I recently appeared for an Interview for my college and I was asked the following question. The Interviewer said that this question was a Data Science question. He asked the same question to a friend of mine as well.

The question-

Suppose 7.5% of the population has a certain Bone Disease. During COVID pandemic you go to a hospital and see the records. 25% of the COVID Infected patients also had the Bone Disease. Can we say for sure if the Bone Disease is a symptom of COVID-19?

My Reponse-

I said No, and explained it as it's not necessary that COVID-19 is causing these symptoms, it could very well be possible that the 7.5% of the country's population which already had the disease is more susceptible to the virus due to lowered immunity. Hence making conclusions is not possible.

Then the interviewer asked me How can we be sure if it is a symptom or not?

I replied saying we can go to more Hospitals, collect more data and see if it correlates everywhere.

The Interviewer then said If we have the same results everywhere will you conclude it's a symptom?

I had no good answer but I replied that Just correlation of data is not sufficient, we also need to check if the people who have COVID-19 had the bone disease prior to getting infected or not. See if that percentage also correlates and stuff.

Here he stopped questioning however I couldn't judge If I was right or wrong.

I am in Grade-12 so I have no experience in Data Science as such. I do know a fair bit of statistics however I have never solved such questions. Can someone provide me insights on how to solve such questions and make meaningful conclusions?

I have asked the same question on Data Science SE however i noticed the other questions there were quite different so I wasn't sure if this question is appropriate there. If there are any better SE suggestions do comment them.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think it's fine to ask this here. Questions about rhetoric don't really have a specific SE. Since this is about rhetoric & statistics, this site is probably the safest bet. $\endgroup$
    – Graviton
    Jul 29, 2020 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ It could be here or stats SE. $\endgroup$ Jul 29, 2020 at 1:14
  • $\begingroup$ thanks for the info @Graviton $\endgroup$ Jul 29, 2020 at 1:19
  • $\begingroup$ Well technically the bone-headed president has caused more COVID-19, so you could make an argument for that instead. Pivoting with confidence is key to landing the job. $\endgroup$
    – pkr
    Jul 29, 2020 at 3:36
  • $\begingroup$ I don't quite understand what you mean @pkr298 This is a college interview and I'm not in the US just to clarify stuff $\endgroup$ Jul 29, 2020 at 3:44

1 Answer 1


Job interview questions often do not have right or wrong answers. The answers you reported seem reasonable. My comments below may not be any better, but they are a little different and may give you something to consider.

(1) People who have the bone disease may be older, taking immuno-suppressant medication, or both. Not enough is known about Covid-19 yet, but it seems that advanced age and taking immuno-suppressant medication are factors that may make people with Covid-19 need hospitalization.

(2) Look at pre-covid hospital records to see if whether people who could not have been infected with Covid-19 had similar rates of hospitalization for the bone disease.

  • $\begingroup$ Oh okay btw this is a Student Interview for a Bachelors course, if this was not an interview setting rather I had more time how could I use mathematical tools to do the analysis? $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2020 at 4:04
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting question. But it is too vague and hypothetical for a true statistical analysis. Plenty of real issues with Covid-19 where there is some hope of making progress to worry about hypothetical ones. $\endgroup$
    – BruceET
    Jul 31, 2020 at 4:56
  • $\begingroup$ Oh okay got it thanks again $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2020 at 5:02

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