In the first week of April, media outlets reported that an unnamed study by Johns Hopkins University found that Uttar Pradesh’s management of crisis during the pandemic was among the best in the world. Newsroom Post tweeted, “Yogi govt’s Covid-19 strategy endorsed by John Hopkins University, state dubbed among toppers”.

As per Newsroom Post, Johns Hopkins study stated Uttar Pradesh is among the toppers in managing coronavirus pandemic across the globe. “When the entire world is again gripped with the fresh wave of COVID-19, the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh has been found well-equipped with governmental health infrastructure available right there to guide, monitor, and control operations,” the report said.

The official Twitter handle of the UP government also posted a newspaper clipping dubbing the state as among ‘toppers’ in COVID management.

Similar reports were published by The Pioneer, UNI India and Web Dunia.

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Johns Hopkins professor Dr David Peters refutes the claim

An Uttar Pradesh-based journalist informed Alt News that state officials shared a WhatsApp message on a group exclusively for media professionals. The message was in the form of a press note with links to the said study.

Study prepared by Johns Hopkins in collaboration with UP government

The report in question is titled, ‘Preparation for and Response to COVID19 in a resource-constrained setting’. It has been prepared by the Government of UP and Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr KV Raju, Economic Advisor to UP CM Yogi Adityanath, is one of the authors of the report.

Furthermore, the report is not a comparative study. It does not analyse the UP government’s response to COVID as compared to other Indian states or countries across the globe.

Statement from Dr David Peters

Dr David Peters, a professor at the Johns Hopkins’ Department of International Health, who is one of the authors of the study refuted claims made by Indian media.

“The case study covered activities in UP from January 30, 2020, to January 15, 2021, and aimed to document the range of actions taken in Uttar Pradesh in response to COVID-19 and to identify lessons for how to respond in resource-constrained settings. As you can see in the report itself, the case study did not make comparisons to other countries or states, nor make claims about which states or countries are top performers,” he told Alt News.

“The COVID pandemic is ongoing, and the report identified how “it is imperative that the government of Uttar Pradesh continues its ongoing efforts to control the epidemic,” he continued while identifying the following lessons and recommendations (page 48-51) for the state –

  1. Refine current health emergency planning
  2. Strengthen coordination and collaboration further across relevant agencies
  3. Continue to partner with community members in preparation and response activities
  4. Bolster disease surveillance through strengthened laboratory capacity
  5. Expand integrated digital data platform to improve data for decision-making
  6. Develop a strategy to expand and strengthen the health workforce, including a focus on public health and management
  7. Conduct surge capacity planning to meet with increased demand
  8. Identify opportunities to strengthen collaboration with the private sector

Newsroom Post, Web Dunia and The Pioneer hailed Uttar Pradesh as a topper in COVID management citing a report by Johns Hopkins. The report in question was jointly prepared by the UP government. This is not the first time media in India published articles hailing Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The misleading report that UP’s Gross State Domestic Product surged to the second spot was published by several outlets last month. In January, the media presented the UP government’s ad in TIME magazine as CM Adityanath’s COVID management being commended.

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About the Author

Archit is a graduate in English Literature from The MS University of Baroda. He also holds a post-graduation diploma in journalism from the Asian College of Journalism. Since then he has worked at Essel Group's English news channel at WION as a trainee journalist, at S3IDF as a fundraising & communications officer and at The Hindu as a reporter. At Alt News, he works as a fact-checking journalist.