India. Note: Its findings do not reflect the views of @JohnsHopkins. https://cddep.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/covid19.indiasim.March23-2-4.pdf," a tweet by The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Department of International Health said.

The report has been authored by faculty associated with JHU, The Center For Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy’ (CDDEP) and Princeton University. The bodies themselves, as such, have not endorsed the study.

The 33-page report was published on 24 March and was instantly noticed for its dire prediction about the situation in India arising out of the spread of Covid-19 even as the country seemed to be doing a relatively better job than most others on combating the pandemic.

Controversy broke on 27 March when in response to a Twitter user’s query, JHU replied that it had not authorized the use of its logo on the report and that it was engaging with CDDEP on the matter. CDDEP, which has offices in Washington and Delhi, is a public health research agency employing scientists, public health experts, and economists around the world.

The 27 March JHU tweet instantly gave rise to doubts about the authenticity of the report as it did not carry the names of the authors. The third logo it carried, besides CDDEP and JHU’s, was an incorrect one, purportedly Princeton University’s.

JHU’s logo remains on the updated report, despite the university having earlier said that it had not authorized its use. The report now also carries the correct logo of Princeton. Names of the authors, all associated with the three institutions – JHU, CDDEP and Princeton – are also now mentioned in the report.

The controversy comes at a time when public health experts are under attack all over the world for their dire forecasts on what Covid-19 could eventually do to people’s lives. It’s a delicate issue for governments on how far they should or can go with putting restrictions on people’s daily lives.

The US has over 124,000 affected by the deadly virus but has imposed no restrictions on its citizens whereas India, with total cases still less than 1,000, is under a 21-day national lockdown.

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