Why all the Corona epidemic numbers are so uncertain


In the intensive care unit of a hospital in Wuhan on January 24th
Picture: dpa

Between 60 and 70 percent of the population will be infected with the corona virus – says the Chancellor. How does this number come about? Why the epidemic statistics are so uncertain.

Dhe existential uncertainty that almost everyone can feel in the corona pandemic has to do with the many uncertainties in our knowledge of the virus. It is reinforced by our handling of the available knowledge. This becomes clear every day when new statistics appear.

Joachim Müller-Jung

Joachim Müller-Jung

Editor in the feature section, responsible for the “Nature and Science” department.

Anyone who reads numbers of the virus that are lethal, except for two decimal places, tends to believe them. Many people probably also expect that the scientists and doctors, who have seen thousands of infected people and made hundreds of studies, now know so much about the Sars-CoV virus that the statement made by the Chancellor, among others, can be considered certain: Between sixty and seventy percent of the population would be exposed to the virus.

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