Over the past few weeks, my relationships with my friends and family have become strained. I am a data-driven guy and I question almost everything. I like to think for myself. Being a Charlie Munger disciple, my toolbox contains few mental models. Below are the two fundamental tenets which form the basis of my belief and decision-making system.
Usually, there is little overlap between my hobbies and the hobbies of my extended group of friends. However, during the pandemic, everyone is an epidemiologist. For some weird reason, the common belief is that India is at the top of the game and the way it has handled the situation is commendable. I beg to differ based on the numbers. My source of data is Worldometers. I think the only way to get better data is to test people. Test as many citizens as possible. India has yet to step up the game. For 1 million citizens, India’s tested only 393 people.
When I say this, the first counter-argument is India’s population makes it impossible to test so many people! Rubbish again. The population is the source of all evil has been the argument for as long as I remember. This argument, as shown above, is easy and takes away personal accountability. I counter the population argument by saying that the need is not to entire population, which stands at 1.3 billion but the densely populated cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru etc. should be on the priority list. And this is where I give Germany’s example, which has tested around 24,000 people per million citizens. The number is meaningful to then apply statistical models to it.
One of the silliest and ignorant comments to Germany’s numbers was that Germany’s population is that of a small state. With comments like these, it is hard to prove with evidence on the spot. We ended our chat and I tried to dig further. A few Google searches – population of Germany and Indian state population – were able to provide great insight.
- the population of Germany is circa 83 million
- if Germany was an Indian state it would slot between Madhya Pradesh with 72 million population and West Bengal with a population of circa 91 million! The numbers are based on 2011 census and the source is (click here)
Based on the data Germany would be the 5th populous state in India and hence it’s tally of 24,000 tests per million citizens would be a meaningful dataset to build the statistical models on. 393 tests per million citizens does not give enough statistical significance!