BIG Media co-founder Laurie Weston is a remarkably meticulous data scientist and writer.
In checking her work for the umpteenth time for her recent data-loaded article revealing that COVID-19 was not in the top 10 causes of death in the majority age groups for 2020, Laurie noticed a strange label for a row of data in the Alberta death database.
See Man dies from vehicle collision with parasite for details, but it seems, despite appearances, that 154 people did not actually die of “Mental and behavioural disorders due to use usefectious and parasitic diseases”.
She promptly cleaned the data and updated the affected charts in the article, which we had already published. The COVID-19 numbers did not change, but with the adjustments to the categories, the relative positions in some of the Top 10 charts did change.
Before she noticed the flaw in the raw data, I had promoted her wonderfully enlightening article by highlighting one specific age group in one specific chart.
I wrote, “How many of you would have guessed that COVID-19 is not in the top 10 causes of death for women age 60-69 in Alberta in 2020?”
Well, guess which age bracket was the only one that saw COVID’s ranking in relation to the top 10 causes of death altered by the data update?
You guessed it – female 60-69. Ugh. Thanks Capt. Murphy!
Wouldn’t you know it – that reclassification resulted in bacterial deaths dropping out, leaving room for COVID-19 to slip into the #10 spot in 2020 causes of death among women age 60-69.
Which meant that the lead statement in my post was wrong.
So, I am here to confess that I made a mistake (not my first, as you might guess #fatherofseven). COVID-19 actually ranked 10th in causes of death among women age 60-69.
We have fixed the story – A look back at causes of death in the first year of COVID-19 – which truly is a great read. Check it out, and let me know if you were as surprised as me by the data.