Saturday, August 1, 2020

Covid19 in Alberta Reality Check

The Ultimate Question
How many people actually have a problem with Covid 19 and how scared do we really need to be of this disease?

Internet Statistics
A popular statistic bandied about, is that up to 80% of people are asymptomatic and 6% of patients need intensive care.


That sounds very scary, but the 6% only applies to the 20% that actually get sick, so that makes it 1% of the population, which means that 99% of the population need not be worried, but some folks are still worried that they will be the 1%.

So much for (probably bogus) statistics off the internet and social networks.

Reality Check
Let's look at the cold, hard, real numbers, of my home state Alberta Canada, straight from the official government web sites:
  • Population: 4,428,247
  • Cases: 10,843
  • Deaths: 196 
  • Percentage of deaths: 196 * 100 / 4428247 = 0.004%
Percentage of Albertans who don't need to worry about Covid19 = 99.996%

To make that number clearer, I made a graph of the Death Rate due to Covid19 in Alberta:


Death Rate Due To Covid19 in Alberta

You cannot see it?  Maybe you need reading glasses...  

I even used a pink sticky note for emphasis, but the result is still decidedly non-scary to me.


Reality Check Against Influenza
Lets compare Covid19 to everybody's favourite, last year's Influenza, again using the official government web site data:

Population: 4,428,247
Cases: 6082
Deaths: 30
Percentage of deaths: 30 * 100 / 4428247 = 0.0007%

Percentage of Albertans who don't need to worry about Influenza: 99.9993%
(Provided that you got your flu vaccine!)

Vaccines
Covid19 in Alberta, is about 6.5 times more deadly than Influenza, but Influenza has widely administered vaccines, which make the number better.

The flu vaccine reduces hospitalizations by about 80%  https://www.cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/vaccineeffect.htm

Therefore, Covid19 (without vaccine) and Influenza (without vaccine) really are about equally bad.

However, Covid19 is worse for old people (80%), while Influenza is worse for young people (children and pregnant women).  For young people, the risk of Covid19 (without a vaccine) is about the same, or less than flu (with a vaccine).  

It is only old people who need to worry about Covid19 and for them, a vaccine probably won't work, because old people's immune systems likely will not react to the vaccine, and for young people it won't make much difference.

So, the question about Covid19 vaccines is: Why bother, if it won't help either way?

Masks
Now, after six months, now that it is all over, some people want to make masks mandatory in public:

I'm not actually against masks, since I suffer from pollen/dust allergies and it may reduce the prevalence of Influenza, TB and common colds slightly, but don't expect masks to be much use against Covid19, because it is over already.

It Is Over

Even in the USA, it is also over, the graphs just keep going down and deaths are below average for the last 3 consecutive weeks:

BS Detectors Needed
A problem that I see is that the good Doctors in charge of the epidemic response are not Farmers, Mathematicians or Engineers and are udderly unable to detect BS projections.  

Budding Epidemiologists should please read this book:
Calling Bullshit
The Art of Scepticism in a Data-Driven World
Jevin D. West (author), Carl T. Bergstrom (author)


Stop worrying.

Enjoy life.  

H.

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