Education & Information

# The reassuring math explaining COVID hospitalization percentages for vaccinated people

As if dealing with an ever-changing understanding of the novel coronavirus over the past year and a half hasn't been enough, we've also had to try to understand the math behind the data analysis, which for some of us (hi, English major here) is a nightmare.

It's vitally important that we understand these numbers, though, because misinformation peddlers are using them to push misconceptions about vaccines. And even though the math isn't actually that complicated, those of us who aren't particularly mathematically inclined may read headlines like "50% of COVID patients in XX hospital are fully vaccinated" and find ourselves alarmed. Wasn't the vaccine supposed to prevent hospitalizations? If half of the people in the hospital are vaccinated, doesn't that mean the vaccine makes no difference?

Well, no. That's not at all what it means, and here's why. It's all about the denominators.

On a super basic level: 2 = 2, but 2 out of 20 is not the same as 2 out of 80. If 4 people are hospitalized, 2 vaccinated and 2 not vaccinated, in an area with an 80% vaccination rate, it's not a meaningful measurement to say that half of the hospitalizations are in vaccinated people. Your chances of hospitalization with the vaccination are significantly lower because of the denominator.

Biostatistician Lucy D'Agostino McGowan simplified why the percent vaccinated in hospitalizations numbers aren't as scary as they sound with some helpful visuals in a Twitter thread.

The director of the Maine CDC, Nirav D. Shah, gave an even more thorough explanation for those who actually want to wade a little deeper into the statistical waters.

He wrote:

"It's important to consider the full picture when interpreting data on things like the % of people fully vaccinated who are hospitalized with #COVID19, or the fact that 74% of the cases in the P-town outbreak were fully vaccinated.

I have seen folks express concern upon learning, for example, that 45% of people hospitalized w/COVID19 are vaccinated.

"But I thought the vaccine keeps you out of the hospital? Is this evidence that vaccines aren't working?" No, it is not. I'll walk through why here.

First, some basic assumptions. There are two Worlds, each with 1M people. And we'll consider the same infectious disease affecting each World, with the parameters below.

There is also a vaccine, with the effectiveness parameters noted below. These could all be changed.In World 1, 50% of the population has been vaccinated against the disease. Out of the 1M people, there are 30,000 infections and 2525 hospitalizations.

Among vaccinated folks, 25 end up in the hospital. The other 2500 hospitalized are UNvaccinated.World 2 is different: 90% of the population is vaccinated.

Here, there are only 14,000 cases. And only 545 people are hospitalized in total.

BUT, 45 of the hospitalized are vaccinated! Compare that with only 25 vaccinated folks in the hospital in World 1.What is going on?

How could it be that, in a World with 90% of the population vaccinated, 20 *more* vaccinated people are hospitalized with the disease (45 vs. 25?)? Is the vaccine not working in World 2?

It's important to compare World 1 and World 2 side by side.

First, note that the case rate in World 2 (90% vaccinated) is far lower than in World 1 (50%). The vaccine is working.

Second, the hospitalization RATE is also far lower in World 2: 545/million vs. 2525/mil.But because there are simply more vaccinated people in World 2, something that affects them at the same rate as others (hospitalization) will generate more cases, numerically.

Indeed, the % of all hospitalized who are fully vaccinated is HIGHER in World 2 than in World 1.In World 2 (90%), 8.25% of all those in the hospital are vaccinated. But in World 1 (50%), it's only 1%!

This is NOT evidence that the vaccines are ineffective. It is a function of the fact that there are simply more vaccinated folks in World 2 relative to unvaccinated.

The question to ask yourself is this: which world would you rather be in?

For that, you would look to the hospitalization rate: 545 vs. 2525/million. World 2, with its higher vaccination rate, is preferable, given that it experiences 1980 fewer hospitalizations. In World 1, fewer people are vaccinated, so their rate of hospitalization is just lower.

Where else does this (common) phenomenon occur?

For a stark example, consider this: what % of skydiving accidents occur in people who were wearing a parachute? Probably 100%.

Are parachutes not effective? They are. But the baseline rate of parachute wearing among those who sky dive is 100%.

Another example: what percentage of fatal car accidents occur in people who were wearing a seat belt? It's about 52%.

Does that mean the effectiveness of seat belts is a coin flip? No, the baseline rate matters. Seat belt usage is around 85%. As with so many things, where you end up depends on the baseline rate of where you started.

Lots of vaccinated folks are being hospitalized with COVID because there are a growing number of vaccinated folks. But the RATE of total hospitalizations is going down. That's good. Similarly, in P-town, 74% (346) of the cases were among vaccinated folks.

But there, what percentage of folks were vaccinated vs. unvaccinated? If the baseline rate of vaccinated was sky high, then this finding is entirely predictable. This is a common theme in epidemiology and statistics. Once you know to look for it, it jumps out all over the place. But without the context around background rates, denominators, etc., it's easy to scare yourself and make incorrect decisions.

Another example: imagine World 3, also with 1M people. 999,999 are vaccinated.

Two cases of COVID occur. One in the unvaccinated person. The other in a vaccinated person.

So 50% of new COVID cases are in the vaccinated. Really? Yes, but deceiving. Denominators matter."

Denominators matter. Even those of us who aren't mathematicians or statisticians can understand that, but we do need media reports to be clear about it; otherwise, we end up with people believing that the vaccines don't do much.

We also need to remember that data is always being gathered and that our understanding of this virus, the vaccines, and how best to balance safety measures and other needs will continue to evolve. The constant shifts are hard, but such is the nature of a novel viral pandemic, and it looks like we're still going to be in it for a while.

Health

### Trying to eat healthier? Try these 4 totally doable tricks.

Photo by Anna Pelzer on Unsplash

Most of us want to eat healthier but need some help to make it happen.

True

When it comes to choosing what to eat, we live in a uniquely challenging era. Never before have humans known more about nutrition and how to eat for optimal health, and yet we’ve never been more surrounded by distractions and temptations that derail us from making healthy choices.

Some people might be able to decide “I’m going to eat healthier!” and do so without any problem, but those folks are unicorns. Most of us know what we should do, but need a little help making it happen—like some simple hacks, tips and tricks for avoiding pitfalls on the road to healthier eating.

While recognizing that what works for one person may not work for another, here are some helpful habits and approaches that might help you move closer to your healthy eating goals.

Our mouths loves chips. Our bodies not so much.Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

### Tip: Focus your willpower on the grocery store, not your home

Willpower is a limited commodity for most of us, and it is no match for a bag of potato chips sitting on top of the fridge. It’s just a fact. Channeling your willpower at the grocery store can save you from having to fight that battle at home. If you don’t bring chips into your house in the first place, you’ll find it a lot easier to reach for something healthier.

The key to successful shopping trips is to always go to the store with a specific list and a full stomach—you’ll feel much less tempted to buy the junky snack foods if you’re already satiated. Also, finding healthier alternatives that will still satisfy your cravings for salty or crunchy, or fatty foods helps. Sugar snap peas have a surprisingly satisfying crunch, apples and nut butter hit that sweet-and-salty craving, etc.

You can eat well without giving up sweets completely.Photo by Caitlyn de Wild on Unsplash

### Tip: Instead of “deprive,” think “delay” or “decrease and delight”

Sugar is a tricky one. Some people find it easier to cut out added sugars altogether, but that can create an all-or-nothing mindset that all too often results in “all.” Eating more whole foods and less processed foods can help us cut out a lot of ancillary sugar, but we still live in a world with birthday cakes and dessert courses.

One approach to dessert temptation is to delay instead of deprive. Tell yourself you can have any sweet you want…tomorrow. This mental trick flips the “I’ll just indulge today and start eating healthier tomorrow” idea on its head. It’s a lot easier to resist something you know you can have tomorrow than to say no to something you think you’ll never get to have again.

Another approach when you really want to enjoy a dessert at that moment is to decrease the amount and really truly savor it. Eat each bite slowly, delighting in the full taste and satisfaction of it. As soon as that delight starts to diminish, even a little, stop eating. You’ve gotten what you wanted out of it. You don’t have to finish it. (After all, you can always have more tomorrow!)

A naturally colorful meal is a healthy meal.Photo by Anna Pelzer on Unsplash

### Tip: Focus on fresh foods and plan meals ahead of time

Meal planning is easier than ever before. The internet is filled with countless tools—everything from recipes to shopping lists to meal planning apps—and it’s as awesome as it is overwhelming.

Planning ahead takes the guesswork and decision fatigue out of cooking, preventing the inevitable “Let’s just order a pizza.” You can have a repeating 3-week or 4-week menu of your favorite meals so you never have to think about what you’re going to eat, or you can meal plan once a week to try new recipes and keep things fresh.

It might help to designate one day a week to “shop and chop”—getting and prepping the ingredients for the week’s meals so they’re ready to go in your fridge or freezer.

Organic foods are better for the Earth and for us.Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

### Tip: Utilize the “dirty dozen” and “clean 15” lists to prioritize

Many people choose organic because they want to avoid pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals. Organic food is also better for the planet, and according to the Mayo Clinic, studies have shown that organic produce is higher in certain nutrients.

Most people don’t buy everything organic, but there are some foods that should take priority over others. Each year, researchers from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyze thousands of samples of dozens of fruits and vegetables. From this data, they create a list of the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” fruits and vegetables, indicating what produce has the most and least pesticide residue. These lists give people a good place to start focusing their transition to more organic foods.

To make organic eating even simpler, you can shop O Organics® at your local Albertsons or Safeway stores. The O Organics brand offers a wide range of affordable USDA-certified organic products in every aisle. If you’re focusing on fresh foods, O Organics produce is always grown without synthetic pesticides, is farmed to conserve biodiversity, and is always non-GMO. All animal-based O Organics products are certified humane as well. Even switching part of your grocery list to organic can make a positive impact on the planet and the people you feed.

Healthy eating habits don’t have to be all or nothing, and they don’t have to be complicated. A few simple mindset changes at home and habit changes at the grocery store can make a big difference.

Music

## 13-yr-old's completely unique 'Bohemian Rhapsody' rendition was so great it even wowed Queen

### Angelina Jordan's AGT performance was instantly legendary.

Angelina Jordan blew everyone away with her version of 'Bohemian Rhapsody."

At Upworthy, we've shared a lot of memorable "America's Got Talent" auditions, from physics-defying dance performances to jaw-dropping magic acts to heart-wrenching singer-songwriter stories. Now we're adding Angelina Jordan's "AGT: The Champions" audition to the list because wow.

Jordan came to "AGT: The Champions" in 2020 as the winner of Norway's Got Talent, which she won in 2014 at the mere age of 7 with her impressive ability to seemingly channel Billie Holiday. For the 2020 audition, she sang Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," but a version that no one had ever heard before.

With just her Amy Winehouse-ish voice, a guitar and a piano, Jordan brought the fan-favorite Queen anthem down to a smooth, melancholy ballad that's simply riveting to listen to.

Especially considering that Jordan was only 13 years old when she did this.

Watch:

What this video doesn't show is Heidi Klum hitting the Golden Buzzer faster than you can say, "Nothing really matters to me." The judges were blown away by Jordan's performance, as were the people in the comments.

"That's a ONE in A BILLION voice right there. Just amazing," wrote one commenter.

"I am typically not a fan of songs being redone particular to such a magnitude," shared another. "They almost always fall short of the original. But to completely rearrange a song in the manner that she has, from a legend, and then make you forget about how the original even sounded because her rendition is so good is utterly amazing."

"As Freddie once said, 'Do whatever you want with my music as long as you don't make it boring.' I think he'd really like this," shared another.

Though Queen's lead vocalist Freddie Mercury is no longer with us, the band did offer words of praise for Jordan's performance, retweeting her audition video with the comment, "Wow! What a rendition of #BohemianRhapsody."

"Bohemian Rhapsody" is such an iconic song, it's hard for anyone to do a cover of it justice. But 13-year-old Angelina Jordan managed it masterfully.

Jordan would move on to the Top 10 in "AGT: The Champions," and though she didn't take home the top prize, she did impress the audience with another classic rock tune, Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." You can enjoy that performance below, and you can follow Angelina Jordan—who is now 17 and still singing her heart out—on YouTube and TikTok.

Become Angelina's patron at Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/angelinajordanThis performance on Angelina Jordan's TikTok - https://www.tiktok.com/@angelinajor...
Health

## Doctor explains why he checks a dead patient's Facebook before notifying their parents

### Louis M. Profeta MD explains why he looks at the social media accounts of dead patients before talking their parents.

Photo from Tedx Talk on YouTube.

Losing a loved one is easily the worst moment you'll face in your life. But it can also affect the doctors who have to break it to a patient's friends and family. Louis M. Profeta MD, an Emergency Physician at St. Vincent Emergency Physicians in Indianapolis, Indiana, recently took to LinkedIn to share the reason he looks at a patient's Facebook page before telling their parents they've passed.

"It kind of keeps me human," Profeta starts. "You see, I'm about to change their lives — your mom and dad, that is. In about five minutes, they will never be the same, they will never be happy again."

"Right now, to be honest, you're just a nameless dead body that feels like a wet bag of newspapers that we have been pounding on, sticking IV lines and tubes and needles in, trying desperately to save you. There's no motion, no life, nothing to tell me you once had dreams or aspirations. I owe it to them to learn just a bit about you before I go in."

"Because right now... all I am is mad at you, for what you did to yourself and what you are about to do to them. I know nothing about you. I owe it to your mom to peek inside of your once-living world.”

Dr. Profeta talks his experience with the death of a patient.

Photo from Tedx Talk on YouTube.

Profeta explains that the death of a patient makes him angry:

"Maybe you were texting instead of watching the road, or you were drunk when you should have Ubered. Perhaps you snorted heroin or Xanax for the first time or a line of coke, tried meth or popped a Vicodin at the campus party and did a couple shots.”

"Maybe you just rode your bike without a helmet or didn't heed your parents' warning when they asked you not to hang out with that 'friend,' or to be more cautious when coming to a four-way stop. Maybe you just gave up."

"Maybe it was just your time, but chances are... it wasn't."

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Profeta goes on to explain why he checks a patient's Facebook page:

"So I pick up your faded picture of your driver's license and click on my iPhone, flip to Facebook and search your name. Chances are we'll have one mutual friend somewhere. I know a lot of people.”

"I see you wearing the same necklace and earrings that now sit in a specimen cup on the counter, the same ball cap or jacket that has been split open with trauma scissors and pulled under the backboard, the lining stained with blood. Looks like you were wearing it to the U2 concert. I heard it was great."

"I see your smile, how it should be, the color of eyes when they are filled with life, your time on the beach, blowing out candles, Christmas at Grandma's; oh you have a Maltese, too. I see that. I see you standing with your mom and dad in front of the sign to your college. Good, I'll know exactly who they are when I walk into the room. It makes it that much easier for me, one less question I need to ask.”

"You're kind of lucky that you don't have to see it. Dad screaming your name over and over, mom pulling her hair out, curled up on the floor with her hand over her head as if she's trying to protect herself from unseen blows.”

"I check your Facebook page before I tell them you're dead because it reminds me that I am talking about a person, someone they love — it quiets the voice in my head that is screaming at you right now shouting: 'You mother f--ker, how could you do this to them, to people you are supposed to love!'"

— Updated June 5, 2019.

Joy

## 13 truck drivers parked side by side in the middle of the night to save a life

### Humanity at its best.

Around 1 a.m. on April 24, semi-truck drivers in the Oak Park area of Michigan received a distress call from area police: An unidentified man was standing on the edge of a local bridge, apparently ready to jump onto the freeway below.

Those drivers then did something amazing. They raced to the scene to help — and lined up their trucks under the bridge, providing a relatively safe landing space should the man jump.

Fortunately, he didn't.

The impressive line-up wasn't a coincidence — the drivers were prepared for exactly this sort of situation.Sgt. Jason Brockdorff of the Huntington Woods Police Department told The Detroit News that the response was something local police and truck drivers had actually trained for. But what was unusual was the sheer number of drivers who responded to the call.

"That's a practice we use if we have a jumper," Brockdorff said. "We try to do it every time, to lessen the distance someone would travel if they were to jump. Fortunately, that didn't happen."

The incident lasted nearly four hours, into the early morning. However, once the trucks were in place, the police were able to more comfortably negotiate with the unidentified man.

Eventually, the man walked off the bridge on his own and is currently receiving medical help.

In a pair of tweets, the local police department called attention to the incident to remind people in similar situations of the importance of seeking mental health services (emphasis mine):

This photo does show the work troopers and local officers do to serve the public. But also in that photo is a man struggling with the decision to take his own life. Please remember help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
You can also call a loved one, member of the clergy or 911. There are so many people that can help you make the choice to get help and live! It is our hope to never see another photo like this again.

Working together, the police and everyday strangers saved a life.

Ordinary people heeded the call of service to help a fellow person who was struggling. It's a powerful image that's impossible to ignore, and a reminder of humanity at its best.

Health

## How does a kid cope in life after accidentally killing his brother? John did.

### A childhood game went very wrong.

John Arthur Greene (left) and his brother Kevin

## A childhood game can go very wrong in the blink of an eye.

"You'll never get me!"

If you've ever played cops and robbers, you know how the game goes.

John Arthur Greene was 8 and he was playing that game with his older brother Kevin. Only the two brothers played with real guns. Living on a farm, they were both old hands at handling firearms by their ages.

The blast from the gun must have startled them both.

John Arthur Greene (left) and his brother Kevin.

“We were always extremely safe. They were never loaded," John said.

Except this time it was. And John's brother died in his arms while he watched.

## It happens more often than you would ever want to imagine.

In federal data from 2007 to 2011, which is likely under-reported, an average of 62 children were accidentally killed by firearms per year.

Here's a chilling example from Everytown for Gun Safety:

"In Asheboro, North Carolina, a 26-year-old mother was cleaning her home when she heard a gunshot. Rushing into the living room, she discovered that her three-year-old son had accidentally shot her boyfriend's three-year-old daughter with a .22-caliber rifle the parents had left in the room, loaded and unlocked."

## And the numbers may actually be getting worse.

With an increase in unfettered access to guns and philosophical opposition to gun regulations, the numbers seem to be on the rise. Here's how many accidental shootings happened at the hands of children in 2015 alone, by age:

Unintentional Firearm Injuries & Deaths, 2015.

From January 19-26 of 2016 — just one week — at least seven kids were accidentally shot by another kid.

Accidental shootings of kids in one week, January 2016.

If the pace holds up for the rest of the year, America would be looking at over 300 accidental shootings of children, in many cases by children, for the year. That's far too many cases of children either carrying the guilt and pain of having shot a loved one or hurting or killing themselves by accident.

## John Arthur Greene has been able to manage his feelings of guilt and sorrow through music and by sharing his story for others to hear.

He told his story during an audition for the final season of "American Idol." He says music has helped him keep his brother's memory alive:

"Right now I lift him up every day and he holds me up. Music is how I coped with everything."

It's a powerful reminder. No matter how we each feel about gun safety laws, guns should always be locked away unloaded and kept separately from ammunition.

Our babies are too precious to leave it to chance.

Watch John Arthur Greene's audition for "American Idol" here:

Family

## A bride's father schooled us all in family values when he asked the stepdad to give THEIR daughter away.

### This was a pretty awesome thing to do.

Image by Delia D Blackburn, used with permission.

Brittany Peck's wedding.

## "Just because you didn't do marriage well doesn't mean you can't do divorce fabulously."

That's something my mother-in-law said to me when her son and I were ending our young, impetuous, and ultimately-not-right-for-us marriage. It stuck with me through the years.

These sweet images from Brittany Peck's wedding have struck a chord with families across the Internet, and they seem to be getting that very same lesson about "doing divorce well" through to millions.

## The photographer got a clue something unusual was about to happen.

Delia Blackburn, an Ohio photographer, was snapping pictures at the nuptials, as you do. She described to WKYC3 what happened when the father of the bride, Todd Bachman, approached her.

"He said, 'I'm going to do something special, just be ready.'"

Before Bachman finished walking his daughter down the aisle, he turned around in the direction of his daughter's stepdad, who was also in attendance.

Then Brittany's stepdad details what happened next.

“And he came up to me and reached out and grabbed my hand and he said, 'Hey, you've worked for this as hard as I have.' He said, 'You deserve this as much as I do. You're gonna help us walk OUR daughter down the aisle.' At that point, I had no clue what was going on."
— Todd Cendrosky, stepfather of Brittany Peck

Image by Delia D Blackburn, used with permission.

Todd B. looks like a dad on a mission — to be the coolest guy ever.

“I got weak in the knees and everything — I couldn't have had anything better in my life. That was THE most important thing in my life."

Image by Delia D Blackburn, used with permission.

Todd C. is like, "What is even happening right now?"

## Todd Bachmann explains his last-minute decision like this:

“It hasn't always been peaches and cream, by any stretch of the imagination. ... There's no better way to thank somebody than to assist me walking my — walking OUR daughter — down the aisle."

Image by Delia D Blackburn, used with permission.

And that's how you do it, folks.

## And Brittany herself was pleased with the outcome.

The bride sent a video message from her honeymoon to WKYC, saying, "We've seen it all, been through it all, but at the end of the day we're all happy."

Image by Delia D Blackburn, used with permission.

Divided families know that love isn't a finite thing — there's enough to go around.