The problem is that much of it’s based on public data that’s limited, incomplete and often outdated, meaning it can lead to wrong conclusions
The COVID 19th pandemic in Canada has ushered in the golden age of amateur graphic on the epidemiological curve. Everywhere you turn, someone else gets graphs.
The problem is that much of it is based on public data are limited, incomplete and often outdated, which means it can lead to the wrong conclusions about what actually happened.
It’s not all bad news. public health agencies are slowly increasing to provide detailed and up-to-date information. Testing began clearing the backlog and increased laboratory capacity. But it remains very difficult to find the source of the jurisdiction of the detailed data and compare accurately, and the most chart remains to be seen with a skeptical eye.
Here is a guide to a known issue with the data we are now, and how to sort through the clutter to find what is really useful.
Payless attention to case counts, more to hospitalizations
Most of the songs that you see are based on a “confirmed case” number, which tests for COVID-19 filled by qualified laboratories. But the number of these cases presents a very limited picture of the situation of the country – and sometimes one that is very distorted.
the number of cases is always about two weeks behind because of the lag in people develop symptoms and get tested. They also substantially underestimate the real number of cases due to limited testing capacity.
But the Canadian case count is very difficult to analyze because of differences in the way the provincial test. BC and Alberta, for example, began to test extensively and then tighten their criteria for high priority cases. Ontario and Quebec are the opposite: they start out slowly and now more quickly and comprehensive tests (although Quebec ramped up much faster).
In addition, beware of a misleading surge in the number of cases every day. They tend to be because of the backlog is being cleared or a change in how the test is processed, not real daily increase in cases.
For all these reasons, the number of cases should be treated as one indicator of the situation of a country. Hospitalizations and deaths are more reliable metric, although both also come with a warning.
People are hospitalized because of breathing problems is a high priority for testing, so these figures are less influenced by a variety of testing standards and backlogs. Hospitalization – especially intensive care statistics – is also important to track because COVID-19 became highly lethal when hospitals run out of capacity.
The provincial health agencies have been slow to provide inpatient care information on their Web sites, but most are now doing it. For the best example, the data Quebec health institutions are now posting tracking chart hospitalization and intensive care cases from time to time. Ontario published a matter of hospitalization for the first time on Thursday.
However, hospitalization is an indicator laggier of confirmed cases, so be aware you look at the situation as it stands more than two weeks ago.
Deaths from COVID-19 is also a more accurate picture of the spread of the disease, but these indicators are lagging farther behind from the hospital. Death can also be disproportionately affected by outbreaks in long-term care homes.
Look for local data most
Public Health Agency of Canada recently began posting daily summary of epidemiological COVID-19, including a breakdown of age groups and general symptoms.
But the report comes with a caveat: they only have detailed information about nearly half of the cases, since they depend are in the province sent a case report. Of the 9017 cases were confirmed in their 1st April report, the FBI only has the age and sex info on 5590 cases, and only has the status of hospitalization for 3,177 cases.
A general rule to follow is that the higher the government agencies, the less updating their info as possible.
This was starkly illustrated in Ontario, where the provincial medical officers have been puzzled by a reporter asked why the provincial rate is so far from what the local public health unit reported.
For example, on Wednesday, reporters asked why Ontario’s chief medical associations collectively the local health unit reported a 65 COVID 19 deaths, while Ontario’s official count was 37. “I was a bit surprised the difference was, I must say,” Barbara Yaffe respond. He said the provincial rate depends on the health unit to enter data.
If you collect the data, first check the most local levels of the health authorities. Many are now reporting its own data COVID their 19th, and it may take days for the data to trickle down to higher levels.
Many people have basic coding knowledge or software to create their own graphics. That does not mean they know one thing about epidemiology.
But there are many people who are subject matter experts and publicly commented on the data, often on their social media accounts, although some have started the website. If you want to know what happened, find experts of infectious disease, critical care physicians, statisticians and public health authorities, and pay close attention to what they say.
As a recent example, Ontario is now (finally) open to individual datasets post-COVID 19 such cases. At first, glance, put it into the chart can show Ontario bending curve.
But David Fisman, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health, ran that data through modeling itself with adjustments for known data weaknesses. conclusion? COVID-19 was still on the march in Ontario.
You can just divide 1 by each of those values to get the inflation factor by day lag. pic.twitter.com/SQbKOk164l
— David Fisman (@DFisman) April 2, 2020
“So sadly we must now retract our high-fives,” Fisman tweeted. “But it’s important to actually know where we’re at…We are not out of the soup yet.”
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