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Is ‘Immunity Debt’ Behind China’s Rising Childhood Pneumonia Cases?

Data and Metrics Infectious Diseases

TL;DR: There is no “immunity debt” for individuals. But *populations* can experience a “catch-up” period after a period of low virus transmission, which is what seems to be happening in China right now. Recent reports of a high number of cases of childhood pneumonia in China definitely made epidemiologists a tad nervous. But so far, Read more…

Are we over-counting Covid deaths?

Data and Metrics Data Literacy

No. Sadly, we are most likely still UNDER-counting Covid-19 deaths. Among the most persistent COVID-19 myths is the idea that COVID-19 deaths are being over-counted, which recently resurfaced in a Washington Post editorial. We’ve all heard stories of COVID positive motorcycle accident victims being counted or the saying that people are dying *with* COVID-19 rather Read more…

I heard that US life expectancy fell again. Does this mean *my* lifespan will be shorter?

Data and Metrics Data Literacy

A: Not necessarily. Despite the name, life expectancy doesn’t predict the lifespan of individuals. But as a “snapshot” of mortality in the US, the news is not good. Recent U.S. CDC estimates show a loss of a 2.7 years of life expectancy in 2021 compared to 2019. Surprisingly, despite the vaccine roll-out, U.S. life expectancy Read more…

Why do long COVID estimates seem to vary so much from study to study?

Data and Metrics Data Literacy Long COVID

A: Different case definitions, study participants, data collection methods, and study timing across studies. TL:DR: Current estimates of the proportion of COVID-19 cases that develop long COVID range from 3-20% and have been as high as 50%! Considering how studies differ can help us understand why estimates vary so much across studies. Things to keep Read more…