To the Editor:
Numbers, numbers, numbers, what do they mean?
The two most numerical friends of the politician are percentages and correlations. These values are commonly used to sway public opinion to justify more dollars or FTEs (full time equivalents – more jobs, usually patronage) to a politician’s town, county or state. The actual numbers calculated to arrive at a percentage or correlation are seldom ever presented nor are the statistics as to the numbers' validity.
Gov. JB Pritzker has adopted another comparison to justify his continuing the state of Illinois to shelter in place, restrict everyone’s rights, and cripple further the economy of an already catastrophically managed state. He used deaths per capita to convince the public that there were areas more affected by COVID-19 than Cook and its surrounding counties, and that the state needed to be treated as a single unit rather than opening up areas distant from the main metropolitan area.
The entire state of Illinois has a population of approximately 13 million, which as of April 28, 2020, had 45,833 confirmed cases and 1,983 deaths reported from COVID-19. So, Gov. Pritzker used a calculated death rate of 13/105 = 0.1238 for Jasper and Monroe counties vs. a calculated death rate of Cook and surrounding counties of 41,595/1,799 = 0.0432 to justify restrictions throughout the state. Another way of looking at it is Jasper and Monroe account for [(13/1,983)]*100 = 0.66 % of the deaths in Illinois while Cook County accounts for [(1,347/1,983)]*100 = 67.9% of the deaths in Illinois. If you figure in the surrounding counties with Cook County you get [(1799/1983)]*100 = 90.72% of the deaths in Illinois. Comparisons between the Jasper/Monroe County number vs. the Cook and surrounding county numbers are not legitimate comparisons to reach statewide decisions. If death rates comparisons were legitimate, Jasper and Monroe counties should have had access to the extra 2,500+ ventilators and beds at McCormick Place not used and should have most of the medical budgets for the state COVID-19 funding. When the actual numbers are seen, supplemental calculations are not even needed.
Common sense says Jasper and Monroe did not need the ventilators nor beds but not used in Chicago. Common sense says we should be able to get most of the state back to work. Common sense says we need politicians receptive to the needs of their constituency regionally. Common sense says not to fall victim to a mathematical soothsayer.