## Understanding Pandemic Statistics

October 4, 2020 Leave a comment

Real examples help to better understand how to interpret the statistics.

**False Positive Paradox**: A particular medical test for a disease is 96% accurate. If one has the disease, the test comes back ‘Yes’ 96% of the time, and if one does not have the disease, the test comes back ‘Yes’ 4% of the time.

If 100 of 10000 tested patients have the disease, what is the probability that the person with the diagnosis ‘Yes’ has the disease?

**Effective Average Infection Ratio**: R is the effective average infection ratio for a disease, also known as the reproduction number. It is the average number of secondary infections caused by one person. (Infections caused by the secondary infections – which would be tertiary infections – are not counted). Consider 50 infected people. Suppose 49 spread the infection to nobody, but one person spreads the infection to 60 people.

What is the R-value?

*Leslie Green* asks: How would you propose **to deal with the COVID-19 **pandemic, given information current at the time of writing (11 October 2020).

A. Severe lockdown for 4 weeks

B. Ignore it and carry on as normal

C. Partial lockdown and wait for a vaccine

D. Some other idea