Author Topic: Influential Covid-19 model uses flawed methods and shouldn’t guide U.S. policies  (Read 278 times)

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Offline txradioguy

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A widely followed model for projecting Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. is producing results that have been bouncing up and down like an unpredictable fever, and now epidemiologists are criticizing it as flawed and misleading for both the public and policy makers. In particular, they warn against relying on it as the basis for government decision-making, including on “re-opening America.”

“It’s not a model that most of us in the infectious disease epidemiology field think is well suited” to projecting Covid-19 deaths, epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health told reporters this week, referring to projections by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Others experts, including some colleagues of the model-makers, are even harsher. “That the IHME model keeps changing is evidence of its lack of reliability as a predictive tool,” said epidemiologist Ruth Etzioni of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, who has served on a search committee for IHME. “That it is being used for policy decisions and its results interpreted wrongly is a travesty unfolding before our eyes.”

<snip>

The chief reason the IHME projections worry some experts, Etzioni said, is that “the fact that they overshot” — initially projecting up to 240,000 U.S. deaths, compared with fewer than 70,000 now — “will be used to suggest that the government response prevented an even greater catastrophe, when in fact the predictions were shaky in the first place.”

That could produce misplaced confidence in the effectiveness of the social distancing policies, which in turn could produce complacency about what might be needed to keep the epidemic from blowing up again.

Believing, for instance, that measures well short of what China imposed in and around Wuhan prevented a four-fold higher death toll could be disastrous.

https://www.statnews.com/2020/04/17/influential-covid-19-model-uses-flawed-methods-shouldnt-guide-policies-critics-say/
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Offline txradioguy

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From the article"

Quote
According to a critique by researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Imperial College London, published this week in Annals of Internal Medicine, the IHME projections are based “on a statistical model with no epidemiologic basis.”
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Offline Eupher

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With the statistical tools available these days, it's not difficult to cobble together a model based on the data you have -- along with the data you hope to have.

As this particular pandemic didn't have a lot of history, save SARS and MERS from about 15-16 years ago, the politicians grabbed the first thing tossed in their lap.

Models change over time and with additional data.

This is not newsworthy except that politicians are fundamentally lazy.
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Offline txradioguy

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With the statistical tools available these days, it's not difficult to cobble together a model based on the data you have -- along with the data you hope to have.

As this particular pandemic didn't have a lot of history, save SARS and MERS from about 15-16 years ago, the politicians grabbed the first thing tossed in their lap.

Models change over time and with additional data.

This is not newsworthy except that politicians are fundamentally lazy.

I see your point but disagree that it's not newsworthy.

Everything this that has happened intros country...business shut downs...forced (in some cases) quarantines have all ben based off of this model put out by the IMHE.

And it's been wrong every single time.
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Offline Ralph Wiggum

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I see your point but disagree that it's not newsworthy.

Everything this that has happened intros country...business shut downs...forced (in some cases) quarantines have all ben based off of this model put out by the IMHE.

And it's been wrong every single time.

Modeling and forecasting from a business/financial aspect is my specialty.  The models and resulting projections are only as good as the assumptions you build them with.  Changing one minor assumption easily causes a gigantic variation in the results.
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Offline txradioguy

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Modeling and forecasting from a business/financial aspect is my specialty.  The models and resulting projections are only as good as the assumptions you build them with.  Changing one minor assumption easily causes a gigantic variation in the results.

And that's what we've seen with these models from IMHE.
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Offline Eupher

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I see your point but disagree that it's not newsworthy.

Everything this that has happened intros country...business shut downs...forced (in some cases) quarantines have all ben based off of this model put out by the IMHE.

And it's been wrong every single time.

Let me re-phrase.

The fact that the model(s) is wrong isn't newsworthy. It's the nature of changing data and application of statistics to that data. Happens all the time.

The fact that so many dumb**** politicians put all their eggs in that particular basket IS newsworthy -- despite the nature of statistical models.
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Offline txradioguy

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Let me re-phrase.

The fact that the model(s) is wrong isn't newsworthy. It's the nature of changing data and application of statistics to that data. Happens all the time.

The fact that so many dumb**** politicians put all their eggs in that particular basket IS newsworthy -- despite the nature of statistical models.

Ahhhh ok I gotcha now.
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