Mark Shull is bad at math

Mark Shull has been trying to use math to defend his stance on COVID. It doesn’t go well for him. Callousness is a Mark Shull hallmark, and these clips are particularly grating.

Here he is being rude to Nancy Bush of Disaster Management, who presents the weekly COVID Update to the board. Not only does he talk over her (as he frequently does to women) he seems to write off the people currently dying of COVID as “aged.”

There is also the problem that he is flat-out wrong. As the older adult population has been getting vaccinated, the percentage of younger people hospitalized for COVID has been growing. According to the Oregon Health Authority, 83% of all cases in Oregon, as of May 10, 2021, have been in people under the age of 60. Hospitals are reporting that the majority of hospitalized COVID patients are now in their 40s and 50s.

But Shull’s math just gets worse. Witness this clip.

Here is what he said, and why it’s wrong.

“I’d like to take a moment and share a perspective on COVID- a mathematical perspective.We have- last Thursday we had 243 cases per hundred thousand. Today, it was reported that we’re up to 244.7.”

Actually, the case rate the previous week was 212.3/100,000. This screenshot is from the 4/22 COVID update.

“So, with 243 COVID cases per hundred thousand people in Clackamas, we have 430,000 people. That’s 4.3 x 243. That’s 1045 cases in the county.”

What Shull is missing here is that the total number isn’t what tells the story. The sharp rise in the case numbers is the real message. Here’s a screenshot form the 4/29 meeting where Shull gave his speech:

It is obvious that cases at this time in Clackamas were skyrocketing.

In addition, Shull seems to think that every case of COVID is reported. The CDC estimates that only 1 in 4.3 cases are reported.

“Of them, 12% show symptoms. That is 125 Clackamas residents show COVID symptoms. Most of them have mild symptoms and are not seriously ill.”

Shull gave no source for this odd statement and there is no indication that it is true. Studies show that 70-80% of infected people do show symptoms.

“That leaves approximately 429,000 Clackamas County residents who are healthy, who need an economy to support themselves.”

Here, Shull completely misses the entire point of the briefings he has received weekly for months. If we don’t contain the spread of COVID, it will increase. Businesses will be harmed by this. If you want to help businesses, wrok to stop the spread of COVID- something Shull has refused to do.

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