WANTED: Rational Coronavirus Analysis

It occurred to me that for most analysis that is applied to rates like this, ie exponential model or other, that it would not make a difference in terms of p-values whether one tested the equivalence of the rates or their reciprocals? From that perspective, I think the decision to report one or the other is mostly aesthetic. I can see the virtue of reporting percentages, since most people are comfortable with these in their daily lives.
The uncertainty is not in the data, it's in the whether the proper data analysis is applied, and then how it's applied, in portraying information and making decisions that lead to long-term widespread consequences.

For instance, does a national news outlet -- say, the NY Times or CNN -- portray the COVID-19 crisis for the whole country from the same perspective as seen by residents of hardest-hit New York City?

I totally understand 100% the comfort with percentages in conveying relevant information; we're all in that base-10^n boat. I would just caution against using said informational percentages in subsequent calculations, as meaning and certainty could be distorted. If you do want to run calculations with data reported as percentages, I would suggest that you revert to ratios, use logarithmic-preferably-monatomic algorithms to determine calculated values (even with just averaging), then convert that ratio-ed value to percentage for public consumption.
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Uncertainty in what YOU are going to post next? :)

Is the flip-side of probability really uncertainty?
Another excellent point ... I may have been flippant in the use of the term "flip-side", which perhaps suggests a monatomic relationship.

Then again, maybe not -- so much meta-uncertainty! -- since not understanding the probability, whether empirically derived or odds-implied, is definitely a very uncertain place to be. Which is kind of where we are now (see all).
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The uncertainty is in BOTH the data and the analysis. See the many excellent articles by Kaiser Fung (scroll down for additional posts) and Andrew Gelman on this.
Can any conclusions be drawn from these studies, other than the (admittedly laymen's) viewpoint that it appears that the data is a confusing mess..? Which actually would explain a lot, if our leaders are taking counsel from experts deriving their theories from this data and its analysis.


Less is more. Stay pure. Stay poor.
Two big things are coming into play.

First is conditionality. So results are based on sample (inclusion/exclusion criteria), variable definitions, biases, and modeling.

Second is the generalizabilty of results to other samples from the sam population or different population.
I just signed up to this site to get a rational evaluation of this doctor's video. I am neither a statistician or mathematician but it seems there are flaws in his reasoning that you could drive a truck through. No consideration for testing parameters, because of limited testing most testing was reserved for those exhibiting symptoms or those that had been exposed to a patient that ad tested positive. No consideration is given for the benefit of social distancing. Thanks for having a look.


Less is more. Stay pure. Stay poor.
Well just from the starting position of the video the person isnt wearing a mask, is less than six feet from the other person, and has a bunch of accessories (fomites) on.
[This video was banned from YouTube as it was deemed “medically unsubstantiated .. misinformation” and “would go against World Health Organization recommendations”. It can still be viewed here, where a transcript is also provided.]
I just signed up to this site to get a rational evaluation of this doctor's video. I am neither a statistician or mathematician but it seems there are flaws in his reasoning that you could drive a truck through. No consideration for testing parameters, because of limited testing most testing was reserved for those exhibiting symptoms or those that had been exposed to a patient that ad tested positive. No consideration is given for the benefit of social distancing. Thanks for having a look.
Thanks for sharing the video, even with their apparent flawed reasoning with improper consideration for testing parameters.

Those guys do make valid macro-points on healthy immune systems and balanced responses, not dwelling on the widely advertised micro-points like the criticality of social-distancing and glove-wearing in preventing COVID-19 transmission*.

The Bakersfield doctors factor in the unfortunate-but-inevitable societal cost of the lockdown, although these non-coastal guys are not professional administrators nor government experts (where are they getting their oxygen from?):

COVID-19 is one aspect of our health sector. What has it caused to have us be involved in social isolation? What does it cause that we are seeing the community respond to? Child molestation is increasing at a severe rate. We could go over multiple cases of children who have been molested due to angry family members who are intoxicated, who are home, who have no paycheck. Spousal abuse: we are seeing people coming in here with black eyes and cuts on their face. It’s an obvious abuse of case. These are things that will affect them for a lifetime, not for a season. Alcoholism, anxiety, depression, suicide. Suicide is spiking; education is dropped off; economic collapse. Medical industry we’re all suffering because our staff isn’t here and we have no volume. We have clinics from Fresno to San Diego and these things are spiking in our community. These things will affect people for a lifetime, not for a season.

* Speaking of COVID-19 transmission, China – not that their data should be deemed totally credible, but perhaps representative, ratio-wise – showed that outdoor transmission occurred in only two of 318 outbreaks (1-in-159 or 0.6%, 4/23) encompassing 1,245 confirmed cases of the virus across 120 cities. The much larger volume of ambient air outdoors dilutes the concentration of Coronavirus, which presumably greatly diminishes the risk of a COVID-19 infection taking hold. You’d think that this outdoor-vs-indoor aspect would be a game-changer on crafting a prudent response to the PANDEMIC!!! ... you'd think.
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Less is more. Stay pure. Stay poor.
They are missing that our case fatality rate would be higher if hospitals were at capacity. Also you cant extrapolate from Scandinavian countries to us since we are very unhealthy to start with and we also dont have universal health coverage. You have to control for covariates to be able to do that.
(Hopefully, these studies meet your control/parameter standards.)

Here’s a comprehensive Wall Street Journal study (4/26, behind capitalist paywall) looking at relative death rates versus how quickly economies were shutdown in that New-York-minute due to COVID-19, using both European countries and US states.


I'm not a trained professional, but understand that the data has been massaged towards apples-to-apples, and notice that there's a bunch of anonymous brown dots (US states) down around, and well below, 50 dpm (dead-per-million), which translates to one or less COVID-19 death per 20,000 citizens in the 21-days since rising above a threshold of one dpm. Now, there's a creative can-do metric: dead-per-million-per-gestation-period, starting that clock after a consistent dpm-threshold is reached.

So, how do you like them apples, curated and delivered by T..J. Biznessman..? Twas hoping resident stats-experts would have a go at the methodology, which can be viewed as a balanced normalization, by the untrained eye.

If I was a billionaire and a betting man, I’d put up a couple of cool million on having T.J. either 1) debate or 2) cage-fight the good Dr. Fauci … the specific contest being established by a coin flip (in case you were wondering about the probability angle). Americans are owed this.

Outside of Mr. Rodger’s neighborhood, today’s billionaires and administrators are so boring, shying away from rigorous debate and even cage-fighting. Sad.

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An interesting contrast arrives from Down Under, where two Commonwealth island nations took different approaches to the Coronavirus (4/29, WSJ paywall again). Excerpt:

New Zealand imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, aiming to stamp out the new coronavirus. Australia took a different approach, adopting social-distancing restrictions but keeping more of its economy open, in an effort to suppress the pathogen.

This might be viewed as an excellent controlled experiment. Let’s take a look at the results to date:


New Zealand certainly took this pandemic seriously, but have those severe costs impacted the results? Meanwhile, the Land of Oz keeps focused on prudent measures and asks sensible outrageous questions, all with an eye on the future

Being Southern Hemisphere regions, it will be interesting to see if the infection rates rise during their coming Winter season, when viruses are the most active.

Despite all our medical advances … the mortality rate has remained constant – one per person’ … some perspective from an Aussie doc (5/14). Indeed, putting things in perspective (5/19), compared to the total deaths in the world, heart disease accounts for 1-in-3 deaths, and cancer almost 1-in-6. The peak daily death rate from COVID-19 worldwide was 1-in-20 (April 13-18), and since the pandemic was declared 1-in-33 (March 11-May 15).

Coronavirus may have been a 'cell-culture experiment' gone wrong … a thoughtful “non-political” Australian scientist maintains that this virus binds to human proteins more readily than to proteins in any other animal, which suggests that it was cultured in a lab, perhaps a hybrid developed from other viruses … kind of “optimally designed to infect humans” (5/25), with no political bias.

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RUCK ON, LADS ... New Zealand kicks off its post-pandemic era with a weekend of rugby (6/12).
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YEARS OF POTENTIAL LIFE LOST ... the ultimate metric in rational coronavirus analysis

As Winston Churchill allegedly quipped: Keep experts on tap, not on top. The Wall Street Journal runs commentary (5/14, behind WSJ paywall) on how the good Dr. Fauci’s expertise is narrow, and that he’s unequipped to consider societal costs outside his disease-control focus, and freely admits that.

From the very start of this madness, the metric years of potential life lost (PYLL) should have been the critical consideration, but unfortunately wasn’t. Has Dr Fauci or his colleagues at the CDC or WHO even uttered these words in public?

The JUST FACTS website of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) features articles judiciously using the YPLL metric to evaluate the wisdom of the COVID-19 shutdown:
Meanwhile, ABC News recently ran a story citing that the people with coronavirus are dying an average of 10+ years earlier than they would have naturally (5/10), based on a study by the University of Glasgow (lots of detailed data presented). As the median age of COVID-19 deaths is near 80, the average PYLLs are inflated by inclusion of deaths of people much younger, and this surely is impacted somewhat by the accounting of dying with, rather than dying from, COVID-19.

Although our personal lockdowns may have some charms, it could be suggested that every American has ‘life lost’ in this ongoing collective adventure … let’s put the average PYLL number at a conservative 0.3 years. With about 331 million Americans, that equates to about 100 million PYLL. Taking FEE’s wildly inflated US death toll of 240K from COVID-19 with an average PYLL of 10 years, that equates to only 2.4 million PYLL.

Therefore, with the lockdown, the overall years of potential life lost of the general American population is almost 42X more than the most grievous COVID-19 impact case ... and this is BEFORE the fallout casualties that FEE highlights.

Have a good day. :)

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Way back in early March, the University of Cambridge estimated the impact of COVID-19 on death rates by age in the UK: How much ‘normal’ risk does Covid represent?

So, during this pandemic, COVID-19 had roughly doubled the overall death rate for those above 30 years of age.


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this graph says 'just facts' so you know it contains only factual information.
On the factual front ... it's technically a bar chart, not a graph.

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Peggy Noonan delineates the class divide in the Wall Street Journal between a) those with safe lives forcing the lockdown, and b) those with unsafe lives potentially ruined by the lockdown (5/16).

Upside of the lockdown? … Silver Lining: 2 In 5 Adults Have ‘Changed For The Better’ Thanks To Lockdown (5/23).

German official leaks report denouncing Corona as ‘A Global False Alarm (5/29) … gets canned.

What if we’re being primed..? (6/23) Regardless, it’s prudent to take responsibility for your own health and well-being.

More (indirect) Coronavirus victims: Pilots in Pakistan airliner crash were reportedly distracted by coronavirus (6/25).

Pregnancy is a preexisting condition: Pregnant Women Are at Higher Risk of Severe Covid-19, CDC Says (6/25), requiring hospitalization, but it doesn’t impact the death rate, which is very low for those of child-bearing age.
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Less is more. Stay pure. Stay poor.
I didn't really look too hard at the 'figure', but automotive insurance companies sent people checks in April, since no one was driving, thus fewer motor vehicle collisions, right. An indirect impact of COVID-19 is the elimination of years lost from MVC. I know my commutes are pretty chill these days.
I didn't really look too hard at the 'figure', but automotive insurance companies sent people checks in April, since no one was driving, thus fewer motor vehicle collisions, right. An indirect impact of COVID-19 is the elimination of years lost from MVC. I know my commutes are pretty chill these days.
I suppose that's one of the 'charms' of the lockdown ... the open road.


The lives being saved by the lower incidence of MVC fatalities should be factored into the analysis. Unfortunately though, MVC fatalities are even higher in some non-urban areas than comparable years (4/29, WSJ paywall). Excerpt:
Fewer drivers are hitting the road during the pandemic, yet police in some places have made an unexpected discovery: an increase in deadly car crashes.
Minnesota and Louisiana recorded more traffic fatalities during the coronavirus crisis than in the same periods of past years, even though there were far fewer drivers on the road because of stay-at-home orders. In states including Missouri, fatality rates increased even as total crash deaths declined, according to state officials.
Speeding is a top cause of crash deaths in the U.S., and highway officials say it is a major culprit in the recent carnage.

Human folly, latent energy and the laws of physics transcend the lockdown.

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The Massachusetts DOT understands the elegance of ratios in analysis, noting that the MVC fatality rate has doubled during the lockdown (5/7), as the deaths have remained flat while the number of drivers on the road has dropped in half, versus comparable years.

In non-auto-fatality news, Gallup polls showed that Americans’ worry and stress fueled a record drop in life satisfaction (5/8), but – 10 days later, "as many states have begun to reopen their economies and many more are making plans to do so" -- that anxiety could be dissipating, since US adults are now reporting less worry and more happiness (5/18).

The CDC reports the extremely low COVID-19 fatality rate among those infected that are NOT elderly and/or ailing (5/22) … which is less risk of dying than in an auto accident during a comparable period, y’know, like before people were terrified to leave the house.

This was not picked up by the Mainstream Media, of course, but…
Activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr unloads on Big Pharma, Dr Fauci, the CDC, vaccines and the societal and economic degradation caused by the lockdown (5/3; lengthy interview video, which will probably get banned by YouTube). Within days, MIT -- that beacon of Sciencedenounced it as “conspiracy theorizing, labeling it “health misinformation” (5/8), without addressing any specific point in the technical argument.
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Looks like Coronavirus rationality is all the rage these days, even with CDC's Dr Fauci (5/22)…

The former director of Israel’s Health Ministry, on the hysteria around Covid-19: ‘Nothing can justify this destruction of people’s lives’ (5/22).

A doctor with the Hoover Institute estimates that every month of lockdown will cost as many otherwise-healthy American lives as the total eventual deaths from COVID-19 (5/23).

And yet, then again ... an alt-opinion on the reduction of government-lockdown restrictions: The Economic “Reopening” Is A Fake Out (5/22).

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Rational analysis from a different angle ... an innovative macro-metric that could determine COVID-19 prevalence among the general population and even predict a second wave, if only within days: SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentration in sewage sludge (5/19, Yale study; pre-digested’, 5/28). As always, hand washing is advised.

A wiseguy wise judge from downstate-Illinois overturns the irrationality of the Supreme Ayatollahs of Expertistan (5/28).

We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection” … it may be based on rational analyses (5/20), but what do the folks at the New England Journal of Medicine know?

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Too bad that good news is no news (6/25)...

CDC reports: For 7% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.5 additional conditions or causes per death.​
So in only one in 14 deaths out of the current total of 125,000 can COVID-19 be said to be the actual cause.​
...and so the beatings will continue until morale improves (7/2).
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Statistics ... probability ... uncertainty ... mayhem CHAOS.

Never let a crisis go to waste”…? (3/24)

if the tin-foil hat fits, wear it.

Oddly-descriptive vanity plate ... photo-ready?

Have we gone from PLANdemic to PLANdemonium..?!? (5/29)

If so, who benefits? (5/21; Follow-the-Money dept) … or, as the Romans would have inquired, Cui bono? (5/29, video) A cynic might suggest that there’s both financial (6/9) and perhaps even political angles.

What are the chances?

This wanton chaos could be framed as another massive cost of the COVID-19 lockdown … and (productive) young Americans will bear the heaviest burden resulting from the (destructive) rioters and looters.

With the lack of face masks and proper social-distancing at these widespread ‘protests’, it will be interesting to see if COVID-19 outbreaks re-emerge in a few weeks (6/1).

At least we have authorities -- with generous, secure government salaries and pensions -- that can oversee it all, with their sponsors' best interests in mind: the Managerial state, which uses the Hegelian Dialectic to separate the people, pitting them against one another, ultimately making the population easier to control. (Yeah, I know, crazy stuff ... could never happen here, right?) Regardless, these characters have lost sight of the fact that -- in successful societies -- the elected government’s most important function is to protect the citizens and their property (6/4).

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Regarding this *spark* that lit the wildfire that rages through our previously-locked-down American society, and now the world...

In light of what was presented above, has there ever been a police-brutality video that approaches:
  • The mildness of the alleged crime: passing off a fake $20 bill?
  • The victim of abuse being already handcuffed?
  • The duration of the abuse perpetration?
  • The excellent quality of the extensive (scripted?) video coverage, from a host of angles?
  • The bad-cop perp so knowingly playing-the-part, even staring directly into a close-by camera, using a brutal restraining technique NOT condoned by any law-enforcement authority?
  • The victim in captivity repeating a charged catchphrase again and again, even when what he was claiming was physically impossible?
  • The oblivious, lackadaisical nature of the daylight crime scene?
  • The likely personal connection between the victim and perpetrator? [UPDATE: Make that pretty darn certain, 6/10]
On these metrics, from a statistics-and-probability standpoint, one might conclude that this incendiary incident -- what seemed to be a snuff-film-gone-wrong -- is at least, say, 2-3 standard deviations beyond anything on record. That alone should cast doubt on its veracity (like Benford's law, turned up to 11).

For instance, one can compare the video of the Rodney King beating by police -- the horrific granddaddy of this modern genre -- to this grievous incident. Another significant difference, in Justice being served … back then, the rioting and looting didn’t start until after the case was tried in court, and the jury issued, what was deemed, an unacceptable verdict … 13 months after the incident. In the internet age, months have been compressed into hours, and the mob decides what is 'justice', while elected leaders and law enforcement stand down.

If you think that asking these rational questions is conspiratorially retrograde, that probably says more about you than anything else. Sorry.

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'Public Health Experts Say the Pandemic Is Exactly Why Protests Must Continue' (6/2) ... a tidy confluence of current events. Forward!
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proper social-distancing at these widespread ‘protests’
Its interesting to think that violence is sort of infective like virus, another way of man bringing misery on man.
I read Cicero was a pompous a-hole. Catiline, now theres a hero. 'How long will you go on testing our patience, oh Catiline'?