Put together mathematical illiteracy, a large platform, and a self-assuredness to opine on issues well above your pay grade, and what do you get? Leftist journalists.
The Hindu’s Political Editor Nistula Hebbar today decided to put on her epidemiological cap, and tried to decipher an ANI report which said that ICMR had announced that India’s national positivity rate was 21%. “One in five Indians has COVID 19….,” she somberly concluded.
Now anyone who’s paid attention in school could immediately tell why Hebbar was spectacularly wrong — a national positivity rate of 21% means that of the people who were tested, 21% were found to be positive. But tests are usually conducted on people who have symptoms, or those who approach doctors. For instance, India conducted 15 lakh tests yesterday, of which approximately 21% were found positive. That means 3 lakh people were found positive yesterday out of a population of 130 crore, which means that 1 out of 4,333 Indians were found positive, not 1 of 5 Indians as Nistula Hebbar believed. Since the beginning of the pandemic, India has recorded 2.3 crore Covid cases, which means that over the last year, only 1 out of every 56 Indians has ever had Covid. Of these, around 99% have recovered.
But this was evidently complex mathematics for The Hindu’s political editor to process, and led her to confidently stating that 1 in 5 Indians has Covid. Nistula Hebbar’s innumeracy soon began being mocked online. “The deadliest combo is confidence + stupidity + reach,” wrote Twitter user Gabbbar Singh.
“Nation wants to know @nistula math teacher,” wrote Twitter user Squineon.
It appears that Nistula Hebbar was suitably chastened after the trolling began, and deleted her tweet.
This, however, isn’t the first time India’s leftist ‘journalists’ have been stumped by basic mathematics and logic — last year, The Print’s Strategic Affairs Editor Jyoti Malhotra thought that 1 lakh was the same as 1 million, and NDTV’s Gargi Rawat had earlier wondered if oxygen plants could work at 110% capacity. And with The Hindu’s Politics Editor now not knowing how to parse basic mathematics, the next time you pay Rs. 5 or whatever to buy your copy , remember that it’s written by people who’d struggle to pass Class 8.