Skip to main content
The boards are getting a new home!

We're pleased to announce an update is coming to the community boards.

Sunday, September 25th: We are migrating the boards to a new platform. The site is currently in read-only mode and we will bring it back online as soon as the migration is complete. | The Motley Fool Community
This Board Has Moved

This board has been migrated to our new platform! Click below to continue the discussion on the new site.

Go to the New Site
Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 2
A broad nationwide survey of the United States was announced by the National Institute of Health
yesterday (Friday April 10th). They are taking healthy volunteers over the age of 18:

Probably a good move, but not what I was thinking of personally.
If it's a set of volunteers, it's not random.
If it's not random, you can't extrapolate the results to the population at large.

The word ‘volunteer’ is a red herring - human trials always use volunteers. A bigger problem is the odd exclusion of people with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or even with known exposure to a case. Since no one knows how many people that represents, extrapolation of the results will be difficult.
Confirmed history of COVID19 infection or exposure
Current symptoms consistent with COVID19 infection

This is sort of like doing an election poll to see who will win the election, but excluding people who are party volunteers or related to one. But since 95% of the population will not be excluded, this shouldn’t matter much.

A more serious failing is that they don’t specify how people will be recruited beyond saying: Sampling Method: Non-Probability . I can only hope that they are at least trying to recruit people randomly, so that the prevalence results can be applied to the general population, or at least to the vast majority of people without symptoms or known contact, and not just getting people who ‘volunteer’ to be tested (who respond to an ad, for instance.) I doubt it, but we can’t be sure, because they don’t say what they’re going to do, even in the ‘Study Design’ section.

Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.