Tag Archives: Pandemic predictions

The Disease Models Were Tested and Failed, Massively, by Philip W. Magness

This is just a thought, but if the coronavirus model failed, maybe we shouldn’t put too much faith in similar sorts of models (projections actually), like the ones that spit out projections of a global warming apocalypse. From Philip W. Magness at aier.org:

One year ago this week the world embraced a lockdown strategy premised on the epidemiology modeling of Imperial College-London (ICL). In a March 16, 2020 report by physicist and computer modeler Neil Ferguson, the ICL team predicted catastrophic death tolls in the United Kingdom and United States unless both countries adopted an aggressive policy response of mandating social distancing, school and business closures, and ultimately sheltering in place.

Ferguson’s model presented a range of scenarios under increasingly restrictive nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). Under its “worst case” or “do nothing” model 2.2 million Americans would die, as would 510,000 people in Great Britain, with the peak daily death rate hitting somewhere around late May or June. At the same time, the ICL team promised salvation from the coronavirus if only governments would listen to and adopt its technocratic recommendations. Time was of the essence to act, so President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson both listened. And so began the first year of “two weeks to flatten the curve.”

It took a little over a month before we saw conclusive evidence that something was greatly amiss with the ICL model’s underlying assumptions. A team of researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden adapted Ferguson’s work to their country and ran the projections, getting similarly catastrophic results. Over 90,000 people would die by summer from Covid-19 if Sweden did not enter immediate lockdown. Sweden never locked down though. By May it was clear that the Uppsala adaptation of ICL’s model was off by an order of magnitude. A year later, Sweden has fared no worse than the average European lockdown country, and significantly better than the UK, which acted on Ferguson’s advice.

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