Exploring COVID Data with Benford’s and Zipf’s Laws

In their interesting 2021 CHANCE article “Benford’s Law and COVID-19 Data,” Chase Marchand and Dalton Maahs suggest the novel use of Benford’s law (BL) as a model to test the legitimacy of data on COVID-19 incidence and COVID deaths. Their fundamental idea is that BL has been shown to hold in so many widely varying situations that, if there is a situation where it does not hold, it may be a sign there is some peculiarity of the data generation, bearing more careful examination.

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