Data Cherry Picking 101

A friend sent me the following link —

It starts off like this — dates in parentheses added by me.

“Health officials in the midwestern U.S. state of Wisconsin reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases Thursday, (28 May) two weeks after the state Supreme Court struck down a state-wide stay-at-home order issued by the governor and enacted by the state health department.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 599 new known COVID-19 cases Wednesday, (27 May) with 22 known deaths, the highest recorded daily rise since the pandemic began. The department reports the state had more than 16,460 known cases and 539 known deaths as of Wednesday.”

Well that proves it, doesn’t it?   Removing restrictions has clearly  been a disaster.

No it doesn’t.  This is data cherry picking par excellence — one day’s cases — after a long holiday (Memorial Day)  weekend means nothing.  The ‘spike’ is an artifact of how cases are reported.

Here are the daily new COVID-19 cases from Massachusetts (which has relaxed nothing so far)
24 May 382
25 May 281
26 May 197
27 May 688 

Do not forget that there are huge agendas at stake in how data is reported after loosening of the restrictions.  It shouldn’t be that way but it is.

Here are a few apocalyptic predictions about what would happen after Georgia lifted its restrictions 25 April.  Future predictions and definitive statements from these sources should be taken with a grain or more of salt.

From The Atlantic — “Georgia’s Experiment in Human Sacrifice — The state is about to find out how many people need to lose their lives to shore up the economy.” —

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  • Anon  On May 29, 2020 at 11:21 am

    Media lies. What’s new? Why are you so obsessed about this?

    • Mark Thorson  On May 29, 2020 at 5:27 pm

      I wouldn’t say media lies in this case. It’s cognitive bias influenced by political beliefs. There’s plenty of legit scientists that journalists can cite to confirm that fit within their largely unconscious cognitive bias. luysii is kind of like cartoonist Scott Adams, who was one of very few people predicting a Trump victory over a year before it happened, based on his unusual lack of cognitive bias and astute analysis of the facts that matter.

      • Anon  On May 29, 2020 at 8:03 pm

        I’m with luysii on that one. How people didn’t see he was coming is beyond my understanding. They were so isolated in their bubbles that they didn’t even give it a chance. But in luysiis case I’m sure there was some wishful thinking involved since he himself voted for him.

  • luysii  On May 29, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    No one knows how I voted but all are welcome to guess.

    Have another look at

    At present, I think it’s playing out to re-elect Trump, as predictions of doom are not being borne out. Remember the unemployed and the owners of damaged or destroyed businesses aren’t the ones writing the editorials and choosing what articles to display in the NYT, WaPo, Atlantic, MSNBC, CNN etc. It’s going to be hard for them to justify all this pain.

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