Now that we’re several weeks into this pandemic and covidiocracy (my term for the ever-evolving new laws and social expectations) is fairly well-spread, we are clearly at the point where we can look at the projections that started all this and compare them to reality. And almost everyone, on all sides, admits that the models were wrong. Seriously wrong. In some cases, by a factor of 100. So our leaders have a situation on their hands, how best to explain those significant errors. And that brings us to The Pivot. Or if you’d prefer, moving the goalposts from one end of the stadium to the other.
Our leaders, knowing that they are on the verge of political suicide, are now pivoting to say “well, of course the projections are wrong, but that’s because “social distancing” and onerous quarantine laws are working. Yay us! But as any honest person will admit (and we seem to be seeing a rise in such honesty), the models didn’t offer such an option. At least, not the serious ones. Covid Act Now projects insanely high numbers far out into the future, which corresponds with little evidence we’ve received from other countries (for some reason, certain states are still relying on this model). But the more serious ones, like Bill Gates’ funded IHME model, have factored in social mitigation from the very beginning. So when people say “that’s because what we are doing is working”, that’s not a possibility allowed by the formulas. IHME has changed its formula at least twice in the last week to attempt to match the reality we are seeing, but they’re still a bit high.
So what can we actually make of the errors in the projections? Well, it’s possible that social distancing is working better than they expected. While it seems unlikely that it explains all of the difference, it certainly could explain some of it. And we should be glad that reality is a lot better than expected and be grateful for that. But a critical discussion must take place regarding the fact that these models spurred us to the heavy-handed rules in the first place. We were told 2.2 million Americans would die… nope, check that, 200,000 Americans were going to die… wait, let me check the new models… 60,000 Americans are now doomed (stay tuned for the next update). Some states are working from models that believe the reason the numbers are so much rosier than expected is because the true peak is months away. But I’ve seen little evidence around the world to support that, and the current numbers clearly seem to be peaking almost everywhere.
So back to that critical discussion… if we shut everything down for a surge that never happened (except in New York), at what point do we need to pivot away from the current quarantine? I mean, they are shutting down whole hospitals due to the lack of need. How many people are going to die because of that?
We need a pivot alright, but not the pivot we are currently getting from our leaders.