Help me with bayesian thinking re:coronavirus?post by hereisonehand · 2020-03-08T17:03:23.320Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW · No comments
This is a question post.
If I have a fever, what is the likelihood that I have a coronavirus infection? I'm actually less interested in the answer than in the underlying thought process, so feel free to insert variables where reliable numbers are hard to find.
I'm just having trouble thinking clearly about this. Do I start with the prevalence of coronavirus and adjust that base rate by saying if I have a fever, the probability goes up because 99% of coronavirus cases have a fever? I guess I could also start with the % of fevers that are due to respiratory conditions as my base rate. And then compare the proportion of respiratory-related fevers from coronavirus to other causes?
I'm having trouble because I realize that lots of common non-coronavirus conditions cause a fever, and that if I have a fever, the probability I have coronavirus has increased, but I can't figure out how to clearly convert the relevant information into a series of mathematical statements. This feels like a very practical exercise of bayesian thinking, so I would love to see how people who are more fluent than I am with this kind of reasoning would approach this problem.
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