A Head Full of Coronavirus, Part 21, and My Daily Sickening from Listening to the CV Briefing

By June 16, 2020 Commentary

Led by well-known statistician John Ioannidis, this article rips into models for coronavirus.   (Forecasting Article)   After listing all the harms from the over-reactions to bad model predictions, the authors list the predictions from models for some select states and the actual numbers.  It is embarrassing how far off the models were, and it isn’t just a Minnesota problem.  Then they give the reasons, really all pretty obvious, for why they were so wrong.  Bad data, so don’t forecast til you have good data.  Bad assumptions, especially in the “contacts” portion of the model.  Bad epidemiology–ignoring variation in age effects, comorbidities, variation in susceptibility, possible immune defenses, etc.  This was inexcusable for an epidemic model.  No evidence to support either the disease effects of mitigation measures or the non-disease effects, which obviously in this case have been worse than the epidemic itself.  Lack of transparency.  Too much sensitivity in model parameters that use exponents, which means any error gets magnified.  Bad computer code.  Lack of expertise in the modelers–see Minnesota.  Groupthink.  Let’s hope we learned from this woeful experience.

This study looks at the impact of the shutdowns on small business.  It isn’t pretty at all.  (NBER Study)   These are frightening numbers, from February through April, active business owners dropped by 3.3 million, a 22% decline.  And of course all the groups that the party pushing for the lockdowns and shutdowns to continue supposedly supports got hit the worst–African Americans business ownership down 41%, Latino down 32%, Asians down 26%, immigrant-owned, down 36% and female down 25%.  This is devastating not just to the owners, but to the employees in these businesses.  And everyone involved in a small business feels a sense of ownership and pride.  Yeah, those extreme shutdowns were totally worth it.

Ooohhh, look, another antibody study!  This one from Switzerland, in Geneva.  (Lancet Article)   The study ended as of May 9, so the figures might be higher by now.  About 2766 people from 1339 households were tested each week in a randomized survey.  In the first week, positive tests were 4.8%, the second week 8.5%, the third week 10.9%, the fourth week, 6.6% and the last week 10.8%.  The very young and the very old had lower positive rates.  Most notably, the results suggest almost 12 infections existed for every one found by positive testing.  Put that in your asymptomatic rates for your models.

This column gives you the information you need to understand why the fearmongering about Arizona or Texas or anyplace else showing a second wave or a surge in cases is just nonsense and an flailing desperate attempt to justify lockdowns that have literally eviscerated our country.   (ZH Story)

And saving the best for last, here are the lies (I am tired of sugarcoating the “messaging” coming from the State) spread by the agents of Dictator Walz (it is also time to refer to him by his correct title) at the daily coronavirus briefing.  These lies are the same as they previously used, so they clearly think they can keep fooling the citizenry.  They tried to claim that the Minnesota epidemic model isn’t that far off.  Let’s be honest, almost every parameter in the model is wrong, so the output is bound to be wrong and it is.  It isn’t even close on the lower bound of uncertainty, much less the central estimate.  The scenario that comes closest is the most extreme set of mitigation measures, which we aren’t doing.  The Administration just keeps failing to own up to the failure of the model, a model they highlighted constantly as the basis for decision-making.

They gave more BS about Wisconsin, claiming at times things looked worse in Wisconsin and at times in Minnesota.  Wisconsin hasn’t been close to Minnesota since the first couple of weeks of the epidemic.  They also said well, some localities still had lockdowns.  I have looked at the mobility data, and Wisconsin’s began swinging up right after the order and until very recently, as Minnesotans have started voting with their feet, they stayed significantly ahead of comparable numbers in Minnesota.  And once again, we get the science is different in Wisconsin, because they have seasonality that limited the epidemic from the start, but there is apparently not any seasonality in Minnesota.

And again we got the run-around about the Dictator’s use of emergency powers and how he is consulting with the legislature.  He isn’t and he hasn’t.  He talks to a few people who tell him exactly what he wants to hear.  And the spokespeople had no answer for why the same approach is being used across the whole state.  I want to take a shower and vomit to get the sleaze off and out every time I listen to one of these briefings.

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