The Mathematics of COVID-19 Testing

Over on Twitter Taal Levi (@taaltree) posted a long thread explaining statistical issues in COVID-19 testing in great detail.  The issue is the relationship among the specificity and sensitivity of the test as well as the actual number of people infected and not infected.  Lucas C. Wheeler added a nice graphic representation of the problem.  I’ll show you Wheeler’s work first then Levi’s thread  as a pdf file.

Lucas C. Wheeler (‪@LCWheeler9000)
4/10/20, 6:15 PM
‪@taaltree I tried to make a pair of visualizations that show what what this thread is saying in a way that I hope is easy to understand. First one has incidence = 1% and false/real=82%. Second one has incidence=10% and false/real=30%. Here you go!

Wheeler 1 The Mathematics of COVID-19 testing

(click for larger image)

Wheeler 2 The Mathematics of COVID-19 testing

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About Tony Lima

Retired after teaching economics at California State Univ., East Bay (Hayward, CA). Ph.D., economics, Stanford. Also taught MBA finance at the California University of Management and Technology. Occasionally take on a consulting project if it's interesting. Other interests include wine and technology.