Statistician paints grim picture of COVID-19’s rise

Coronavirus research
University of Washington researchers work with the virus that causes COVID-19 in a restricted lab. (UW Medicine via YouTube)

In a newly published study, a University of Washington researcher argues that the eventual death toll from COVID-19 could be more than twice as high as the figures currently being discussed.

The study was written by Anirban Basu, a health economist and statistician who’s the director of UW’s Comparative Health Outcomes, Policy and Economics Institute, also known as the CHOICE Institute.

In his research paper, published online May 7 by the journal Health Affairs, Basu acknowledges there’s still lots of uncertainty surrounding the fatality rate for the disease caused by the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. But he says there’s evidence that the U.S. death toll could amount to 350,000 to 1.2 million.

“This is a staggering number, which can only be brought down with sound public health measures,” Basu said in an interview with

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Powerball math mistake fires up the Internet

Image: Mind boggled
Powerball math can be mind-boggling. (Credit: @Esteyban)

The math behind this week’s upcoming $1.4 billion Powerball drawing boggles the mind, but at least a few minds were boggled beyond the bounds of arithmetic.

One photo posted to Facebook and Instagram claimed falsely that if the Powerball pot – which was $1.3 billion at the time – were divvied up among the United States’ 300 million residents, each one would get $4.33 million. “Poverty Solved!!” the blackboard graphic read.

The photo earned more than 580,000 Facebook likes and more than a million shares. Only problem is, the math is wrong. The payoff per person would actually be $4.33, or a little more than my winnings in Saturday’s $900 million Powerball drawing.

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How many martinis? Bond Index tracks 007

Image: SPECTRE stars
Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux star in “SPECTRE,” the latest 007 movie. (MGM / Columbia Pictures)

Here’s a different kind of Bond index: In honor of the latest 007 movie, “SPECTRE,” Bloomberg Business tracked eight metrics across all 3,053 minutes and 33 seconds of the 24 James Bond films released over the past 53 years.

Among the highlights:

  • Bond is wearing a suit or a tuxedo for nearly 18 hours out of the total 51 hours.
  • He introduces himself as “Bond. James Bond” 26 times over the course of the 24 films.
  • He spends more than 5 percent of his on-screen time flirting, seducing or being “otherwise intimate.”
  • Pierce Brosnan’s Bond set the record for most gadgets used in a film. (16, in “Die Another Day”).
  • Bond or another character orders a total of 16 martinis for him in 24 films. That counts the controversial dirty vodka martini that Bond quaffs in “SPECTRE.”

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