How are “We The People” supposed to trust statistical data from the government when that data is constantly shown to be inconsistent?
I’ve been seeing these average daily COVID-19 infection statistics charted out in groups of the last 14 days on our local evening news and I heard a rumor that those statistics weren’t accurate. I’m an inquisitive person about things like this so I began to search out the truth. What I found was “interesting” but I can’t honestly tell what the truth actually is and that’s a real problem.
I found a website for Wisconsin COVID-19 information here. The website seemed to present the information pretty well, then something caught my eye, the numbers for the specific days I chose to look at didn’t match from one graph to another so I investigated further. What I found blew my mind.
I chose to match the graph numbers from the Number of people with COVID-19 test results (positive or negative) and the percent positive, by day (last 14 days) with the overall graph All people tested by positive and negative result, with 7-day average percent positive, by person.
With these graphs, you rollover any of the date graph bars on the graphs and an information block pops up and shows you the data associated with that particular date. I chose the dates corresponding with the last 14 days seen on the Number of people with COVID-19 test results (positive or negative) and the percent positive, by day (last 14 days) graph; September 14th thru the 27th. Below are all the graphs:
Here is the complied numerical data associated with each of those graphs:
Here are the differences between the values shown in the two graphs.
Notice that there is considerable differences in the data for all but one day, why? Shouldn’t the data in these graphs be based on exactly the same data and there is differences exceeding five thousand for a single day. The average difference for the daily totals of the thirteen days I looked at is 1,858 and that is completely unacceptable. These numerical differences are ERRORS and they are either corrupting the data for the 14 day graphs or the data for the graph back to March and it’s a progressive error that builds new averages based on flawed data from the preceding days – all of them!
There is no way to tell which graphs are accurate or if either graph is accurate! If statistical data is going to be provided to the public then the public needs that data to be as close to flawless and unchangeable as intellectually possible!
All that said and veering a bit off the statistical data problem but staying focused on COVID; I’ve been paying attention to what’s been happening since the beginning of this COVID-19 pandemic and I think that one thing is consistent, what we are being told is the accurate today is likely not going to be the accurate in a few days; why, because it’s a new virus and everyone is learning on the fly. Throughout this pandemic the media, COVID-19 statistics, statements from reputable scientists, statements from both State and Federal government officials across the board, are too early to be accurate, too late to be effective now, or just plain incorrect because we’re learning on the fly and the mindset changes sometimes it’s subtly and sometimes it’s quite dramatic. Examples; at first we were told that the virus couldn’t be spread person to person, then we were told that it could; masks were not needed because the virus was not airborne, then masks were needed; closing off incoming travel from foreign countries wasn’t appropriate, then it was; asking people to stay at home and isolate themselves from their community wasn’t needed, then it was; etc, etc, etc. It’s time to face it folks, the people that We the People are looking to for public guidance as it relates to COVID-19 don’t really know exactly what they’re talking about including scientists and including places like the World Health Organization because this is a NEW virus with NEW variables and they are all learning on the fly. Now on top of all the uncertainty related to COVID-19, politicians are attacking one another because they have, or have had, differences of opinion based on the changing opinions.
Let’s be honest; about the only things we know for sure about COVID-19 is it exists, only a very small portion of those infected will get any serious life threatening side effects or die from contracting the virus, younger people are much less likely to die from contracting the virus, wearing a mask might help slow the spread of the virus and most of all social distancing does appears to be the best way to slow the spread of the virus. At some point in time I’m relatively certain that we’ll have an effective vaccine and then it can be widely distributed and we’ll create a herd “immunity” like we have done with the flu vaccine every year – it’s not perfect but if the herd immunity is what we’re looking for and vaccines are helpful getting us to that point.
I am quite sick and tired of getting bad and/or constantly changing information from absolutely every source since late January and I’m to the point that I’m now ignoring damn near all of it because I’m one of the villagers in “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. I’m going to continue to social distance, continue to limit my exposure to the public, and wear a mask when I’m around people that I’m not normally around. Once a reasonable herd immunity is reached, I’ll change my ways.
I’m also sick and tired of stupid people gathering in large crowds not wearing masks and not social distancing and as a result some are unknowingly spreading the virus. This applies to college parties, sporting events, political rallies, protests, riots, etc. Just wear the damn mask when you’re around people you’re not normally around and social distance when you’re out in public, it’s really not that hard. There are too many short tempered people out there these days willing to resort to violence over something simple, don’t get into arguments with others because they aren’t wearing masks or social distancing, just ask them politely to keep their distance and learn to walk away if an argument ensues.
Most of all; I’m damned sick and tired of the bull shit political attacks surrounding COVID-19. Everyone was and still is learning on the fly! No one, and I do mean NO ONE, knows for sure what would/could have happened if someone had said something different, or someone had made a different decision, or maybe actually done nothing at all! No one can prove any of these would/could have arguments, it’s all political bull shit. Any arguments attacking someone based on what would/could have been as it relates to COVID-19 is nothing but irrational conjecture and doesn’t deserve any kind retort other than “prove your conjecture” with evidence, which is impossible to do.
Politicians, partisan media, partisan hacks, and partisan shills need to get their partisan heads unburied from that place that the sun never shines.
Featured Image: created from one of the graphs I shared that were obtained from the link I shared.
[EDIT 9/29/2020: Fixed a few typos and grammar errors.]