Why I don’t believe that 2.5-4% of people in Santa Clara county have had COVID19

Being A Better Scientist

Originally posted on April 19th. Small edits on April 21st. Thanks to Scott Roy and Dmitri Petrov for comments. 

This week a study was published by researchers from Stanford about how many people in Santa Clara county have been infected with the new coronavirus SARSCoV2.

You may not have heard of Santa Clara county, but it’s the heart of Silicon Valley and its most famous residents are Stanford, Google, Apple and IBM. I lived there too for a few years when I was a postdoc at Stanford.

The researchers used a new test to detect antibodies against the virus. Antibody testing is going to be super important in the near future, but I have serious concerns about this study and its conclusions.

The main result from the paper is that they estimate that between 2.5 – 4% of people in Santa Clara have had COVID19. That would mean between 48,000…

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