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Articles on Statistics probability and risk

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The risk of dying from COVID-19 varies from person to person. Jasmin Merdan/Moment via Getty Images

If 1% of COVID-19 cases result in death, does that mean you have a 1% chance of dying if you catch it? A mathematician explains the difference between a population statistic and your personal risk

It’s not entirely accurate to say that you’re more likely to die in a car accident than in a plane crash. Chances are, you’re not the average person.
Before the pandemic, an intergenerational tea party wouldn’t have seemed a risky proposition. fotostorm/E+ via Getty Images

It’s impossible to determine your personal COVID-19 risks and frustrating to try – but you can still take action

People want a simple answer. Is this action safe? But despite Anthony Fauci bouncing responsibility for COVID-19 risk assessment to individuals, your risk can’t be boiled down to one probability.
A black swan event must meet three criteria: it must be an outlier, must have a major impact and must be declared predictable in hindsight. (Buiobuione/Wikimedia)

Coronavirus is significant, but is it a true black swan event?

The danger of treating COVID-19 as an astronomically rare and improbable event is that we will treat it as such and fail to prepare for the next pandemic. And there will be another pandemic.
Statistics and probability can sometimes yield mind bending results. Shutterstock

Paradoxes of probability and other statistical strangeness

Sometimes statistics and probability can produce unexpected or counter-intuitive results. If we’re hoping to use numbers to make good decisions, we should be wary of the traps.

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