Commentary: COVID – 19 Statistics

This current crisis has been a real eye opener for me as regards how our government handles human health. Prior to World War II, the US government published annual numbers on how much milk, eggs, butter, etc was produced. After WW II, Washington D. C. got on board with the modern world and started publishing numbers like GNP, Inventories, National Income, and such things. I thought by now our country was up to par with everything the modern world considers important. I guess not. Here is why I think that.

As a scientist, I have had a lot of training on how to take data. I know from training that if I have a large population of something, for instance, 999 trillion red and white balls, I do not count every ball to determine the number of white balls. Furthermore, if I have 1000 gallons of salt water and I wish to determine the amount of salt in the tank, I do not boil off all the water, scrape out the salt, and weight it. The scientific thing to do is to take a “sample”.

With a syringe, I can take a representative sample of salt water from the tank, have it analyzed in a laboratory; at which time I will know the density of the salt water: pounds/gallon. I take that density and multiply it by the tank volume, 1000 gallons, and now I know the total salt content of the tank.

We have about 328 million people in the USA. There is no way we can practically go through each individual citizen and check them for disease. Nevertheless, that is essentially what our government is doing when it publishes absolute numbers of disease cases as opposed to relative numbers, like cases per capita. If we really wanted to know the number of sick people in our country, we would take a representative sample of the population. For instance, we would collect 1000 volunteers from the population who are white, black, Hispanic, men, women, lawyers, laborers, students, etc; and under very scientifically controlled conditions, test that sample for the relative amount of disease cases.

To the best of my knowledge, our government is reporting total cases of disease, not relative. That is like me sticking a bucket into the box of red and white balls and stating that I found 2 red balls, throwing the balls back in the box and starting the whole process over the next day. A relative number could tell us the percentage of sick people; and if the number is dropping with time, that means you are coming out of the pandemic.

What is really shocking is that I know that our scientific community knows this. Yet, we continue to play this game with masks that cannot stop a thing so small as a virus, because the virus size is on the scale of an atom. Our government is continuing to enforce lockdowns and social distancing, which also destroy and even kill people through loneliness, stress, and financial hardship. I don’t know what else to say.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s