Selected reader comments on my post “Prof Lee Wei Ling is practicing bad statistics and horrible science”

Gerald Giam: I actually agree with Lee Wei Ling. I don’t think H1N1 is as bad as its made out to be. The WHO and national authorities were overreacting because of their experience with SARS — for which I don’t blame them. The best way would be to monitor the spread, and make sure anyone who comes down with H1N1 is properly treated.

AcidFlask: Your objections are based on extremely sloppy data. I have done a more careful study that I believe effectively discredits the basis for your response.

Den: I disagree with Prof Lee. Think again. The virus harms everyone and especially the weak and vulnerable. By opening the gates, are you prepared for some lost of lives (like in Mexico)? What if that life is your son or daughter, niece or nephew whom you dearly love. The recent death of DBS CEO was probably a result of virus/ bacteria leak in the room where he stayed.

My son attends childcare since last July. He’s been sick on alternate weeks average ’till this day. That also translates disruptions for the parents. It hurts when i see him suffer like that. We are fighting an unseen enemy.

It’s inhumane and unethical to let down our guard and allow the H1N1 virus to enter our shores. Not forgetting the panic and the eventual economic cost to Singapore.


  1. I think you are conflating influenza with the common cold, which is much milder than the flu ( Medical practitioners here in the U.S. always stress that there is a difference between these two, which I think is not made clear in your post.
  2. Each year, about 5-20% of US population get the flu, but only ~200k get hospitalized for serious symptoms ( Perhaps there is a tiny chance that 150 million folks here may be infected with “common flu,” but the available CDC data don’t support your assumption.
  3. For the 2,000-odd swine flu/H1N1 hospital cases that have been reported in Mexico, I’m very, very certain that there is a vast number of “infected” that did not report to the hospital. Maybe these folks don’t want to go to hospital as bed rest is sufficient. Maybe the Mexicans are under-reporting the actual number – it would not be the first time it’s happened. For all we know it could be up to 10, 20 or 50 times more than the the 2,000 cases you report. And, given the current U.S. data – see point 4 below – I’m almost certain that this is the case. Fact is, I would be very, very hesitant to claim a 3% fatality rate (potential or not) without knowing the data quality. Funny thing is, you do add that proviso and yet base this post on this conclusion. There’s some irony there…*shrug*
  4. Here’s some actual data from the U.S> CDC ( As of 15/5/09, there are 4714 confirmed or probable cases of H1N1 flu and 4 deaths in the United States. Do the math.
  5. Don’t you think you are just as guilty as LWL of bad stats and science? Just saying. :)

5 comments on Selected reader comments on my post “Prof Lee Wei Ling is practicing bad statistics and horrible science”

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