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Concurrence, Correlation and Causation

We humans have a tendency to confuse these three different concepts: 

Concurrence, Correlation and Causation. 

The Covid-19 crisis is a case in point. So far, we don’t have much serious data to answer this “3C” question, and we simply presume “causation”, which could prove to be wrong and foolish. 

Exactly to what degree are the deaths currently reported as Covid-19 deaths actually a mere concurrence, or just a correlation, or causation indeed?

Before figuring out the actual science (which may take a long time if ever), one of the helpful data might be comparing the total number of deaths during this period against the same periods in the past years. We can compare totals regardless of the cause of death first, and then categorize numbers according to various type of diseases, to see if the overall data is telling us something. 

For example, what if (only if because I don’t know) there is not such a big spike in the number of deaths during this period?  

There are reports based on quite vigorous studies that a lot of the deaths (in fact the vast majority of that in a German medical report) only have a concurrence relation with Covid-19. There is not even a clear showing of correlation, much less the most probable causation. But such reports still lack quantity and intensity.

At the same time, the New York antibody test shows for every “confirmed case” there are 10 people who were actually infected by the virus. People’s first reaction tends to be “that’s terrible, the disease is scarier than it is reported!” But the reality is the opposite.

New York data means that fatality (even if you assume causation, which could be a very wrong assumption) of the Covid-19 virus is only 1/10 of what is reported now, pushing it to the same order of magnitude of the fatality of a bad flu season. If you take the actual causation into consideration, the rate is bound to be much lower even, very possibly close to a bad flu season.  

Now, of course, fatality is only one factor. Transmissibility or infection rate is another, which seems to be the most alarming characteristic of this virus, due to its novel nature and the consequent lack of existing herd immunity. 

But the question remains, to what extent have we been psychologically “tricked” by a zoom-in lens effect that focused on a single attention-grabbing event and incorrectly assumed causation in all cases when there is probably only a correlation, or perhaps even just a concurrence, in most of them? 

No one seems to be asking these questions, journalists, scientists and the government.

The media has a hysteria reaction toward any suggestion that we should consider “back to business”, as if they were participating in a “who-cares-more-about-life” contest in which the scoring is simply measured by the level of antagonism towards doing business.  

I can’t even have this conversation in my family without risking me being regarded as a “callous human being” by my wife and children (well, just joking, because at the end of the day, they know me and I do care, but such “immunity” is usually limited to close circles only).

On the other hand, judging from the crowded California beaches, it seems to me that Americans are doing everything normally except for not working.