Sample too small to say why or even if Calgary really has more COVID-19 cases, says expert

The province updated the number of COVID-19 cases in Alberta on the weekend, and once again Calgary recorded the biggest increase and maintained the highest number of cases overall. 

On Sunday, it was announced there were now 56 cases across the province, a jump of 16 from the previous day. Of those new cases, 14 were in Calgary. 

But according to one specialist, there is too little information to point to why, or even if, Calgary has more cases than the rest of the province. 

“The one thing we do know in science is that statistics and averages don’t work well when the numbers are small,” said Craig Jenne, an associate professor in the department of microbiology, immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Calgary.  

“So the fact that we are still well under 100 cases here in Alberta as of this morning, compared to over four million residents, it’s a very small number of people, and as a result stats and distribution really don’t work well.”

Jenne said that after the dust settles, the number of cases spread through the province might even out. 

One factor to consider if Calgary does, in fact, have a higher concentration of cases, is the possibility it’s partly due to having more international travellers, according to Jenne. 

On Monday, Calgary International Airport was selected as one of only four airports in Canada that will continue to welcome international travellers as new federal restrictions come into force on Wednesday. The other three are in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. 

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