Do the Omicron Numbers Mean What We Think They Mean?

10 months ago 213

There’s an municipality fable astir a Texas antheral who takes a firearm to the broadside of his barn and sprays bullets crossed the wall, much oregon little astatine random. Then helium finds the densest clusters of holes and paints a bull’s-eye astir each one. Later, a passerby, impressed by this display, trots disconnected successful hunt of the marksman. In a reversal of origin and effect, the Texas Sharpshooter is born.

Illustration by João Fazenda

The Sharpshooter Fallacy is often utilized by scientists to exemplify our inclination to narrativize information aft the fact. We whitethorn observe an antithetic grouping of crab cases and backmost into an mentation for it, cherry-picking statistic and ignoring the vagaries of chance. As we muddle done COVID-19’s wintertime surge, the communicative holds a deeper acquisition astir the perils of interpreting information without a afloat appreciation of the context. Omicron, due to the fact that of its bonzer contagiousness and its comparative mildness, has transformed the risks and the consequences of infection, but not our speechmaking of the statistic that person been guiding america done the pandemic. Do the numbers inactive mean what we deliberation they mean?

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