The peril of missing data

“A mans’s dying is more his survivor’s affair than his own…”

Thomas Mann

During WWII the US Navy embarked on a strategic plan to reduce aircraft losses. They would use actual field data to help redesign the amour plating on their planes. The Navy produced this diagram of the bullet hole damage in the aircraft returning from battle. Reinforce the wingtips, central body and elevators was the plan. Statistician Abraham Wald argued otherwise. He suggested the reverse interpretation of this diagram. Planes shot in the sites shown were able to return to base. This was suvivorship bias. It was more important to reinforce the nose, engines and rear body. During the COVID19 pandemic we have become very aware of experiences with the virus that have been mild or even asymptomatic, particularly post vaccination. We too need to address suvivorship bias, as those suffering severely from COVID19 may not be available to tell of their lived experiences, account for the medical resources used in their care, or describe the impact of long COVID symptoms. Over 6.5 million people have become missing data. #keysurvivorshipstories #letsmakelemonade

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