Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Saturday, April 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
More very good news broke today. The IHME model that the government is using to project Wuhan virus deaths and possible medical shortages has been dramatically revised downward for the second time in four days. This comes on the heels of the previous revision, which I wrote on at the time (see As the Wuhan Virus Models Get Dramatically Adjusted Down, Questions Arise).
In that article, I opined that it’s time to stop making it taboo to ask why the models are getting things wrong and how that affects our response going forward. I’m not suggesting any type of conspiracy is afoot. At the same time, it’s not correct to say “well the lockdowns are causing these fluctuations” when the models had already fully accounted for that weeks ago.
Ben Shapiro pointed this out earlier today.
The model already assumed full social distancing through May, so these results should not be affected by "we did social distancing better."
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) April 8, 2020
As I wrote back on Monday, the goal here is not to assert foul play regarding the models, but to suggest we start using the new data to reevaluate our response. There is no magic action via our government or our citizens that happened in the last three days that’s caused these revisions. Though some may not like the terminology, the models were just wrong. Period.
I can hear the responses now. What we are doing is working so how is it helpful to talk about the fact that the models were wrong?
I think that’s way too simplified. We can not remain locked down another full month because the damage to the economy will be unbelievably deep and harmful to average Americans. What we need to do now is not be afraid to reevaluate why these models were so inflated and whether that means we can start to transition back to normal life sooner rather than later.
With that said, here are the newest numbers via the Daily Wire.
For the second time in four days, a coronavirus projection model heavily relied upon by the White House task force has been updated, again dropping the number of projected deaths and hospitalizations.
The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington dropped its estimated death projection on Sunday for the first wave of the pandemic to 81,766 deaths, down from 93,531.
By Wednesday, the projection dropped the estimated total deaths to 60,415, revised down from 81,766 deaths, which was revised from down 93,531, a revised number itself.
Moreover, the projected total hospital bed shortage decreased from 34,654 to 15,852 (a revised number from April 5), and the so-called “peak” of hospital usage was pushed up from April 15 to April 11. The peak daily death toll was also moved up to April 12, from the revised April 16 date.
Regardless of how we got here, it’s great to see that the death projections are continuing to drop. Further, it’s equally great to see that some of the claims by Gov. Cuomo and others about shortages (and those claims already accounted for lockdowns) do not look to be correct. In fact, most states are now projected to have no shortages at all, which will allow for shifting of resources to help out places with larger outbreaks.
I believe it’s time to get a plan together for how we re-open the country. It doesn’t have to happen tomorrow, nor does it have to happen next week. But we can’t just keep flying by the seat of our pants in regards to how effective our mitigation strategies have been. Is social distancing with masks just as effective as lockdowns? If it is, then we need to be rapidly shifting in that direction.
I’ll end by making a prediction. Because it appears the death totals are going to come in far lower than the originally stated 100,000-240,000 deaths, look for Democrats and the media to begin accusing the Trump administration of purposely releasing high numbers so they could look good when they come in under. They won’t be able to admit that the White House has actually done a good job here and has turned this situation around in a way no one thought possible just two weeks ago. Politics will, as always, become the center point.