Publisher's note: The author of this post is Mitch Kokai for the John Locke Foundation.
of National Review Online highlights
experts who refuse to debate the proper response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- People whose expertise has been questioned often respond in ways that further alienate the skeptics. A good illustration comes from Vanity Fair's profile of Alex Berenson, a leading advocate of the view that lockdowns are too strict. Berenson was one of the first journalists to point out that the IHME model, on which so many states rely, drastically overestimated hospitalizations - even after multiple revisions, and even after taking the effect of lockdowns into account. Here is the response from Gregg Gonsalves, assistant professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine, as quoted by Vanity Fair:
- "Models are not crystal balls. A modeler is giving you a range of potential outcomes. What he [Berenson] is doing is what a lot of people who don't understand science do, they take the uncertainty built into a model and say, 'Oh, well, it shows these people don't know what they are talking about.'" ...
- ... Note the arrogant tone, the name-calling, and the argument from authority. This is how Professor Gonsalves intends to win over the skeptics? ...
- ... Furthermore, IHME has underestimated its own uncertainty. Although I am a mere policy analyst, I do know that when IHME offers 95 percent prediction intervals, then the actual values are supposed to fall outside those intervals only 5 percent of the time. Applying that standard, critics investigated how the IHME model has performed on what should be one of its easiest tasks - predicting the number of deaths that will occur the very next day. They found that over a four-day period, the actual number of next-day deaths in each state fell outside the model's 95 percent interval about two-thirds of the time. The failure is self-evident. One need not have a "messianic complex" to reject this model's predictions.
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