General ravings, Potshots

Joyous Dog on the Street with a Thousand Lamp-Posts

O gentle and patient reader, do forgive my two-month-long maun vrat: I’ve been as busy as a Delhi dog on Janpath, the street with a thousand lamp-posts.

We’ll come back to lamp-posts soon.

This hasty scribble is inspired by a sensationally headlined article in today’s Economic Times: here it is.

Fervid Covid Reportage

The headline drew my attention because it suggests that Covid vaccines are dangerous (to put it mildly); and because on the 19th of March I had gone and got my first vaccination.

After reading this article and performing various clinical self-checks to ensure – with some lingering doubts, I admit – that I am still among the living, I applied some fairly straightforward Class 4-level mathematics to examine the veracity and sanity of the article’s argument, using Covid-related statistics available in public domain: for instance, here.

Here are my findings:

  • From the start of India’s vaccination campaign on January 16th up to March 16th 2021, a total of 34,811,861 vaccinations had been administered. As of March 16th, according to the ET article, a total of 89 people had died from ‘adverse events following immunization’ (AEFI).
  • From March 16th to March 29th, another 26,064,874 vaccinations had been administered. During this two-week period and as of March 29th, according to the ET article, another 91 people had died from AEFI.

It is terribly sad that 180 people should have died from AEFI after taking the Covid vaccination.

Yet, it is important to look at these mind-numbing numbers in perspective.

If 89 people died out of 34,811,861 vaccinations, that translates to one death from every 391000 vaccinations given. To put it another way: the chances of my dying from AEFI post-vaccination during the period Jan 16-March 16 were 0.0002%.

If 91 people died out of 26,064,874 vaccinations, that translates to one death from every 286,427 vaccinations given. The chances of my dying from AEFI post-vaccination during this period March 16-March 29 were 0.0003%.

By the Nine Sacred Whiskers of the Holy Bandicoot, what this means is that the chances of my dying from AEFI because I took my Covid vaccine on 19th March have increased from 0.0002% to 0.0003%. That’s a whopping big jump of 0.0001%.

An increased chance of my dying, of one in a million!!

What is Government of India doing in the matter?

Why have nationwide agitations not been launched on this issue?

A gentle chewing noise distracts me from the screen. It is the Resident Gecko, sprawled on the wall and nibbling contentedly on a small fly. “A pedestrian analysis,” it murmurs. “Why don’t you compare your mortality statistics with the number of pedestrian deaths on Delhi roads each year?” It swallows the fly and disappears behind the curtain.

I follow my colleague’s advice. It turns out that 678 pedestrians lost their lives on Delhi roads in 2019 – the latest data available.

Imagine that: 678 unfortunate pedestrian deaths in a population of 19,000,000. That’s…wait a minute…one pedestrian death among every 28,023 people living in Delhi.

Which means…the chances of my dying from being run over by an SUV, a road roller or even a camel are higher than 0.003%; that’s thirty-in-a-million chance of dying.

That’s nearly 10 times higher than the chances of my dying from AEFI.

So, I think I will go get my second vaccination as scheduled on April 29th. Of course, I’ll try hard not to get run over on the way to the vaccination centre.

As for the ET article, I can only apply Andrew Lang’s observation: “it uses statistics the way a drunkard uses lamp-posts: for support, not illumination.”

Be merry, be well.

17 thoughts on “Joyous Dog on the Street with a Thousand Lamp-Posts

  1. Mani Excellent article with lots of tongue in cheek humor, as always. Best wishes Jayanta

    On Fri, Apr 9, 2021, 18:35 Wanderings and Wonderings wrote:

    > Mani posted: ” O gentle and patient reader, do forgive my two-month-long > maun vrat: I’ve been as busy as a Delhi dog on Janpath, the street with a > thousand lamp-posts. We’ll come back to lamp-posts soon. This hasty > scribble is inspired by a sensationally headli” >

  2. Hai rp
    Your silence made me think were run over by either SUV or covid. Great to read your sense xof humor.
    I had first on 8th. According to ET enjoying punarjanmam. Revised 2nd dose between 19th to 3rd May.
    Shall follow your footsteps.
    Ps. Not sure about my email ID.

  3. Excellent! What are you doing here, blogging away? Get out there and start a paper or better still, a channel so that we can get some honest journalism and editorials instead of yellow journalism/breaking news (of the lamp-post kind) that passes off for journalism these days.

  4. True Mani Style! Facts with a lovely coat of humour. Keep it going friend. You certainly require a holiday.The number crunching, to dish out the stats, must have been very strenuous on the mind body and soul.

  5. Ah Mani! But you are like that little boy who went “The Emperor is not wearing Clothes!”. The rest are in thrall to twitching thumbs, and being the one to forward this news to their networks!! Somewhere in the wilderness the voices of reason still hold forth..

    Loved the piece, as all the others.

  6. Mani….👍👌👌

    On Fri, 9 Apr 2021 at 18:35, Wanderings and Wonderings wrote:

    > Mani posted: ” O gentle and patient reader, do forgive my two-month-long > maun vrat: I’ve been as busy as a Delhi dog on Janpath, the street with a > thousand lamp-posts. We’ll come back to lamp-posts soon. This hasty > scribble is inspired by a sensationally headli” >

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