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COVID Misinformation, Context-Dropping and Bad Persuasion from Public Health Authorities

re: How Well do Doctors Understand Probability?

I don’t expect the average person to notice what’s wrong here, but a medical director?

Sure, why not, since most doctors are incompetent at probability. Never trust your doctor to give you the odds, at peril of your life!

The Epoch Times: 49 Fully Vaccinated New Jersey Residents Have Died From COVID-19

by Zachary Stieber, July 22 2021. Emphasis added.

Forty-nine deaths among the population have been recorded since December 2020, the New Jersey Department of Health confirmed to The Epoch Times.

Some 5,300 people who had not gotten a vaccine also died with COVID-19.

The 49 deaths come from the pool of 4.8 million residents who have gotten a vaccine, making the death rate slightly greater than one in 100,000 fully vaccinated people.

“That means vaccines are about 99.999 percent effective in preventing deaths due to COVID-19,” Dr. Ed Lifshitz, medical director of the department’s Communicable Disease Service, said in an emailed statement. [WIND: FALSE claim based on invalid statistic]

...

WIND: there are multiple problems with the above as stated.

First, you cannot calculate a “death rate” versus a cohort of 4.8 million most of whom had no exposure to COVID after vaccination. It’s like saying 4.8 million people wore parachutes around all day, some unspecified number jumped off an airplane of which 49 died. The vast majority never jumped off an airplane. Did the parachutes save them too?

Second, the timeline is wrong: you cannot compare “since December”, when the vaccine only came online in significant numbers around April or so. Compare vaccinated vs unvaccinated during a relevant timeline! That would argue strongly in favor of getting vaccinated.

Third, it ignores age and risk factors. It would be a lot more meaningful to know the type of people who died (age, morbidities, etc). Again, this almost certainly argues in favor of vaccination for high-risk people. But it might argue against vaccination of young healthy people. But lumped-together statistics don’t tell us.

Fourth, the risk of Long-Haul COVID is very real (estimates are up to 25%, I figure 10% for > 3 months). This argues strongly in favor of vaccination for anyone likely to get LHC. But who is likely to get LHC? That’s a risk factor conveniently ignored when hysterically demanding vaccination of children and young healthy adults, who might have very low risk of LHC (I am not aware of any solid data on this question).

Fifth, risks of vaccination (death and permanent injuries) versus going unvaccinated are not at all clear for children and young truly healthy adults. It is possible that risk of vaccination is higher in children’s very different and rapidly growing bodies.

Finally, the persuasion is awful: the 5300 dead unvaccinated vs 49 dead vaccinated is far more persuasive (but also invalid as it needs to be a rate for those actually exposed), but the “vaccination all but eliminates the risk of long-haul COVID” would be far more persuasive.

And of course the Big Life of “death with COVID” = “death from COVID” still applies—no one knows what the true COVID death rate is. Nor does anyone know whether the vaccines will case medium/long term health problems; it is a massive experiment on an unprecedented scale.

In life you often have to make a call based on incomplete information. On that basis most people 30 years old on up should probably get vaccinated barring personal factors—and that can be a serious consideration—it certainly is for me in my weakened condition and with auto-immune issues. Every doctor I’ve asked (4 or 5 now) concurs.

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