All over the internet you see statistics about the Coronavirus. Yes, statistics are great to have, but without some basis, the numbers can be deceiving. For example, comparing the total number of cases or the total number of deaths by country and then ranking them that way is deceptive. Why? Because not every country has the same population! Duh! The real statistic that would be important to show is which country has been hit the worse, to compare the number of cases or deaths base on cases per 1000 people or any other consistent number. Of course, you may argue that we really don’t know the total number of cases or deaths because it is a given that the entire population of every country has not been tested and perhaps not all deaths have been reported as corona-related. Also, true. So, what does the statistic really tell us? Perhaps only that the coronavirus is something that needs to be addressed and that social distancing may have an effect in slowing it’s spread. It may even tell us within a country, a state, or even a county when the bell curve of new cases would indicate that the crisis is over. Of course, keep in mind that as more testing has occurred, the number of cases could grow, especially with milder cases that might not have been tested in the past because they did not have the symptoms to warrant testing. But should simple counts be used as a ranking tool? No!
I also why recovery counts are no longer typically shown. Total cases should be the sum of: Deaths + Recovery + Still Sick. To give us Total and death counts only is an incomplete picture of what is really going on.
A similar situation occurs here in the United States. Ranking states by the total number of cases or deaths is just as phony because not all states have the same population. It is entirely possible for a state with a total population smaller than another state may have a higher case or death rate. Does that make one state ‘safer’ than another and warrant earlier opening of that state? Should it be based on the state population? Again, cases per 1000 people to me is a much better way to determine your potential exposure to someone with the virus? Of course, even state number are somewhat deceptive as well as areas with greater population density are more ‘dangerous’ than areas that are sparsely populated.
I’m not going to repeat the above when it comes to comparing one county with another within a state, but you get the point by now right? Population density must be considered when determining how safe an area may be. If you are walking around in an area of low population density, you may see very few people while you are out, but if you work in one of the major metropolitan areas around the country, you might have close encounters of the contagious kind much more frequently.
As someone who is interest in Power BI, you know that statistics must be crafted carefully so as not to deceive or present an incorrect or distorted conclusion. That is something we all must be careful of when using Power BI to show statistics.