Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Modest Request to our Policymakers

 

Al Sparks asks below, “how do we push back?”I have a very simple but powerful proposal:

We must demand that our mayors, governors, and the federal coronavirus task force disclose the specific projections they’re using to make their lockdown decisions.

We know that every policymaker in the US is being shown curves of how the pandemic could unfold in their jurisdiction. And we know that each one of these projections must contain at least the following data: a) a projected curve of coronavirus cases/hospitalizations/deaths with no intervention, b) a projected curve of coronavirus cases/hospitalizations/deaths with whatever intervention has actually been implemented, and c) an estimation of the healthcare capacity within their jurisdiction.

Those curves don’t just contain final numbers like “up to 200,000 Americans could die this year.” They also contain intermediate projections, including predictions of how many cases there will be in, say, 10 days’ time. And as we now all know, these predictions are based on underlying assumptions, many of which truly cannot be tested due to the persistent lack of solid data on parameters such as R0, fatality rate, percentage of the population which is susceptible, etc.

There’s little use right now in criticizing epidemiologists for making the wrong assumptions when no good data is available. But for precisely that reason, the public needs the ability to test the epidemiologists’ hypotheses on an ongoing basis as more data rolls in – not just in 4 weeks’ time.

Hence my plea: demand that your local policymaker provide the entire curves of their projections, not just the final tallies. Revisit that curve in 10 days’ time. Compare the projected burden on the healthcare system with actual reports from local hospitals. Re-evaluate.

As many of you know, I’m somewhat more nervous about the risk of the coronavirus than the median Ricochet user. But I’m also far from convinced by the direst projections being bounced around. And more to the point, I am firmly opposed to blanket restrictions in liberty and to the destruction of our economy without consent of the governed. And that consent requires information. Our leaders need to provide us that information.

Published in Healthcare
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  1. Hoyacon Member

    It’s a reasonable suggestion, but don’t we have a President to do this?

    • #1
    • March 30, 2020, at 3:56 AM PDT
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  2. thelonious Member

    It seems there’s far too many variables to accurately predict any kind of projection. Do we even know how much longer this virus will play out? As far as I know this hasn’t reached its peak. Do we know how effective social distancing has been? Can we project how many more people will get infected if we relax social distancing? I’m sure there’s a million other variables I con’t even conceive of. How much information do we really have? I don’t trust any projections at this point. I’d rather have our officials give us an honest answer and say they don’t know at this point then some projections based on very incomplete data.

    • #2
    • March 30, 2020, at 4:27 AM PDT
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  3. Snirtler Inactive

    This is supposedly the model that the federal government has lately been looking at (and which presumably informs Trump’s latest statement that social distancing ought to continue till the end of April).

    Edit: Didn’t realize these projections are from the same paper that Rodin discusses in his covid day 69 post. So see Rodin and full paper here.

    • #3
    • March 30, 2020, at 5:34 AM PDT
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  4. Stad Thatcher

    Mendel: We must demand that our mayors, governors, and the federal coronavirus task force disclose the specific projections they’re using to make their lockdown decisions.

    Not only show us the numbers, but the assumptions and formulas used to generate the results. They also need to show how the formulas were derived. For example, did Michael Mann have any involvement?

    Mendel: As many of you know, I’m somewhat more nervous about the risk of the coronavirus than the median Ricochet user. But I’m also far from convinced by the direst projections being bounced around.

    I’m concerned too, although some people (including my wife) question that assertion due to my belief these restrictions are too severe, and the economic damage does not justify them.

    • #4
    • March 30, 2020, at 5:41 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  5. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Mendel, good suggestion, though I suspect that everyone is relying on the same source, which appears to be the Imperial College report at the moment. I appreciate your link yesterday to the IHME report, but as far as I can tell, the IHME did not include a projection of what would happen without lockdown-type policies.

    I visited the IHME site again this morning, and their figures had changed slightly. I probably wouldn’t have noticed, except for my follow-up analysis after your post yesterday. As of yesterday, IHME was predicting 81,114 US deaths, a hospital bed shortfall of 49,292, and an ICU bed shortfall of 14,601. At the moment, it is 82,141 deaths, a bed shortfall of 61,509, and an ICU bed shortfall of 15,103. The peak date has changed from April 14 to April 15.

    It’s not a bad thing that they are adjusting their model, presumably as more data becomes available. Their site does include a deaths-per-day projection, though it will probably be difficult to determine whether their model is accurate if they keep adjusting it.

    Editorial addition: I don’t mean that it will be difficult to check their model in theory. But we would need to keep a record of their predictions (unless the site provides such data — I haven’t looked for it yet).

    • #5
    • March 30, 2020, at 8:14 AM PDT
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  6. Scott R Member
    Scott R Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Agree completely, Mendel. 

    The next week will be huge in any case: Every model which foresees US deaths in the 80,000-200,000 range relies on extreme acceleration right now. If our present 500 or so deaths a day accelerates to 1000-and-climbing by the end of the week, then the dire predictions look likely. But if those 500-a-day inch up slowly or even level off by the weekend, then it’s quite likely the conventional wisdom is way off. 

    The suspense is brutal. One week from today we’ll all know so much more. I remain hopeful that the groupthink bubble will burst. 

    • #6
    • March 30, 2020, at 4:30 PM PDT
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  7. Unsk Member

    Jerry: Mendel, good suggestion, though I suspect that everyone is relying on the same source, which appears to be the Imperial College report at the moment. I appreciate your link yesterday to the IHME report, but as far as I can tell, the IHME did not include a projection of what would happen without lockdown-type policies.

    Stad: Not only show us the numbers, but the assumptions and formulas used to generate the results.

    Count me dubious of the 81,000 deaths figure. Stad’s comments on assumptions made is spot on.

    According to Jerry’s analysis on another post, outside of NY Metro, New Orleans, Washington and Motown, the American death rate is quite low.

    But from what I gather in talking to people to date treatment has been really hit or miss. What if the hydroxychloroquine cocktail treatment proves to be very effective as some of the studies have shown and then this cocktail is widely used? Would not that radically alter the number of deaths and eventually the number of infected? I also think the criticism of the hydroxychloroquine cocktail under all the fuss is really a veiled criticism of Trump because he seemingly endorsed the drug cocktail and therefore the drug cocktail must be bad. Very bad.

    So yes the analysis behind all these projections that justify wide reaching policy decisions needs to be fully discussed and all the assumptions need to be looked at . But even more than that, since the situation is so fluid and so many of the facts so in dispute, I think a range of scenarios should be presented; not just one projection that is likely to be wildly wrong at this point.

    One of the problems that affects almost all Federal Bureaucrats, including those at the FDA, CDC and NIH, stems from the Chevron and other Supreme Court decisions that have severely shielded these bureaucrats from accountability and scrutiny . Such lack of accountability and scrutiny have spawned a culture that thinks it’s perfectly justifiable to withhold and in many cases distort the truth from Congress, the President and the American People and to also act irresponsibly and in a very politicized manner since they are so shielded.

    • #7
    • March 30, 2020, at 4:30 PM PDT
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  8. RufusRJones Member

    Minnesota Governor is a complete joke on this topic. 

    One day they literally said we were going to peak in August. This was not congruent with anything that has been produced before. They literally used the phrase that they were “not smashing the curve” even though his PSA’s included that phrase. Then the next day they said we were going to peak in late June. One of those included 74,000 deaths. Even our media which has been completely co-opted by the Democrat party started asking hard questions. The media asked him to show his work. They dissembled of course. It’s all nonsense.

    I think he got to blurt out “2.4 million” or something today because one of Trump’s public health guys did it. 

    They have a pretty hard lock down here. He could’ve just simply said we are trying to smash the curve and we’ll see where we are at in one month. 

    It’s even worse because the police have arrest powers on this stuff for 30 days.

    They had plenty of other press conferences to watch before this. I don’t see how they could screw up so bad. 

     

     

     

    • #8
    • March 30, 2020, at 4:45 PM PDT
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  9. RufusRJones Member

    In aggregate, the public health profession looks like they are pretty worthless under emergency pandemic conditions. JMO.

    • #9
    • March 30, 2020, at 4:49 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    The lockdown will continue until Trump is removed from office.

    • #10
    • March 30, 2020, at 10:10 PM PDT
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  11. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    I would settle for a description of how exactly each measure and budget item actually is related to the response to COVID-19 .

    • #11
    • March 31, 2020, at 4:35 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Trump is being played by the media and the libs. He won’t be re-elected if we have a 25% unemployment figure.

    • #12
    • March 31, 2020, at 6:47 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. RufusRJones Member

    iWe (View Comment):

    Trump is being played by the media and the libs. He won’t be re-elected if we have a 25% unemployment figure.

    They have to get a pile of printed money to the right places. Our economy, government, and financial system etc. isn’t set up for a pandemic, otherwise.

    • #13
    • March 31, 2020, at 7:03 AM PDT
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