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Blast from the past – Now The Print journalist’s complicated relationship with math gets exposed, video goes viral

An old video has gone viral where The Print journalist Jyoti Malhotra says that 85,000 is close to a million

The Print journalist Jyoti Malhotra seems to like getting mocked over bizarre statements. Recently, she expressed her confusion about how Remdesivir (a drug to treat Covid-19) can come under the Chemical & Fertilizer ministry. She was heavily trolled on social media for her bizarre confusion after she was explained that the department of of pharmaceuticals comes under this ministry, not health ministry like she was assuming. Amidst all the funny tweets, a few Twitter users remembered how she confused the number of digits in a million.

In April, Malhotra had a conversation with Shamika Ravi, Former Member PM’s Economic Advisory Council, over the lockdown situation in India amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. They were discussing how the policy environment is different in every country. Shamika said, “Policy environment is also not static. Every country is responding to this emergency. So even in the Chinese case where the expectation was for a million patients, eventually they had 85,000.”

Malhotra interrupted Shamika and said, “but not so far away from a million,” and left Shamika in sort of a shock for a second. The blunder in the calculation was let go for the moment, but someone has rightly said, “If something is on the internet, it will remain on the internet forever.” Once Malhotra’s blunder over Remdesivir went viral, netizens started posting the clip where she got confused over the number of digits in a million.

The Print explanation made no sense

In the description section of the video, The Print mentioned, “*Correction: At 2:34​, Jyoti Malhotra meant [to] say 850,000 instead of 85,000. Error is regretted,” which makes no sense. Shamika clearly said 85,000. In no way Jyoti would have meant to say 850,000. As per available data, China had a total of 1,03,000 cases. Even now, it is not even close to a million that was predicted.

The Print’s ‘correction’ makes no sense

A million is FAR from 85,000

For those who are not aware International Number System, it is different from the Indian Number System. In India we use One (1), Ten (10), Hundred (100), Thousand (1,000), Ten Thousand (10,000), Lakh (100,000), Ten Lakh (10,00,000), Crore (1,00,00,000) and so on. On the other hand, in International Number System, they use One (1), Ten (10), Hundred (100), Thousand (1,000), Ten Thousand (10,000), Hundred Thousand (100,000), One Million (1,000,000), Ten Million (10,000,000), Hundred Million (100,000,000), One Billion (1000,000,000) and so on.

Now, when Shamika said Eighty-Five Thousand (85,000), it has five digits. The prediction for China was of one million cases (1,000,000) which have seven digits. In the Indian Number System, we call it Ten Lakh (10,00,000). When Jyoti said it 85,000 was not far from One Million, she was absolutely wrong. She might have confused it with One Lakh, and in that case, it would have been true. However, Jyoti missed the “not too far” by over Nine Lakh cases.

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