Saturday, March 21, 2020

Bad luck !

According to the table below(published by the New York Times [1] today on March 20), New York has almost 7 times the amount of registered infected Corona patients compared to Washington but "only" about 0.5% of them have died so far.

That's quite a good quota (for Corona). Let's have a look at the other side of the continent.   The Corona deathrate in Washington is nearly 6%. That's quite a contrast. What can be the reason for this difference? In most other States the mortality rate is roughly around 2%, similar to other countries in the world.

Here are some superficial (not seriously meant) hypotheses:

  • The New Yorkers are doing something extremly right and those in Washington are doing something extremely wrong
  • The dirty air in New York is poison for the virus. The more CO2, the better for human beings. Bad news for Greta Thunberg.
  • New York may not be a typical state for eldery people to relax...,probably more young and healthy people live there while in Washington may be a pan of sick or eldery people spend the rest of their lives there (again, this isn't meant seriously, okay?)
  • New York was better prepared for this predictable disaster
  • or...the measures may have been taken inconsistently and/or the numbers are simply wrong
Let's get more curious and read the full article. We find valuable information by reading the details and then very quickly understand what happened. It is noted that 2900 of the reported cases in New York were all registered at the day of publishing the numbers. Interesting, probably it is too early for those new cases to "die". If we ignore these new cases (7102-2900), we still have a quite good quote of 0.8%. Better than in many countries worldwide. But further reading the article reveals “At least 35 of the deaths were connected to a single nursing center in Washington" and "...many of those cases involved older people with other health problems that made them especially vulnerable to coronavirus”.

Aha! So, it was jsut bad luck for the nursing center to get hit so hard. If you ignore these numbers (75-35)…we are back to an almost "normal" rate of 2%.

These numbers make sense now. No need for me to look for creative hypothetical argumentation.

And the link to IT? A similar incident once happend near the end of our software development sprint. In parallel to the development of user-stories, we also performed refactoring tasks to get rid of technical debt. As is the nature of refactoring, it may break previously working functionality. This is what happened: Instead of being ready for the sprint review, we had to reject the demo of 2 buggy user-stories that were working properly just a day before. It cost us valuable story points. We didn't achieve the goal. What followed were long-winded discussions and assumptions of what to do and what not to do in the future, whereas I thought: "WTF, Just bad luck, shit happens".


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