Guest post by BHARATI JAGANNATHAN
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics”, quoth Mark Twain. We could add a fourth, pretence of statistics in the absence of it. So, there’s data, more data, and the immensely useful pretend data about COVID-19. And almost all of it liable to totally dissimilar interpretations. In fact, this has been the best lesson, for those who in general find statistics challenging and humbly retreat in the face of data-based proofs in any argument, that the same set of data can serve completely opposite ends. However, I digress.
There was speculation in early March that India had fewer cases of infection owing to 1) exposure to malaria and sometime ingestion of quinine (in medical formulations like hydroxychloroquine), or 2) BCG vaccinations in childhood, or 3) warm weather hindering the spread of COVID-19 like many other influenza viruses. Till we realized that it was the effect of abysmal levels of testing. Continue reading Data, New Data, Different kinds of Data, and Covid 19: Bharati Jagannathan