After Mumbai Bandra incident, Bihar was trending at No.1 position on Twitter. Most twitterati expressed concern about the abysmal low number of positive COVID-19 cases amid lack of testing in the state. A detailed analysis of the facts highlights the irony of social media wherein net citizens unknowingly become a part of larger fake news propaganda.
To begin with, let's analyze the Bandra incident and its relationship with Bihar. The fact is that trains for Bihar don’t ply from Bandra. The main station for trains to Bihar being Lokmanya Tilak Terminal (LTT). Secondly, Bandra is a posh colony with ghettos of Bangladeshi migrants who hail from Bengal. Thirdly, it is Uttar Pradesh and not Bihar which has a very high number of migrant populations at Mumbai. Bihar’s population at Mumbai is significantly lower as compared to migrants from Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bengal, Punjab, Haryana, North East and Uttar Pradesh. Since people from Bihar migrated late, most stay at Thane and Kalyan which are very far off places from Bandra.
Coming back to COVID-19 crisis and looking at Bihar’s response, it is important to laud the work of the state. The state has conducted 6703 tests which is almost equal to the combined number of tests at West Bengal (2523), Orrisa (3862) and Jharkhand (2117). It is by far the highest among the East Indian states. Nationally, in number of tests conducted Bihar ranks at 9th place. In terms of active cases, it ranks at 18th position which is lowest among states with population of more than 5 crore. Bihar with 6703 tests has 64 positive cases while Andhra Pradesh with 6958 tests has 420 cases.
So, the truth is, Bihar’s positive cases are not low because it has done lesser tests. Such reports are baseless fake news propaganda as exposed by the above data. This also highlights that Bihar has lowest infection rate among people tested when compared to all states with more than 50 positive cases. At 0.95%, it is one of the lowest globally. India’s average is 5%. With 29 successfully treated patients returning to their homes, Bihar has successfully treated 40% of its patients thus flattening the curve like Singapore and Japan. Total active cases in the state is around 40 for past 2 weeks. It is likely to be in single digits by the time lockdown is lifted on 3rd May, thus becoming the first state to defeat the Corona virus.
As of today (April 16, 2020), Bihar has only one district in red hot spot zone. This is again lowest among large states with more than 5 crore population in the country. More than 80% of the state districts are in green zone and likely to be on track from 20th May. A medical hub like Darbhanga with its own ICMR approved government COVID-19 testing facility which is one among the 179 such approved labs pan India is a green district with no positive cases. This highlights that in terms of infection rate, Bihar figures are the best. In terms of successful treatment, it is again the best state.
A lot of credit goes to the local population that has been vigilant; state government which set up isolation wards in remotest of villages and the state police which was the first force to catch foreign nationals from Masjids and send them back from the state. Jharkhand and Telangana later followed Bihar. The police have candidly but effectively implemented the lockdown unlike bustle of the neighboring states. By depositing Rs 1000 into bank accounts of 13.75 registered migrant work force and providing them with medical Insurance cover, Bihar is the only state to take care of her residents outside of her state in this time of crisis.
Bihar is doing good, chill netizens!!!
The article is written by Mr. Abhishek Kumar Mishra. He works as South Asia Director with a multinational. He has authored articles in leading publications like India Today, The Times of India, The Hindustan Time, The Statesman etc.