Selection Bias and COVID 19 Statistics

Folks sure find comfort in information explained with simple numbers… the process seems to provide a sense of trust

Certainly complex numbers leave us with math anxiety… but rationalizing that simple numbers always accurately frame reality… is a position we just have to adjust. 

Called selection bias… we tend to make decisions from numbers that aren’t representative of the risks of a population we’re considering… driving conclusions that are factually flawed. Selection bias commonly occurs because our brain seeks simple solutions to unknowns… that make us anxious, stressed, or otherwise awkwardly awed

When it comes to assessing risk and outcomes… from pandemic contagions like SARS Coronavirus 2… quick fix numbers can fool us into generalizing statistical results… that are very deceiving… So that’s why Doc… understanding the terms prevalence and incidence when evaluating the true impact of COVID 19… can be somewhat relieving…

The prevalence ofCOVID 19… is the fraction of folks who have the disease… against the entire population that DO NOT The media all too often… demonstrate selection bias… by confusing prevalence with incidence… a statistical term which doesn’t look at an entire population but rather at the RATE of folks developing COVID 19 during a certain time slot

When it comes to selection bias… unless everyone is tested for their COVID 19 state… we really won’t know its prevalence or true mortality rate… It’s a funny feeling to know using incidence as a simple number to tell a complete story… is a statistical flaw nurturing fear and stress… that’s unnecessarily gory…

Copyright Alan P. Xenakis, MD, Doc X MD and Audra RN 180 CVB Funny Feelings© Air Date 2020