Statistician on Corona data: “The reporting incidence is problematic”


As of: 01/28/2022 6:39 p.m

The statistician Küchenhoff considers the reporting incidence to be unsuitable for correctly assessing the pandemic. According to the professor, the numbers of hospital admissions and occupied intensive care beds are more relevant ts24-Interview.

The statistics professor Helmut Küchenhoff has in an interview with tagesschau24 explains why he does not consider the “reporting incidence” to be suitable for recording the actual extent of the corona pandemic. According to Küchenhoff, who teaches statistics at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, the incidence is unsuitable, at least as a “primary indicator”.

“We are very skeptical as to whether reporting incidence is a suitable parameter,” Prof. Helmut Küchenhoff, statistician

Anja Martini, tagesschau.de, tagesschau24 3 p.m., 28.1.2022

The incidence is problematic because it only shows the number of reported cases. According to Küchenhoff, however, there is a dark number of unreported or delayed reported cases of infection. “That’s why we are very skeptical whether this reporting incidence is a suitable parameter.”

Fluctuating number of unreported cases

It is difficult that the proportion of unreported cases is changing. “The proportion varies from state to state, but also in different phases of the pandemic,” says the statistician. With a sharp increase in the number of infections, the number of unreported cases “tends to be higher”.

The prioritization of PCR tests for vulnerable people and certain professional groups announced by the federal government will also lead to a further increase in the number of unreported cases. “Then we can no longer track the pandemic so closely,” says Küchenhoff.

In the statistics professor’s opinion, two other parameters are more suitable for this: on the one hand, the hospitalization incidence. This has the advantage that the number of unreported cases is not so high. “Everyone who comes to the hospital is tested.” The number is also more relevant. “If the disease gets more severe, someone comes to the hospital. This allows me to measure something that is more important than the pure infection numbers.”

Situation in intensive care units well recorded

The situation in the intensive care units is also relevant. According to Küchenhoff, the number of occupied beds and new admissions to the wards is very well recorded. “That’s the second key parameter.” After all, the goal of fighting the pandemic is not to overload the hospitals.


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