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P-values and Significance Tests: In 2020 the world was struck by the worst pandemic in over a century, COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2).
For many months there was no known medicine to help sick patients.
In April 2020, a research study involving more than 1,000 patients from multiple sites around the world found that the antiviral drug Remdesivir might be an effective treatment for COVID-19. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated at the time “The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery.” While giving more specific results from the study, he went on to say “that’s a p-value, for the scientists who are listening, of 0.001”. You can watch the full remarks made by Dr. Fauci in the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWyC4Q4l49g
This week you have learned about hypothesis testing and p-values. Imagine that you heard Dr. Fauci’s remarks while sitting with a friend (who is not a scientist). Explain to your friend, in non-technical terms, what a p-value is and why a p-value of 0.001 is significant. Your answer may include:
What a hypothesis test is
What the difference between a null and alternative hypothesis is
What a significance level is
How the p-value is related to the significance level
Relatable examples and/or resources
Any other material you think would help your friend understand these results
When responding to your classmates, ask questions as if you were the friend seeking more clarity.