In Part 2 of my posts on COVID-19 in Ontario, I said that for Part 3 we’d be taking a look at the updated case statuses, as well as hospitalizations. However, I’d like to put that on hold for a moment to instead address something which I think needs be far more, and worryingly continues to occur.
I will also preface this post with the same caveats and disclaimer for my other analyses on this topic related to health and disease:
- I am not an epidemiologist, nor am I a subject matter expert on disease nor public health policy
- All handling of the data / code / statistics, interpretations thereof, and thoughts expressed are my own and only my own
- This post may contain errors or omissions given the above which are only my own
I intentionally choose a rather inflammatory title for this post because I wanted to make this point strongly and because I feel it needs to be made, and strongly. As opposed to my usual writing style, I will not have an introduction and background, but instead state the bottom line up front:
Looking at daily case counts for COVID-19 alone is, at best, uninformed and naïve, and at worst, highly misleading.
In fact, I will illustrate that:
- Apparent exponential growth in positive cases could be explained by the growth in testing a population with a set amount of disease present
- What might appear to be large daily changes in the absolute number of cases can be duplicated as nothing more than statistical noise due to sampling