Post #878: College safer than home, for COVID-19?

Source:  William and Mary COVID-19 dashboard ,downloaded 10/24/2020.

Is my daughter safer from COVID-19 while at college, than she would be at home?  That’s the point of today’s calculation.  And the answer is a qualified “yes”.

You’ll see a lot of statistics regarding the number of COVID-19 infections within some defined population.  A few weeks back, the news was that nearly 20,000 workers had contracted COVID-19.  Back in June, it was 11,500 grocery store workers that had been infected.   Separately, you will see ongoing statistics on the large fraction of health care and first responder personnel who have been infected.

These are nice bits of click-bait, and do their job of getting people mindlessly angry at somebody.  Throw a big number in your face, get you to respond with your emotions and not your brain, and they’ve done their job.

Nobody ever stops to ask:  How many infections would be “normal” for the population in question?  Does the stated count of infections represent excess risk, above and beyond what the average American faces? Or does it just match the existing “background” rate of infections in a comparable US population?

Take, for example.

Continue reading Post #878: College safer than home, for COVID-19?

Post #786: Coronavius odds, the college version

Source:  CNN

As the night follows the day, if there’s a gory school bus wreck anywhere in the USA, you can bet you’ll read about it.  Not because it has anything whatsoever to do with you.  But because it triggers all those hard-wired parental synapses.  News providers know that, and exploit that to the hilt.  You can’t help but click and read the story.

Today’s Washington Post had an article about coronavirus problems at colleges and universities that have resumed in-person classes.  As is typical for articles of this type, the purpose was to find the worst outliers and use them as click-bait to get people angry and upset.  And, judging from the comments under that story, I’d say they did an excellent job of that. Continue reading Post #786: Coronavius odds, the college version