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Health official discusses misunderstandings about statistics relating to COVID-19

NOW: Health official discusses misunderstandings about statistics relating to COVID-19

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BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. – A Berrien County Health official said that the statistics surrounding COVID-19 can be misleading and she explained what those numbers actually represent.

Gillian Conrad, the Communications Manager for the Berrien County Health Department, spoke to ABC57 on Monday and provided some clarification on those statistics, which includes the total number of confirmed cases, the total number of people tested, and the mortality rate.

Conrad said that what matters most is having a full understanding of how those numbers were determined.

“It’s really important that people aren’t only looking at the number of confirmed cases alone without other community information to provide context for that number,” Conrad said.

The number of confirmed cases is rising nationwide, but Conrad says that there is more to the story.

An example of this is the mortality rate, which varies from state to state. This is because testing has been made more available in different regions.

This means that possibly many more people may have COVID-19 and not know it – which affects the accuracy of the mortality rate.

“With testing being limited, we are only confirming those cases that are most at high-risk of being hospitalized and having critical illness and subsequently those who may have a higher chance of dying from COVID-19,” Conrad said. “If you’re only looking at the number of confirmed cases and those who might be dying, you’re not getting an accurate reflection, an accurate picture of the risk of dying of COVID-19.”

The mortality rate is often determined by the population and social environment of a specific area or region.

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