Data analytics would have helped governments fight the pandemic better. India must partner tech giants on this.
Though not much attention has been paid to worst-case scenario studies and preparedness planning for a possible pandemic—NYT reports that US researchers had done this for the Trump administration last year, but it was junked—with big guns like Google jumping into the fray, companies can now hardly afford to ignore analyses. The administration’s mismanagement in many countries, irrespective of whether they implemented lockdowns or not, will force countries to, at the very least, not to ignore such warnings. Google is reportedly coming out with a paper to show how mobility impacted the spread of Covid 19.
At a time when governments are willing to accept new technologies to tackle the pandemic, such research is indeed a key tool to fight the pandemic. In fact, the government should look at tying with tech majors to create plans for future pandemics. Start-ups and tech majors have enough data to help governments even in normal times.
Cities are getting smarter, and by analysing the data these generate, governments can avoid eleventh hour fire-fighting, as has happened in this pandemic. Had the government had health IDs, it could have identified cases with co-morbidities beforehand. Simple things like forecasting could have helped develop better dashboards for corona management. The government should do this right away, so that, by the next event, it is ready to fight faster and better.