A close up of a map

Description automatically generated
The real trend in RED

BBC Scotland and the Scottish Government (?) have mis-used a line graph to suggest that something far more dramatic is happening than is actually happening. I’m amazed, on reflection, that no proper mathematician or statistician has pointed this out. I know they’ve labelled it ‘total deaths’ but that could mean that each point represents the total on that day which it does not of course.

It looks as if the TREND in number of deaths, each day from the first death on 13th March, is climbing steeply but in fact it is merely the accumulated TOTAL which is increasing in that way.

They should have used a simple table or if they had to have a picture, a bar graph where the last column of deaths would be understood to be an accumulation, a totalling of all the deaths UP TO and INCLUDING THAT DAY BUT NOT HOW MANY ON THAT DAY.

Here’s how it should be done:

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated

Note the word ‘cumulative.’

If you want to know, as I feel sure we do, just how much worse things are getting each day, the TREND, then a line graph is appropriate, but the data should be the daily figures not the accumulated total so far.

With my limited skills, I’ve, drawn a line in red showing the daily figures I could find and revealed the TREND which is, as you can see, worrying but far less worrying.

Before anyone accuses me of paranoia again, I’ll go for dim as the explanation of how this happened.