Another lesson on the dangers of using percentages in your journalism

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American Academy of Pediatrics says children accounted for 2% of new COVID-19 infections a year ago. But now, children – who make up 16% of America’s population – make up more than 24% of new weekly infections.

This is the opportunity to recall a certain context. Younger people tend to have symptoms of COVID-19 much milder than adults. Less than 2% of pediatric COVID-19 cases result in hospitalizations. Seniors are much more likely to die from COVID-19. And, most notably, even though children represent a higher percentage of overall cases, the number of pediatric cases of COVID-19 is on the decline.

“Since the start of the pandemic, children represented 14.2% of the total cumulative cases,” explains the AAP. “For the week ending June 24, children accounted for 10.1% of the reported weekly COVID-19 cases. “

These two graphics tell the story. Look at the decreasing number of pediatric cases in the first graph. In the second graph, note that due to the overall decline in adult cases – especially because the most vulnerable older people are largely vaccinated now – pediatric cases represent a higher percentage of overall cases, even if they are down.

(American Academy of Pediatrics)

(American Academy of Pediatrics)

But because the total number of cases is also dropping and because children are still not vaccinated, they represent a higher percentage of all new cases.

Starting in a few weeks, the IRS will begin sending payments worth up to $ 300 per child to tens of millions of families across the United States.

These are not new payments per se. They are tax credits that families would usually receive when they filed their tax forms each year. But now, instead of a bigger refund, they get six payments scattered throughout the current tax year, then six months of credits when they file their taxes.

Some families go opt out of the Instant Money plan if they want a lump sum refund in the spring or if they are worried that they have underpaid their taxes this year and need a tax credit to offset that amount when they are produced. This could happen if, for example, they land a raise or a new job that pays more than the $ 75,000 threshold. This would make them ineligible for the child tax credit.

CNET offers five ways to find out if you are entitled to a child tax credit. CNET has a calculator to help you figure out how much money is in your bank account:

And while parents of new babies will generally be eligible for the full amount, which could change if you have shared custody of a child. U.S. citizenship also plays a role, so if one of your children is adopted from another country, you’ll want to make sure you know all of the rules that apply to children.

To find out more, check here if your the state owes you money, how could you get money back for your child care expenses and if you could get a refund for the unemployment tax relief.

Starting this week, Canadians can return to their home countries without quarantine. However, they must first have a negative COVID-19 test before entering and another once they arrive in Canada.

Border warnings cause great anguish for border communities and businesses that depend on people crossing borders back and forth, especially those dependent on summer tourism.

USA Today reports:

The Canadian and US governments should not reassess the border closure until July 21.

Commercial traffic has been coming and going between the two countries normally since the start of the pandemic. Canadians can travel to the United States with a negative COVID-19 test and Americans can visit Canada to see relatives or close friends, following a strict set of guidelines. But to do this, people entering Canada must self-quarantine for two weeks upon arrival and the quarantine is enforced by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The US Travel Association estimates that each month the border is closed costs $ 1.5 billion. Canadian officials say Canada welcomed about 22 million foreign visitors in 2019, including about 15 million from the United States.

By any measure, the gun violence that has unfolded in Chicago over the past few days is astounding. 92 people were shot dead. 14 people died. A Chicago police commander and a sergeant have been hurt.

Among the other victims that I want to list individually, you will therefore pay attention:

Since July 2, there have been 11 mass shootings in the United States.

(Archives of gun violence)

This GOES-16 GeoColor satellite image taken on Monday, July 5, 2021 at 4:50 p.m. EDT, and provided by NOAA, shows Tropical Storm Elsa over western Cuba with heavy rain and strong winds. (NOAA via AP)

Here, where I live in South Florida, the first storm of the year sparks conversations centered on questions such as, “Isn’t this year’s storm season starting earlier than normal?” And “Is it because of climate change?” And “Are the storms getting worse?” The answers are confusing as the data, at this point, provide different answers to each of these questions.

Do we have storms earlier each year? 2020 was hurricane season for the record books. And there have been five named storms so far this year, breaking the record set last year.

Named Storms in 2020 (US Commerce Department)

Hurricane season officially begins on June 1, but it is not uncommon to see storms arriving before that date.

(Thought)

The truth is, “preseason” storms happen every five years, so maybe we should reconsider what we think of as “season”. In fact, it’s a serious discussion this could cause the official start of the hurricane season to move to mid-May in the future.

Do we have more hurricanes than before? The answer to this may surprise you. Federal Climat.gov The website, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says, “Most climate model studies predict that the total number of CTs each year will decrease or stay roughly the same.

One of the big curiosities is why there was a hurricane-supported drought from 2005 to Hurricane Harvey which hit in 2017. There are many factors in this discussion. The determination of what is considered a major hurricane has changed over the years, and some destructive storms were not officially hurricanes. Sandy, for example, was a post-tropical cyclone when it hit New York City.

Climate experts say that we do not yet have enough high-quality climate data to make definitive statements of cause and effect related to climate change and the frequency of hurricanes.

Are storms getting more violent? That answer is yes, and the reason is related to the increase in the temperature of the sea surface. Remember that warm water feeds storms. NOAA has suggested that an increase in Category 4 and 5 hurricanes is probable, with hurricane wind speeds increasing by up to 10%. It is also a global trend.

(NOAA)

Hurricanes are getting wetter, too much. Hurricanes Harvey, Florence and Imelda are examples. NOAA puts it this way:

Warming of the ocean surface due to anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change is likely fueling more powerful tropical cyclones. The destructive power of individual CTs by flooding is magnified by sea level rise, which most likely has a substantial global contribution from anthropogenic climate change. Additionally, TC precipitation rates are expected to increase due to increased atmospheric humidity associated with anthropogenic global warming.

Yale researchers have made it clear say, yes, the storms are intensifying and while it may be part of a normal cycle, man-made climate change can also be a factor. They say this because they can’t find anything in historical documents that mimics what they see in today’s data. In short, this is not a settled case, except that the storms are getting stronger.

Are storm zones moving north? A firm “maybe” on this question is called for. The movement of tropical cyclones appears to be changing. They are more likely to move slower, giving them time to regain their strength and do more damage when passing over land.

And the locations of storms seem to be changing. Jim Kossin, an atmospheric scientist at NOAA’s National Climate Data Center, analyzed historical documents of storms and documented that on average, the latitude where tropical cyclones reach their maximum intensity moved further north of the equator in the northern hemisphere:

(NOAA)

Changes in where storms form and peak in intensity are bad news for the United States and Japan.

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