Correlation vs Causation; Shirley Brown is Wrong

It’s pouring and everyone around me is using umbrellas. Umbrellas cause rain.

Shark attacks increase at the same time as ice cream sales. Ice cream sales cause shark attacks.

Bad fires have the most firemen at the scene. Firemen cause fire damage.

Children who receive tutoring have worse grades than children who don’t get tutoring. Tutoring causes bad grades.

Countries with high chocolate consumption have more Nobel prize winners. Eating chocolate makes you smarter.

Obviously, none of that is true. Those statements are all examples of correlation doesn’t equal causation. Why do I bring this up? Because this board has shown a lack of understanding of basic concepts like these; a refresher with examples was needed.

This lack of understanding between causation versus correlation is rampant in School Boards. It’s a shame that these positions seem to attract those with poor scientific understanding.

Shirley Brown for example, a school board member of Sarasota in her own Herald-Tribune editorial said in praise of their mask mandate, “Our public schools saw 291 positive cases during the first week of school, 392 during the second and an alarming 936 during the third week. Thankfully the positive cases dropped to 763 after the mandate, and they continue to fall.”

What Shirley fails to realize is that cases had already peaked at the community level in Sarasota before the August 30th mask mandate.

Shirley doesn’t understand correlation vs causation.

The highest peak of cases in Sarasota was three days prior, August 27th. How do I know that? From confirming through three different sources including who uses the CDC’s confirmed covid case data (, Google Statistics powered by the New York Times, and Sarasota’s own Health and Human services bi-weekly heat maps (

Please, confirm this is true by checking these links and you too will see the highest peak is from August 27th through September 2nd.

Want more evidence that masks have no impact, even if cases happen to go down when mask policies start?

The following comes from each school district’s own covid dashboard; all during the same time; all per 10,000 students.

Cases went down in Sumter by more than double the rate cases went down in Sarasota though Sumter has always remained mask optional. Sarasota fell by 3.8 cases per 10,000 students after their mask mandate. Sumter went down by 8.
Mask optional counties Liberty and Manatee, saw cases drop by more than Sarasota during the same time.
Cases also went down in Gadsen, Collier, Palm Beach, Alachua, Osceola and Hillsborough.
Cases went down during this period REGARDLESS of mask policies that stayed the same or mask policies that changed.

Anyone who continues to believe mask policies have an impact on cases is someone who is not operating from a place of logic, data or scientific understanding. They are operating from a place of religion, belief and nonsense. You might as well believe ice cream sales cause shark attacks, umbrellas cause rain, fireman cause fire damage, tutoring lowers grades, and chocolate consumption leads to Nobel prize awards.

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