Per Capita

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I don’t think per-capita death rates is the correct measure.

Covid does not strike all age groups equally.  Minnesota had zero Second
Graders die of Covid under a strict lock down, Wisconsin had zero Second
Graders die of Covid under no lock down.  Does this tell us anything
about lock downs?  No, because Second Graders don’t die of Covid.  They
are not the at-risk pool. Old people are the at-risk pool.

Also, nobody retires from Florida to move to New York, it’s the other
way around.  Comparing state death rates per capita fails to take into
account that a larger percentage of the population in retirement states
are old people, which gives those states a larger at-risk pool.

A fair comparison is the result of policies in
high-death-rate-per-at-risk-pool states versus
low-death-rate-per-at-risk-pool states.  It takes a fair amount of math.

Minnesota has 5,600,000 people of whom 16% are over 65 [1].

Florida has 21,500,000 people of whom 21% are over 65. [2]

Deaths by Covid are broken into Age and Sex by State. [3]   Yes, all the
numbers are phony, but they’re equally phony.

Doing the math:

Minnesota has 695 Covid deaths in Men aged 65 and up; 816 Covid deaths
in Women aged 65 and up; total 1,511 Covid deaths in the at-risk
population.  1511 -:- 5,600,000 = .0002698.

Florida has 4,177 Covid Deaths in Men aged 65 and up; 3,701 Covid deaths
in Women aged 65 and up; total 7,878 Covid deaths in the at-risk
population.  7,878 -:- 21,500,000 = .0003664

Florida is doing worse than Minnesota, which I did not expect. That
doesn’t mean our strict lock-down made any difference, since college
kids partying on the beach generally have little contact with Grandma in
the nursing home, but the statistics don’t help our case as much as I
thought they would.

Unless I made a mistake, which is totally possible.  Check the math
yourself.

Joe Doakes

[1] https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/MN

[2] https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/FL/PST045219

[3]
https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Provisional-COVID-19-Death-Counts-by-Sex-Age-and-S/9bhg-hcku/data

Fatalities per capita may not be ideal – but it’s the closest thing to a measurement that is simultaneously common enough to be a mathematical lingua franca and compares apples to apples, as it were.

Point taken.

16 thoughts on “Per Capita

  1. The uncompleted calculations (and no, it’s not math, it’s arithmetic) resolve to percentages of 0.03 and 0.04 (rounded up) – that’s 3 and 4 one hundredths of a percent. Using faulty data. And uncontrolled for any variations beyond age. The importance of which is tiny compared to cancer deaths, heart disease, etc.

    I don’t find this new calculation particularly useful.

  2. Difficult if not impossible to construct a true measure given demographic differences between states. Hispanics and blacks have worse Covid mortality and Florida has more of both groups than Minnesota.

  3. Men aged 65 and up

    Women aged 65 and up

    What about 85 and up?

    Here is Florida’s stats broken into 5 year cohorts. Couldn’t find Minnesota’s.

    I would suspect that Florida has a higher percentage of older people.

    Covid fatalities rise with age – but rise is faster as the age rises.

  4. JD, you math is correct, but only answers first “why”. There are additional factors that need to be taken into account and Greg brought up one of them. Another important factor is population density. Like you said, math is very complicated if you want to compare hammers to hammers and not to nails. Alas, your assumptions are too simplistic and error margin is larger then the output. This is why insurance companies and others pay big bucks to actuaries. Do we have an actuary in the readership? I bet they could provide a much more accurate answer in a flash.

  5. I suspect that homosexual men are over represented in covid deaths because they have a greater tendency to contract diseases that weaken the immune system or cause comorbidities.
    Male homosexuals have a greater tendency towards diabetes, alcoholism, nicotine use, and drug use than heterosexual men. For example, see what the good ol’ CDC says about the STD rates of gay men versus straight men:
    https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats17/msm.htm

  6. I acknowledge the limits of my analysis and I appreciate suggestions of other factors I did not consider.

    The reason I began this investigation was the constant media refrain that Florida, Texas and Arizona were deathtraps compared to safe and secure Minnesota. Earlier this year, my calculations showed that was completely wrong. Lately, the numbers have been changing against me. So what’s the reason? Why aren’t Minnesota seniors dying but Florida seniors are?

    It can’t be lockdowns: they don’t affect nursing home patients who already are essentially locked down. It can’t be masks in public mandates; restaurant patio service; schools open or closed, for the same reason. So what’s the explanation?

  7. So what’s the reason?

    Changing how deaths are counted – “from” Wuhan flu vs “with” Wuhan flu. Each state, nay, every municipality is different. If I recall correctly, it was in FL that a person killed in a motorcycle accident was counted as a Wuhan flu death. I could be wrong and too lazy to double check, but the point is – it’s all in the accounting.

    JD, even though you acknowledge the limits, Yes, all the numbers are phony, but they’re equally phony. but alas the phoniness is not universally, nor evenly applied.

    You know, if I had time on my hands beyond writing these short messages, I would be inclined to see if there is any correlation to higher incidence of reported Wuhan flu-related deaths in blue vs red municipalities (not states or even cities but counties). But that’s a lot of work.

  8. Why does the president and everyone that comes near him get tested every day if the virus is not a problem?

    It seems to me there is a second concurring pandemic taking place, one of ignorance. And instead of seeing it for what it is — a full blown pandemic of its own right — Trump sees it probably as his only tool for bringing the Covid pandemic under control.

  9. Joe, it’s a good start. Ideally, we’d have a graph of the likelihood of death vs. age, and do it year by year,and then add “metabolic syndrome”, diabetes, and the like to the model. Huh, lots of smart people in the CDC, whey aren’t they doing this?

    Emery: could it be that there is an important reason to test people in the White House daily, say “functioning of the government”? That if COVID takes off there it has at UW-Lacrosse, we might have some very serious problems?

    Come on, you’d figure this out if a Democrat were in the White House.

  10. 6 months — 200,000 coronavirus deaths
    In the world’s wealthiest, most powerful nation. It’s an unthinkable tragedy. It’s unconscionable outrage.

  11. 1511 -:- 5,600,000 = .0002698.
    Why are you dividing the number of 65+ deaths in MN with the entire population of MN? Shouldn’t you be dividing the 65+ deaths in MN by the 65+ population of MN?
    Someone did this for all states as of July 22: https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/what-share-of-people-who-have-died-of-covid-19-are-65-and-older-and-how-does-it-vary-by-state/
    MN is 6 from the top (Idaho is worst).
    FL is 18 down.
    Interesting. WI is a nearly a twin to MN politically, culturally, economically, and demographically. It is 25th on the list.

  12. Max – THANK YOU. I just KNEW there was something wrong with my figures but let’s be honest, there’s a reason I was an English major and not a Math major.

    1,511 dead out of an at-risk pool of 896,000 = .0017 Minnesotans.

    7,878 out of an at-risk pool of 4,515,000 = .0017 Floridians.

    Florida’s doing no better than us, but no worse, giving the lie to the media hysteria over masks and social distancing. And, of course, the total percentage of Americans who have died from Covid remains ZERO percent. It’s not a public health crisis, it’s a political hoax.

  13. JD, how can you call this a hoax when we passed 200,000,000 dead milestone a couple days ago! Look around you! Every two out of three people you know are now dead. They are dead, JD!

  14. I did look for them, jpa, but they all died of climate change, except the ones who died of net neutrality.

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