Friday, May 29, 2020

Our Pictures in the Head Are Wrong

Until today I had an image in my mind: people come down with some symptoms, they start to get worse, they go to the hospital to the ICU.  Sometimes they go on ventilators and likely die; sometimes they are able to recover and leave the hospital.  That to me was the normal course of events for people with covid-19.  It's wrong.

I started looking at data today.  One set of data was the rate of death, which turns out to be about .6 of  1 percent.  Then I tracked down CDC data on the rate of ICU admissions.  That turns out to be much smaller.

I should have realized: sometimes people die in the hospital as I was thinking, but sometimes they die in their nursing or assisted living home.  And sometimes they die in their home home. So dying in the hospital is not the majority experience. 

As is often the case,things are more complicated than the images you have in your head.

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