Monday, March 30, 2020

Kurtosis, and flattening the curve #Statistics #Analytics #Covid19

Covid 19 has thrown up lots of new concepts that many people will not have heard about before. There has been much mention of "flattening the curve" in the hope that doing so will ease the burden on hospitals with a lesser surge of cases.

Well - there is a name for the shape of a curve: Kurtosis. It is also a descriptive statistic, a value of zero indicates a normal distribution (the middle curve below). Any deviation from this can be measured with kurtosis. A high positive value indicates a peaked, or leptokurtic, curve. A high negative value indicates a flattened, or Platykurtic, curve.

Image Source: ResearchGate.

Increasing the sample size often compresses and narrows the curve, making it more peaked. So part of "flattening the curve" in the current crisis is all about keeping the number of cases down. You can see from above that this results in a wider as well as a flat curve, making the duration longer. 

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