Vincenzo Crupi, Martina Calderisi, Stefania Pighin, Katya Tentori

Pandemic probabilities: Three puzzles

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Keywords: Covid-19, base-rate fallacy, vaccine efficacy, risk communication, Simpson paradox.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, an unprecedented amount of scientific notions and data have reached the public arena on a global scale over a relatively short timeframe. We discuss this phenomenon as concerns probabilistic reasoning. As it turns out, the study of the logic and psychology of uncertain inference provides insight into puzzling developments in the understanding and management of the Covid-19 crisis. We illustrate the point with three examples: diagnostic tests and the base-rate fallacy; vaccine efficacy and its interpretation; and the Simpson paradox in real-world Covid-19 figures

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