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Tue May 12, 2020, 11:54 AM

The way you present numbers can get through to some people.

I have been struggling to get a neighbor to appreciate the severity of the pandemic here in the U.S. She was planning to get her hair (cut and dye) and nails (mani-pedi of course) done this week. She's also reluctantly wearing a mask when she's required to. Will not wear one if it is optional.

Finally dawned on me that this was a person who can't really internalize either raw numbers or percentages. 80,000 sounds low to her in a population of 328 million, and .03% sounds positively minuscule. So I flipped the calculation and presented ratios instead.

When I pointed out that on April 15, approximately one in about 540 Americans had tested positive for the virus and about one in 12,600 had died from it, I got her attention. When I then told her that as of today, approximately one in 240 had tested positive and one in 4,000 had died...a drastic reduction that happened in less than a month, I blew her mind.

You and I know these numbers are probably much worse, but I'm going with what is being reported publicly.

Now fortunately, she is someone who already appreciated that testing was probably nowhere near where it could be (should be in my opinion), and she isn't so far down the right wing rabbit hole that she believes medical examiners are being forced to over-count COVID-19 deaths. I'm not sure those folks could ever be reached.

Ratios look like odds to many people. When numbers are presented that way and seen as increasing odds over a short period of time, it appears some people can be reached. She asked if my offer for a few handmade masks was still open. No clue if she's going to embrace her encroaching natural arctic blonde like I am at the moment.

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply The way you present numbers can get through to some people. (Original post)
Pacifist Patriot May 2020 OP
LeftInTX May 2020 #1
Pacifist Patriot May 2020 #4
jberryhill May 2020 #2
Pacifist Patriot May 2020 #3
bullwinkle428 May 2020 #5
Pacifist Patriot May 2020 #6

Response to Pacifist Patriot (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 11:59 AM

1. The death rate from Covid 19 is 5.86%

This does not include people who survived and did not have fun trying to survive it.

Sure some people are asymptomatic, but look at Boris Johnson etc. I wouldn't want that.

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Response to LeftInTX (Reply #1)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:39 PM

4. I'm terrified of me or anyone in my family getting it.

And that includes the younger healthier ones. I cannot fathom people who still think it is no big deal just because most people are asymptomatic or get mild cases. It's had my utmost respect since I first heard about it in January.

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Response to Pacifist Patriot (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:03 PM

2. How many people would go to a baseball game....

 



...if, during the 7th inning stretch, one person was chosen at random and sacrificed on the pitcher's mound?

I think a lot of people would stay away from the games if that happened - one person out of 20,000 or so.

But, oddly, if you make it a political issue, then people are lining up to get into a worse proposition than that ball game.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #2)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:37 PM

3. That's a great way to illustrate it.

The human brain isn't rational about odds at all. We suck at it!

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Response to Pacifist Patriot (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:07 PM

5. Another proposition - you have a WAY stronger chance of dying from it than you do winning

Powerball, but look at the countless millions lining up to buy tickets every week!

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Response to bullwinkle428 (Reply #5)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:36 PM

6. Yep, my sister's office pool for weekly lottery tickets found a remote way to continue.

Very good example!

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