The Sunday Age (June 14 2009)) ran the headline Logic seems elusive, but swine flu fears not to be sneezed at and then proceeded to give alarming statistics about Swine Flu killing 1 in 1000. Lets get to work Mathspigs and show what a load of whatever comes out the back end of pigs these numbers represent. The aim of this blog is to get people thinking about numbers that appear in the media. You don’t have to be an expert. You only have to be prepared to think with numbers.
Let us begin. The chances of dying from Swine Flu are 1 in 1000 per diagnosed cases.
The source of this stat is the govt funded AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF HEALTH AND WELFARE #mce_temp_url#
As of June 15 2009 there had been NO DEATHS in Australia from Swine Flu.
ZERO. None. NUTINK!!!!!
See updated statistics on the news.com.au website: #mce_temp_url#
What is going on?
Death stats have one major flaw. The chance of dying is 1000 in 1000 or 100% over a life time, obviously. If 1 in 4 dies of cancer it is not so tragic if they are all over 80 compared with any deaths for, say, under age of 18.
Meanwhile, the chance of dying of Swine Flu as of June 15 2009 was ZERO. The chance of dying of ordinary flu is 1 in 1000 of diagnosed cases BUT those who are diagnosed are often sick already with other conditions.
Finally, your chance of being killed by a shark is 1 in 271,257 as shown.
What? 77 people are killed by sharks in Australia annually.
These are statistics over a life time. 80 years, say.
Less than 1 Aussie a year is killed by sharks.
Maths TEacher, Jeff Trevaskis, has a Foundation Maths exercise using newpapers on his mathsweb blog
#mce_temp_url# involving %, areas and graphs. It might be just the right time to have a look at those CRAZY DEATH STATISTICS too. And just to cheer you up and few more death stats from The Sunday Age article.
UPDATE: As of 21st Oct 2009 Australia is over the peak Swine Flu infection period which usually occurs in August.
The Total Deaths from Swine Flu as of 21st Oct 2009 = 185
Any death is tragic but this must be considered in relation to the statistic that there are around
2,000 – 3,000 deaths in Australia annually for seasonal flu. Australia did take many health precautions regarding Swine Flu and free vaccinations are now available.