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Is Covid-19 turning out to be a rich men’s disease?

As Covid-19 is an infectious disease and has been declared a pandemic by WHO, policymakers are trying to observe various patterns in which disease spread.

Is Covid-19 turning out to be a rich men's disease?
Is Covid-19 turning out to be a rich men’s disease?

As a student of statistics, Correlation is a very important concept. The Correlation varies between -1 and 1 as explained below

  • A correlation closer to 0 means that two variables do not move in tandem,
  • A correlation closer to 1 or -1 shows that two variables move in a pattern.
  • A higher positive correlation (closer to 1) means that second variable will go higher if first variable increases.
  • And a negative correlation (closer to -1) means there is inverse relationship between two variables.

Correlation helps us understand relationship between two variables and there is no compulsion to explain the causality between two variables. In other words, higher correlation does not really require a proof as to how and why it exists? For instance, using internet leads to murder1 or ice cream consumption leads to murder1. A lot of professional takes correlation results as input variables and nudge their actions based on them. For instance, stock traders study all kind of correlations between global indices, various sectors, various stocks in specific sectors.

As Covid-19 is infectious disease and has been declared pandemic by WHO, policy makers are trying to observe various patterns in which disease spread. At a very basic level, disease spread via human contact and thus policy makers are trying to implement social distancing. Now Can anyone answer this? Say, we take two cities as an example P & Q, P has more people returning from foreign countries than Q, then which city should have higher number of Covid-19 infections?  IF your response is ‘P’! We are on the same page. Of-course, final number of infections and total deaths will depend on other factors like health care infrastructure and policy intervention. But initial trend of infection should suggest that P might have more infected people than Q.

Now can you answer this?  whether there is a correlation between GDP of a state and number of infections? If yes then what?

We have also been working on correlating the number of Covid-19 cases in India with different parameters like population of states, GDP of states, population age group etc. To check this hypothesis, We took GDP data in dollar terms & ranked states from higher GDP to lower GDP. Maharashtra is ranked 1 with highest GDP and Kerala is ranked 11 and so on….! On other hand, We have taken confirmed Covid-19 cases till 9th April’2020 where Maharashtra ranked 1 with 1141 Covid-19 cases and Delhi ranked 3 with 683 Covid-19 cases.

Correlation between States’ GDP Ranking & Covid-19 Confirmed Cases

**Hover cursor or click on the dots to check the state name & data

First, We have plotted State’s GDP rank on X axis and State’s Covid-19 cases rank on Y axis. So, Maharashtra, which has highest GDP and highest infected patient will have co-ordinate as (1,1). A naked eye observation suggests a strong positive correlation between state’s GDP and state’s infections.

To access the correlation, we have used Spearman’s Rank-order correlation. This should help us to find a monotonic relationship between the two variables. It is noteworthy that monotonic relationship is not as restrictive as a linear relationship albeit it does tend to show broad directional relationship between the variables. The spearman’s Rank order correlation turned out be 0.89, which shows that there is very high correlation between GDP of state and initial number of infections.

So, based on that we can say that in its early trends, Covid-19 is targeting rich state over poor state!

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