Omicron, Ontario and Lying With Statistics by Francis Turner
Note: You are strongly recommended to go and look at the source data at the page below
So there’s a graph going around social media that is more or less a classic example of how to lie with statistics. The graph is this one (or close relatives) as publicized by Alex Berenson, a journalist who has been increasingly skeptical of vaccine effectiveness
If you look at it uncritically it shows a huge spike in cases amongst those vaccinated against the wuflu while those unvaccinated are staying more or less constant. So you look at it and think that the current omicron variant is more infectious for the vaccinated than the unvaccinated.
However there’s some critical information that’s being missed. That is that the number of fully vaccinated is over 80% of the population while the unvaccinated consist of about 14% which means there are 5-6 times as many vaccinated as unvaccinated.
So if the wuflu were equally bad for both you’d expect roughly 5x as many whereas actually you have (at the peak) between and 3x and 4x. When you go to the website and click on the rater per 100k button you get the above graph.
And there’s plenty to comment on with that graph. Specifically it shows that the current (omicron) variant is not particularly bothered by the wuflu vaccines when it comes to infecting people. This is potentially bad and certainly suggests that optimistic people like me a year ago were overly optimistic in our reading of the trial results for the various wuflu vaccines. Bluntly the last few months have shown that protection against infection wanes rapidly and/or is very specific to earlier mutations of the wuflu and is far less effective against newer ones. Hence the frantic “get a booster”, “get another booster” messaging from the people who want to keep everyone scared
It also certainly suggests that, as should have been obvious to anyone with half a brain, the idea that the world would eradicated the wuflu was completely misguided.
So if you want to be skeptical of vaccine mandates you have quite enough evidence from that second graph and you aren’t in fact being misleading. In fact what it shows is that the wonderful new mRNA vaccines are no better than the traditional flu vaccines. You get some months of protection then the virus mutates and all that protection dissipates. Only unlike flu vaccines the mRNA ones have plenty of nasty side-effects.
But wait, there’s more and it’s more complicated. From the same Ontario site there’s this
Looking at that and you see that vaccination still seems to help against severe infection. Although 14% of the population are unvaccinated they make up ~55% of the not seriously hospitalized and about 66% of the ICU patients.
But wait… there’s (even) more.
When you do the sums about the population of Ontario (14.8 million) and the number of hospitalized (total 331) you realize that the wuflu is no more dangerous than the regular flu and way less so if you’ve had your wuflu jab.
So if the anti-vax people want to get their point across without using misleading statistics they would just take the graphs of cases and hospitalizations and put them against the population of Ontario. Or they’d just use the aarph per 100.000 produced by the Ontario health people and point out that even amongst the unvaccinated the rate of cases is 25/100,000 or 0.025%, hospitalizations are about 10% of cases and deaths (elsewhere, can’t see the Ontario numbers) are under 10% of hospitalizations (or <1% of cases).
They could also usefully look at the UK numbers and see that while cases are at record highs, hospitalizations and deaths are less than 10% of what they were at the last peak, a year ago.
And that of course ignores the number or people worldwide who have died from the current scary omicron strain (as opposed to with it), which appears to be roughly the number of people shot by Alec Baldwin (plus or minus one).