Before the first case of Covid-19 was reported in this
country, some people would think that there was no COVID-19 in
They thought there was no one with it, because no report had been made
to that effect.
But as soon as the figures started trickling in, there was not only
realisation, but a panic. Indeed we were in danger of contracting it,
and worse still, we were not sure who the next casualty would be.
This is what figures do to a people: they call them up to action.
This is because they put every event in measurable units. They rep
represent each event and put it on a scale.
Numbers, due to their property of quantifying things, make it possible
to measure anything.
But as this article shows, the figures we are getting may not really
be real figures: they are just official figures. Which means that
the real ones may even be higher.
Official figures often reflect how much
is being done at a national level.
So we may have this layout for any event:
|Event||Real Stat||Official STat||Difference|
|Road Accidents per annum||153,000||92,000||-61,000|
Well, this is just fictitious data: but as you can see, when you
compare differences between the second and the third columns, you see
that in some cases, there are big differences between the official and
The above table shows these differences in the Fourth column in this
When the official position inflates, a Positive "+" symbol is added; while
there is a reduction, a negative sign (-) is used.
The pattern in the above table is interesting in that:
Data that tends to put a country in better light, for instance its
education or employment rate, tends to be magnified. (See Rows 1
That which tends to put the country in bad light, for instance
number of road accidents or school dropouts, is reduced. (see Rows 3 and 4).
But does this mean we have to distrust every official data we get?
No. Actually, we have to rely on it. It gives us somewhere to start.
We can make some interesting analysis based on that data. In any case,
as long as we do not have real data, we have to stick with what we
have for the moment.
And, this trend of exaggerating attractive data and reducing damaging
information is not unique to any one country. It seems as if a number
of governments do that.