India has entered the third stage of the COVID-19 outbreak in which the community transmission takes place.
News and fact-checking outlet The Quint published a report in which they claim to have interviewed Dr. Girdhar Gyani, Director General, Association of Healthcare Providers (India). The Quint claims that Dr. Gyani in an interview with the outlet has claimed that India has entered the third stage which is community transmission and feared that the pandemic can spread fast in the community resulting in more positive cases and a rise in the mortality rate in India.
“India has entered stage 3, which is community transmission, it is the beginning of this stage.” This was the revelation made by Dr Girdhar Gyani, the convenor of the Task Force for COVID-19 Hospitals, in an interview to the to The Quint.
What is wrong with the report?
The sensational report published by The Quint was updated and the updates made are crucial enough to change the course of entire rhetoric made by the outlet.
There are two versions of the article: the first version was archived at 15:16:15 UTC on March 27, 2020 and the other is archived at 19:26:37 UTC on March 27, 2020. However, it is introduced in the story that an update was made but details of the update are not mentioned anywhere in the report.
Now, we compared the two versions of the aforementioned report and we found a major change was made to the report. We are listing the two major updates below which can be well rectified by clicking on the two archived links of the two versions of the questioned report. However, a screenshot of the same is produced below.
- Initially the report was claimed to be based on a revelation made by Dr. Girdhar Gyani which was later updated to be based on the claims made by Dr. Girdhar Gyani.
- The Quint, in the first updated version of the report, quoted Dr. Girdhar Gyani as saying, “India has entered stage 3, which is community transmission, it is the beginning of this stage.” which was later updated to “We are calling it Stage 3. Officially, we may not call it. It is the beginning of the 3rd stage.” in the latest version of the same report.
A Comparison of the two versions reveals heavy edits were made
The Quint doesn’t mention the edits made to the report; hides major edits
Interestingly, The Quint makes one more edit to the said report and mentions the updates made to the same. While mentioning the edits, The Quint hides the major edits made to the report. The Quint while mentioning the updates made to the report, writes, “This article has been updated to include the link to the audio interview with Dr. Girdhar Gyani.” While what is clearly visible from the various versions of the article mentioned in our fact-check above is there are several major edits made to the report ever since it was first published.
The Quint also lies about the changes made to the headline of the report. For instance, the original headline “‘India Now in Stage 3’: Doctor from COVID-19 Hospitals Task Force” was later changed to “India May be in Stage 3: COVID-19 Hospital Task Force Convener”.
The Quint doesn’t just hide the said two edits made to the report but also hides the insertion of Dr. Gyani’s qualifications in the latest version which was not there in the first updated version.
After noticing the heavy update in the report published by The Quint, we searched Google for more information on the issue and we found a report published by Livemint which quotes the same Dr. Girdhar Gyani to report that India has not entered the third stage. An excerpt from the Livemint report where the outlet has quoted Dr. Gyan, reads, ““When cases with no travel history or direct contact to diagnosed cases start coming in large numbers, then we take it as a beginning of community spread. Though in that sense, we are not in Stage 3, but it would be better that we do our preparations as if we are in phase-3. In case of community rise, numbers start rising exponentially,” said Dr. Girdhar Gyani, Director General, Association of Healthcare Providers.”
The preparations have already begun in Delhi, where government has started scaling up its health infrastructure .Stage 3 is community transmission, when the source of infection is not known for majority of the infected population and new positive cases can no longer be traced to diagnosed cases
Now, as we searched for more information on the issue, we found a tweet made by Editor, live services, news agency ANI namely Ishaan Prakash in which Prakash claims that ANI’s health reporter has reached out to Dr. Girdhar Gyani and Dr. Gyani says that the headline blown out of proportion. Prakash further quotes Dr. Gyani as saying, “Luckily till today increase in No. of cases is pure arithmetic while in community spread it goes geometrically or exponentially.”
ANI’s health reporter @journo_priyanka reached out to Dr Girdhar Gyani who says this headline was blown out of proportion. Dr Girdhar clarified, “luckily till today increase in No. of cases is pure arithmetic while in community spread its goes geometrically or exponentially” https://t.co/bDkRbvnmGP
— ishaan prakash (@ishaan_ANI) March 27, 2020
We additionally searched the official website of the ICMR but we didn’t find any mention of Dr. Girdhar Gyani there.
As per Dr. Girdhar Gyani’s LinkedIn profile, he is the Director-General at the Association of Healthcare Providers (India). When we checked the Twitter handle of the Association of Healthcare Providers (India), we found a tweet where the organization has called out The Quint for spreading misinformation.
— Association of Healthcare Providers (India) – AHPI (@ahpi_india) March 27, 2020
We also found a Facebook post made by the said organization where the organization has accused the outlet of misquoting and misinterpreting Dr. Girdhar Gyani.
When we searched further, we found a tweet made by the PIB Fact-Check handle which quotes the tweet made by the AHPI to debunk the ‘Misleading’ report published by The Quint.
#PIBFactcheck : An online news portal has carried an interview with DG, AHPI claiming that India is in Stage 3 i.e. community transmission stage of #COVID2019india . It is clarified that this is misleading and has been denied by the concerned person himself https://t.co/O0ZftC0f2F
— PIB India #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) March 28, 2020
Furthermore, the fact-checking arm of the PIB has posted Dr. Gyani’s clarification on the issue which he made while talking to the Indian public broadcaster Doordarshan.
Director General of the Private Hospital Association Dr Girdhar Gyani clarifies that India has not entered stage 3 of the #Covid19 infection
— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) March 28, 2020
Dr. Gyani while speaking to Doordarshan clarifies that India has not entered the third stage and it can be called community transmission only when the number of COVID-19 positive cases increase in a geometric sequence and as of now confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India are increasing in an arithmetic sequence only hence it can not be said that India has entered the third stage of COVID-19 outbreak.
— DD News (@DDNewslive) March 28, 2020
It is evident in our fact-check report that The Quint carried out a ‘Misleading’ report. It is imperative from various updates in the report published by The Quint that Dr. Girdhar Gyani’s statement was misquoted or falsely reported by the outlet. Hence it can be concluded that India has not yet reached the third stage of the COVID-19 outbreak and the report published by fact-checking and news outlet The Quint is ‘Misleading’.
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