Statistical numbering here in Our Town!

 FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2020

The way we statistically number: Arguably, Vice President Pence is human history's greatest toady.

Today he got his first vaccine shot. Exactly six months ago, he wrote a Wall Street Journal column in which he basically said the commander in chief had basically conquered the virus.

The claims the vice president made in that column have held up rather poorly. In the course of correctly noting this fact, Jonathan Chait presents this example of the way we now statistically number over here in Our Town:

CHAIT (12/18/20): This prediction did not age well. Since Pence wrote that, hospitalizations from COVID-19 have more than tripled, daily cases risen nearly tenfold, and deaths shot up sevenfold, to more than 3,000 a day now.

Have Covid deaths shot up "to more than 3,000 a day?" Bad as things are, we know of no statistic which says that or anything like that. 

According to the Washington Post's numbers, our current 7-day average is 2,570 Covid deaths per day. The New York Times places the number at 2,596.

Nothing turns on a matter like this. That said, this is the way we handle statistics in our infallible town.

"Statistics are extremely hard." So Talking Barbie once thoughtfully said, as Talking Ken looked on.


19 comments:

  1. "and deaths shot up sevenfold, to more than 3,000 a day now."

    The key word in that sentence is NOW. There were more than 3600 reported coronavirus deaths in the US today, December 18, according to NBC News:

    https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/coronavirus-deaths-united-states-each-day-2020-n1177936

    Somerby loves to use the 7-day rolling average, but it minimizes the trend of the pandemic because deaths are steeply increasing over time. If he used the 14-day rolling average instead, it would further reduce the number because it would include many more days during which deaths were lower, before the pandemic has picked up steam due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Deaths lag events which spread the virus by about 3-weeks to a month.

    All statistics must be considered in the context of the question they are meant to answer. There isn't any one right statistic that is better than any other, outside of the question being asked about the data.

    What does Somerby gain by insisting on his 7-day rolling average? He gets to call others stupid for using some other number. Somerby never considers the question raised by those others he attacks. Just as he overlooks the word NOW in Chait's sentence above. Chait is talking about today, this moment in time. For that purpose, use of the figure for today, at the current height of a pandemic whose curve is still increasing, is entirely appropriate and the least misleading number that can be used. Somerby suggested alternative is an underestimate of the CURRENT daily death toll.

    Chait is right and Somerby is wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  2. ""Statistics are extremely hard." So Talking Barbie once thoughtfully said, as Talking Ken looked on."

    When Barbie famously said "Math is hard," she was immediately yanked off the market because of parent complaints.

    Now Somerby calls her statement about "Statistics is hard" thoughtful. Somerby never misses an opportunity to diss girls (women). Chait is male, so how is Barbie's opinion about stats even relevant here? Just another chance for Somerby to say something offensive about girls/women who do math, as if it were an unnatural act.

    Being able to run through a calculation without ever thinking about what the numbers mean is about as stupid as it gets. That's what Somerby does. In fairness, even grad students have trouble interpreting data, it is a skill learned with experience, but Somerby shouldn't be calling Barbie stupid when he, himself, has so much trouble USING as opposed to CALCULATING statistics.

    It makes him an asshole when he throws in these gender-based cracks about dolls that reflect sexist attitudes among men (not to mention being designed according to men's favorite porn-star measurements).

    ReplyDelete
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  4. If Drum were to remark that it is December 19th Somerby would correct him that it is December 15th and 1/2.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "...we know of no statistic which says that or anything like that"

    And the statistics we do know are bullshit anyway, dear Bob. Anyone dying - even in a car accident - who tested positive is counted as a COVID death. Not to mention that testing positive really doesn't mean much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here, dear Bob:
      https://www.zerohedge.com/medical/who-finally-admits-pcr-tests-create-false-positives

      Testing stats are bullshit, mortality stats are bullshit. All you have is worshipping your God Covid. Enjoy.

      Delete
    2. They aren't bullshit to the people who catch covid and die you asshole. Go away. It was nice when you were gone.

      Delete
    3. I'm surprised he's back, after Biden's landslide victory over that loser he ran against.
      I already forget his name, but you know who I mean, the fake-tanned guy with bad hairpiece and tiny hands.

      Delete
  6. Of course the article cited made no specific claims as to how frequently a faulty methodology is used, and none referencing its frequency in the US. Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Furthermore, as Fauci stated: excessive PCR cycling will tend to pick up dead virus RNA. That may be a false positive for ongoing infection, but would count a recently infected individual. But then why listen to Fauci, right wing troll?

    ReplyDelete
  8. The car accident scenario has been well debunked elsewhere insofar as FINAL reporting by state agencies for cause of death references the event, but being a right wing troll exempts you from facts.

    ReplyDelete
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