On the fear of type II error

Public Communication and COVID-19

Kaloyan Haralampiev

Sofia University „St. Kliment Ohridski


Abstract: The article seeks to explain ruling politicians’ behavior during the coronavirus crisis with the help of theoretical statistics, more precisely, with the help of statistical inference theory. Type I and type II error rates in decision making are considered. The direct losses and missed benefits in making one decision or another are shown. The ruling politicians’ decisions on the imposition of strict anti-epidemic measures and on vaccination are examined in depth. It is demonstrated that various social groups’ interests underlie the seeming concern for human life and human health. It is also shown that the leading constraint is who is responsible for human health and human life. When the responsibility lies with the ruling politicians, then they work towards minimizing the error that would lead to direct loss of human health and lives. When the responsibility for ones own health and ones own life lies with people themselves, then ruling politicians work to minimize the error that would lead to missed benefits for pharmaceutical companies.

Keywords: statistical hypotheses, decision making, error rates, direct losses, missed benefits, coronavirus, vaccination.

Read the Original in Bulgarian