Monday, April 27, 2020

Covid Journal 6 - Who's Data is Accurate?

A friend posted this video saying it was fake science. It is base on what she and I both agree is a erroneous extrapolation to arrive at a death rate figure. 

I watched this yesterday and was temped to turn it off after the death rate calculation, but I decided to watch it all, because the simple fact is that without adequate testing the actual death rate is impossible to evaluate effectively and I want to get all views in order to form my own opinions.

I'm a biology major and like looking at the data. Right now there is enough data to make predictions that are as accurate a hurricane landfall predictions when the storm is still well out to sea. So I am willing to listen with an open mind to anyone who has more knowledge than me. It helps me come to my own conclusions.
I do like that they tried to stick to the data and not let their bias be front and center or assign blame. The conference actually spread over two videos. The second part was 12 minutes long and their bias did come through as the camera rolled after the official press conference came on. To that end, I will try to do the same here.
Their extrapolation is no less valid than the projections being posed by those on the other side of the argument. You really have to listen with an open mind, because they repeatedly say that these are real figures based "on what they are seeing." In other words, they are saying this is what is happening where we are. Your situation may be different. The other side of that coin is that they point to the difference between Sweden and Norway as being statistically insignificant, but their study is no more or less statistically significant.
You may have turned it off before they said that isolation and shut-down was absolutely necessary. Their point is that is it time to begin opening up. where they are. They recognize and acknowledge there are other parts of the country where that is not the case.
Getting back to their point about the figures being valid for their situation, I don't discount their position. The shut down was never intended to end the virus, but simply to slow it so that our systems are not overwhelmed.
The other point I question is their contention that our immune systems will suffer as a result of the isolation. To that point, even as a bio major, I don't have enough expertise to make a judgement. I know some immunity is for a life time. Others have a shelf life much shorter.
Make no mistake about it. From day one, for many this was simply a question of weighing the effects of the shut down on the economy against the number of deaths which will result.
They are real doctors, but had they done a different extrapolation, I would have been more likely to accept more of their argument. They did what others have done, just in the other direction. The fact is, we still do not have a handle on the death rate. If you calculate it based on the number of test given, it is ridiculously high. If you base it on the total population it is ridiculously low.
A few things appear evident to me.
1) Testing has sucked from day one, but we are making progress.
2) We will never go back to the way it used to be. Social distancing will be with us for a significant period of time.
3) We will be opening up (slowly I hope) at some point. When that is, is beyond my capabilities of predicting.
4) Things were NOT done properly in the early days and we are paying a price for that.

I mentioned their bias came out in the last minutes of the second part of the conference. So, to be fair and balanced, I will let my bias be know through this post I made 5 days ago, which coincidentally, was the same day I posted this blog.

1 comment:

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