Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lying With Statistics

US Airports Screened 2000 Travelers For Ebola, But Found No Cases  
Nearly 2,000 travelers from West Africa who arrived at five U.S. airports over a recent one-month period were screened for Ebola, but the screenings did not reveal any of these people to actually have the disease, according to a new report. The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the first to look at how the heightened airport screening of all travelers arriving from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia has proceeded since it began, in October.
One traveler included in the report was health care worker Dr. Craig Spencer, who developed symptoms of Ebola later, and was diagnosed with the disease six days after he arrived in the U.S. (Spencer has since recovered from the disease and has been released from the hospital.)
Under the heightened screening procedures, travelers from the three Ebola-affected countries have their temperatures checked, and are asked questions aimed at determining if they have Ebola symptoms or were exposed to the disease. Between Oct. 11 and Nov. 10, there were 1,993 travelers screened, according to the report. Of these, 86 people — all health care workers — were referred to the CDC for more evaluation.
Seven of these travelers required a medical evaluation because they had some symptoms, but these evaluations revealed that none had Ebola.
The most common final destinations for travelers arriving in the U.S. from Ebola-stricken countries were New York (19 percent), Maryland (12 percent), Pennsylvania (11 percent), Georgia (9 percent) and Virginia (7 percent), the report found.
The airport screenings allowed the public health departments to get contact information from travelers so they could be monitored, "and provided an added layer of protection for the U.S. public," the report said.
The U.S. began this screening after the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Thomas Eric Duncan, traveled from Liberia to Dallas in September, and developed symptoms of Ebola after arriving in the U.S. Duncan died of the disease on Oct. 8.
Airports in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been screening departing passengers with temperature checks since August. Between August and October, about 80,000 people traveled by plane out of those countries, including 12,000 on their way to the United States, the report said.
None of these passengers on international flights developed symptoms of Ebola while they were traveling, the report said.

The factual way to look at that is that screening confirmed that 1992 travelers who didn't have Ebola were screened, but that screening procedures failed in 100% of the infected cases to actually point them out or prevent them from arriving here, which is the whole point of doing a screening.

(Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?)

And that only pure happenstance and luck prevented that one infected lying jackass from infecting any one of hundreds of people while he was gallivanting around Manhattan and Brooklyn symptomatic for three days and in full denial about his condition, and only secondary investigation of his credit cards and subway pass led authorities to conclude he was absolutely lying about his wanderings while infectious.

IOW, airport security theatre screenings are as effective as putting signs up in Central Park forbidding elephants to nest in the trees. Or posting a sign in Vegas telling people they aren't allowed to win at blackjack.

The only thing the study documents accurately is that we've had nearly 12000 tosses of the dice since August, and only hit snake eyes two times (which were both epic fusterclucks).

Thanks for nothing, CDC geniuses.