Minnesota Milestone, From the Road

By June 1, 2020 Commentary

I am actually writing this from a car on a long road trip, thanks to the miracles of modern technology.  It is June 1.  According to the Minnesota epidemic model, on which the Governor based everything he did, no matter how much he denies it now, we would have a central estimate of 1400 to 1700 deaths through May, based on scenario 4 and 5, which is what we have been operating under.  We had 1050 deaths through May 31.  That is well under even the standard uncertainty range.  And it is even worse because naughty Minnesotans have not show the reductions in mobility and contacts that the model assumes, so there should have been even more deaths than projected.

The model’s performance is even worse on cases.  It says in this scenario that we will have over 400,000 cases through May.  We have around 26,000 actual cases reported.  Now, there could be that many undetected cases, but if so, the modelers would need to drastically change their asymptomatic rate, which is their proxy that includes undetected.  Either way the model is completely off, to the point of being worthless for guiding public policy.  And the projected age spread of deaths through the end of May is laughable.  They had 119 in the 49 and under brackets.  So far there have been 18.  Just off by a factor of 6.

The right thing for the Governor to do, as it has been for weeks, is to acknowledge that the model is screwed up and not fit for use as in decision-making, and to fully lift all his orders.  And if it makes him feel better for being stubborn, incompetent boob, he can claim victory by defeating the virus with his actions.  I would take that tradeoff to get the economy fully re-opened.  But one thing I would insist on is his apology to Minnesotans for unnecessarily terrorizing them, causing unbelievable job loss and all manner of health harms.

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