Splainer

Wednesday, July 22 2020


Dive In

Sushant's last film releases this week. I want to tell the snob and elitist critics right now, write sensibly. Don't act oversmart. Don't write rubbish. Be fair and sensible. Don't try your dirty tricks. You have ruined enough lives. Now stop. We'll be watching.

That’s one of the many tweets from Chetan Bhagat who launched an unprovoked and bizarre ‘defence’ of Sushant Singh Rajput’s movie even before its release—taking aim at “snob critics... who don't understand India and think they are better than Indians.” But it soon became clear that this debate over the role of film critics—and a film that no one has seen—was really about CB himself, and the time Vidhu Vinod Chopra cheated him of story credit for ‘3 Idiots’. Illustration: Parth Savla

Big Story

Delhi’s troubling ‘quarter-percent’ result

The TLDR: A massive serological survey of Delhi shows that almost one in four people in the city were infected with the coronavirus at some point. The government thinks this is a good result. Critics beg to disagree. 

 

First tell me about this survey

The result: The government collected 21,387 samples across 11 districts between June 27 and July 10. It found 23.48% of those tested have antibodies. This means their bodies were exposed to the virus, triggering an immune response. 

 

The methodology: Delhi residents were administered the IgG Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) test. This is a highly sensitive test that only detects the presence of antibodies. It is not used to check if someone has Covid. And the level of antibodies it measures are typically produced two weeks after infection. What this means: that 23.48% likely reflects the number of infections in early June.

 

The value: The problem with this coronavirus is that many cases are asymptomatic or only display mild symptoms—and therefore go undetected. Serological surveys help fill in this gaping holes in our data:

 

“From a public health standpoint, knowing how many and who have already been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 gives a clearer picture of how widespread the virus is in local populations. This is extremely useful because public health measures depend on how far coronavirus has already penetrated into the general population.”

 

Ok, so what does this survey tell us?

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In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • Rahul Bajaj has left the building
  • A bizarre hostage crisis in Ukraine
  • Serena Williams' kid is a football owner
  • Uzbekistan will pay you $3,000 if you visit the country and get Covid

 

Smart And Curious

  • A new Stanford study shows the rich are wildly  
  • Too much iron in the blood may be linked to increased risk of dying
  • KPop’s appropriation of Indian culture
  • Perils of writing romance novels in a pandemic

 

Reading Habit

  • Why a classic like On The Road isn’t considered hip anymore
  • History behind Rapunzel’s story
  • Everlasting power of Hafez’s poetry
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