Viral statistics April 03, 2020, 04:38:50 PM The media are full of stories about the new virus but the way the data of the disease are presented has never struck me as giving a clear message. Number of cases/deaths per day do not mean too much on their own (except of course to the families of the bereaved) but as sheer numbers, they don't really indicate the way things are going and whether things are getting better or worse. I have recently been discussing this with new member Paul Altobell who has worked professionally in the field of statistics and I'm glad to say that he agrees with me (or vice versa). I always felt that plotting the frequency coordinates in logarithmic form would give a much clearer idea. However in today's Times, they have switched to doing just that, although the fact that it is a logarithmic scale is mentioned at the bottom of the diagram in vanishingly small print. The Financial Times is ackowledged ats data source. The other criticism I should make is that the freqency data are shown as absolute numbers, whereas it's clear that they have been normalised by dividing the numbers by the head of population (in millions? it doesn't say)When you do this , comparing the plots for differenet countries, it's amazing how all the European and US data fall very closely on the same curve, at least initially. On the log. plot the curve is more linear and it enables one to predict by extrapolation how many deaths will result if nothing is done. We are still waiting to see if the lockdown here is having the desired effect. The Italian curve has definitely started to level out. It means of course that there will be many more deaths but at least the rate is falling off to one where the hositals can cope. Even Germany seems to follow the same curve but they are some days behind us. The one outlier is of course Korea,where their experience of SARS has enabled them to have the resources and techniques ready to throttle the progress of the disease from the start.I finish by inlcude a couple acurves that Paul has got together and illustrate more clearly what I have been saying.