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Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: China and Covid

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When HMRC receive the statistics regarding P.A.Y.E. tax take, V.A.T., Corporation Tax for any quarter of any year, they check backwards, and very soon will be able to see the health of the economy. Politicians base their plans upon how much cash they reckon they can gouge out of the public purse, along with how much they can borrow; on the numbers provided by the Treasury, and then sit, crossing their fingers that nothing upsets the financial applecart. But there is one thing in which they must believe, implicitly. They must know that they have reliable figures in front of them.

As with cash, so with other statistic listings, and the one I wish to have you cast your eyes and minds across is a set of figures extracted from Worldometer’s spreadsheets, and I think most of us would state that they can be trusted. But truly trusted? Again, we have to accept that if the Worldometer figures can be relied upon, again comes a caveat: who supplies the bean counters with the raw data upon which they must rely upon? The answer is fairly obvious; the Governments, or rather the bean counters who work  for those nations’ governments.

So then we must ask ourselves, which are the more trustworthy numbers, the Nations with a long history of rectitude, honesty and reliability: as well as a reputation for unbending attitudes to the truth?

Most of the Western world’s figures can be relied upon, mainly because with regiments of investigative reporters sniffing at  their very heels, very few Western politicians would veer from the straight and narrow; for fear of reading the headline splashes the very next  day. We see our own Parliament where a politician may spray numbers around like confetti, but woe betide him or her if one of those confetti-like numbers was based upon incorrect statistics. Which is as it should be, because what is said in the House can end up being part of an Act of Parliament; and we all know what can happen when an Act is badly drafted. (See Dangerous Dogs Act) 

Let us now turn to the small set of statistics extracted from Worldometers’ pages which look at, in the greatest detail the deaths from Covid-19. We should look at the three sets of numbers, look again at the four nations which contributed those figures: and then ask ourselves, the question: “Do they make sense?” As I stated earlier; which set of figures are to be taken as read, and which should not be looked at before buying a fresh carton of Saxa salt?

Nation Population Number Virus Cases Dead
USA 331,000,000 2,100,000 116,000
Brazil 212,000,000 829,000 41,900
UK 67,880,000 292,000 41,481
CHINA 1,439,000,000 83,000 4,634

I reckon that the USA and the UK can both be implicitly trusted to be as frank as they can be. Even his harshest critics would baulk before accusing America’s President of being less than honest about a set of statistics which discussed America’s dead: spin, possibly, but lying? Nope! The same can well be said of the crowd in No. Ten, Downing Street. Matt Hancock must be rueing the day he promised 100,000 tests available, never mind actually carried out. So, honest? Again, the possibilities of ‘spin’ can creep in, but when you are placing yourself in the firing line of a British Press Conference, every day of the week; your sources and numbers will not only be double-checked, the checkers themselves will have backups, and they had better agree!

Brazil? Well there is the Latin-American temperament to allow for, plus the evidence that the President still doesn’t really believe, despite all facts at his fingertips, that his Nation still has one hell of a struggle on its hands. Let’s be generous and say that, within a margin of error, the deaths, as registered are correct.

But then we come to CHINA, the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Does it make any sense, when the U.S.A.’ deaths, for a population total of 330 millions, are given as 116,000?  And the numbers for PRC? For a population of 1.4 BILLION, they acknowledge a total of 4,634! The spin coming out of Beijing, on anything to do with the Virus, has always been impressive.

As thinking human beings, we always have an inclination to take the old adage about “If it walks, quacks and looks like a duck, the odds are that it is a duck” being applicable to most situations. If America, possibly the most advanced Nation in the world, even from a slow and staggered start, can organise a response to the deadly Covid-19 with a high but manageable total of 116,000 deaths: how is it that China, with a population five times as large as the USA; comes out with 4,634 deaths: in other words or numbers: China deaths equal 3.99% of America’s.

Sorry, folks, but I reckon China has been lying through their collective teeth. They may have just incinerated the bodies, or fiddled with the Crematorium numbers; but 3.99%? IN CHINA?

 
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