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Data Literacy

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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…

What is confirmation bias? What is motivated reasoning? How do they impact the spread of misinformation?

Data Literacy Uncertainty and Misinformation

A: Confirmation bias happens when we accept information that confirms our pre-existing ideas or beliefs, but ignore or question information that does not. Motivated reasoning happens when we only seek out information that confirms what we already think is true. Both ways of distorted thinking can lead us to share information without critically assessing it 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…

With so many people using home tests (which mostly go unreported), how can we rely on COVID-19 data to understand community levels of transmission?

Data and Metrics Data Literacy Testing and Contact Tracing

A: With more people using home rapid tests interpreting local COVID-19 data does become murkier, but a useful addition is wastewater surveillance! TL; DR Keeping an eye on local wastewater surveillance can help round out understanding of community transmission as it doesn’t rely on testing or reporting of test results. ✳️Home testing is great because Read more…

Q: If 50% of COVID hospitalizations are among the vaccinated, does that mean the vaccines aren’t working?

Data and Metrics Data Literacy Vaccines

A: No. This metric sounds useful, but it can’t tell us anything about vaccine effectiveness. Since the roll-out of COVID vaccinations, many headlines have reported the percent of COVID hospitalizations and deaths who were vaccinated, trying to convey how well the vaccines are working. ‘Only 1% of COVID hospitalizations are vaccinated people’ sounds encouraging, doesn’t Read more…

What is the real COVID-19 death toll? Are we over-counting deaths?

Data and Metrics Data Literacy

A: Sadly, we are most likely UNDER-COUNTING Covid-19 deaths. While the official global death toll from Covid-19 is now 4.6 million, the actual toll is estimated to be close to 15.4 MILLION people. Among the most persistent COVID-19 myths is the idea that COVID-19 deaths are being over-counted, including stories of victims of motorcycle accidents Read more…

What is the real COVID-19 death toll? Are we over-counting deaths?

Data and Metrics Data Literacy

A: Sadly, we are most likely UNDER-COUNTING Covid-19 deaths. Among the most persistent COVID-19 myths is the idea that COVID-19 deaths are being over-counted, including stories of victims of motorcycle accidents getting tested in the hospital so they can be counted as COVID-19 deaths, or the infamous line that people are dying *with* COVID-19 rather Read more…

In vaccine trial data we trust?!

Data and Metrics Data Literacy Uncertainty and Misinformation Vaccines

A: Like a healthy democracy, a healthy data system relies on a sophisticated set of checks and balances. The FDA’s system is highly protective against data hanky-panky.* Today an FDA advisory panel meets to discuss Moderna’s vaccine data – with an eye towards recommending emergency use authorization. Your Nerdy Girls look forward to watching all Read more…

Are we over-counting COVID-19 deaths? Wouldn’t lots of people dying of COVID19 be dying from other causes anyway?

Data and Metrics Data Literacy

A: Sadly, it is clear that we are NOT over-counting COVID deaths. It’s true that some people who died of COVID-19 over the past 9 months would have died anyway, but we can account for this by counting OVERALL deaths compared to the same period in previous years. Among the COVID-19 myths that just won’t Read more…