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COVID-induced nightmare for a big school in a developing country

It is important for us to appreciate the challenges facing education around the world, particularly in developing countries.  Following a recent post by Monday Osagie Adenomon, “Data speak louder than words” (22 June 2021), I decided to add to the conversation, by reflecting on my experiences as an educator in another African country.

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The devil is in the detail

On August 2, 2021, the US government announced it had met its goal of 70% vaccinated. But what does that mean? 70% of what? And what does vaccinated mean? Well, they meant that 70% of US adults has received at least one dose of vaccine. That actually means 59% of the population in the United States has received at least one shot (and thereby are fairly well protected against the COVID-19 disease with the possible exception of the delta variant). It corresponds to 69% of those 12 and over (who are eligible for the vaccine in the US). But in terms of the entire population, those fully vaccinated (with one or two doses, depending on the vaccine used) make up 50%. The risk of catching the disease for vaccinated people is relatively low, but much higher for unvaccinated individuals.

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The devil is in the detail
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One country’s problem, nobody’s problem, everybody’s problem

When we think about massive migrations and humanitarian crises in the last five to ten years, we probably first picture the migrant waves caused by the conflict in Syria that started in 2011. After 10 years of civil war, 6.6 million people have been forced out of that country, and, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 6.7 million more remain internally displaced. More than 90% of Syrian migrants have found refuge in the neighboring countries of Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. Migrants also flee to European countries like Greece, Germany, and Sweden. This unfortunate and sad episode of human suffering might eclipse the second largest migratory movement and humanitarian crisis of recent years: the Venezuelan diaspora.

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One country’s problem, nobody’s problem, everybody’s problem
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Peanut butter, anyone?

There is a lot of talk about how this ghastly pandemic is affecting the economy. The other day, I came across an article in the The New York Times which focused on one facet of this topic: inflation in the UK. Forecasting inflation right now is difficult because of the pandemic: sudden changes in consumer spending, disruptions in supply chains, and government interventions ameliorate its effects.

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Peanut butter, anyone?
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How to save yourself using a bit of logic and statistics

Logical versus emotional motives. Perceptions versus observed numbers. We are always facing a fight between two sides of the same coin. When we feel anxious, scared, or worried, we look for certainty. Several examples arise in day-life activities. 

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How to save yourself using a bit of logic and statistics
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The curious incident of infected young people

Around the middle of July 2020, the Italian National Institute of Health released statistics on the Covid-19 situation in the country, and it appeared that a substantial number of confirmed cases were concentrated in 19 to 50 year olds, making up 47% of the total, and the average age of those who tested positive was 46 years old — compared to 61 at the beginning of the pandemic. Should we conclude younger people are more likely to get infected today? Possibly yes, but it depends.

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The curious incident of infected young people
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Pandemic and Statistics Marriage: Happy or not? Can we make it work?

The world is immersed in the worst cataclysm of the last 100 years. The quality of the data and the transparency of the methods worldwide is key to solve it. The International Statistical Institute (ISI) may have a leading role in their improvement.

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Pandemic and Statistics Marriage: Happy or not? Can we make it work?
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Bringing joy to people’s lives

Every day, everywhere, we see and hear statistics.   Right now, we are being updated daily on COVID-19 infection rates and sadly, deaths.  But how often do we hear stories about positive impacts of these statistics?   Or positive impacts of the institutions and professionals involved in producing them, who contribute to public life in such a meaningful way?

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Bringing joy to people’s lives
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Queues instead of parades

Crisp morning air, a final round of barbeques, the closing of outdoor pools. Labor Day, the first Monday of September, unofficially signifies the end of summer in the US and officially celebrates the American worker. But what does this labor-centric holiday mean during a global pandemic?

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Queues instead of parades