Delhi’s huge third surge in Covid-19 cases – and deaths – reminds us that there are few certainties when it comes to epidemics caused by the coronavirus. With cases rising steeply eight months after the disease reached the city, it serves as a warning that a long harsh epidemic is no guarantee of light at the end of the tunnel. Moreover, fatality is not lower this time round – the data suggests those infected are increasingly at risk of dying, as we will see.

To make sense of it all, residents of the city would probably like to know the answers to a number of questions. How many have had Covid-19 in the city? How many of those infected have died? What has been driving surge after surge, and what could break this cycle? How has the disease impacted different areas, different age-groups and people living in different kinds of housing?

Inadequate data makes Delhi’s story hard to decode

Unfortunately, the city’s daily bulletins with their minimal detail do not shed much light on these questions. They compare poorly with Mumbai’s highly detailed dashboards that give a breakdown of cases and deaths by age and provide information on geographical spread, ICU beds, contact tracing, and much...

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