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As criticism grows over fluctuating projections from a key coronavirus pandemic model, one professor revealed that some states may already be over the worst.
Dr. Ali Mokdad, the physician at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation who is behind the pandemic model being used, told Fox News that “the worst is behind us as a country” but without providing an adequate reaction to how the model’s off-base projections adversely affected larger states.
(Source: Fox News)
The IHME’s numbers have come under increased scrutiny and criticism recently as the shifting projections affected government decisions on issuing guidelines for social distancing, shutting down non-essential businesses and in some states, issuing stay-at-home orders.
“Why did the model change so dramatically from Monday to Wednesday,” Mokdad was asked on a special edition of “Bill Hemmer Reports” on Friday.
He credited updated data in the projection models as well as “better practices” at US hospitals and by physicians treating patients.
“We are going to go down in terms of mortality,” Mokdad told Hemmer. “Some states will peak a little bit later but California, [Washington], New York are going to go down in terms of numbers of mortality. It’s very positive as we move forward that the worst is behind us as a country, for some states it will take a week or so.”
“This is the first time that our data is showing the mortality will be declining from now on and it will go down from now on,” he added.
Though Mokdad acknowledged the news was good, he stressed caution at jumping back to business as usual.
“It’s important for us as we talk about reopening our businesses [but] we aren’t out of danger yet, we need to stress that. We need to do it in phases and make sure we bring some people in,” he said. “Testing is very important, public surveillance is important.”
But the predictions of millions of American deaths have been repeatedly revised with substantial decreases to the latest being about 60,000. And this as states like California, with its large economy and population over 39 million, had effectively shut down because of the dire predictions. The Golden State has seen only 21,000 confirmed cases and 599 deaths as of this writing, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Mokdad pointed to the success of measures implemented by the federal and state governments, such as stay-at-home orders that critically hurt businesses, but just one day before, he was unable to answer how other nations, like Japan, which did not issue stay at home orders across the country, have had a low number of coronavirus cases.
Speaking with Fox News host Martha MacCallum on Thursday, the health metrics sciences professor appeared to repeatedly dodge questions about how Japan “only lost 85 people” but “did sort of a very comprehensive mask program early on and limited some gatherings, but did not by any means do the kind of across the country lockdowns that the United States has done.”
(Source: Fox News)
“For this pandemic right now and COVID-19, since we don’t have a vaccine or even a medication for it, what’s working for us is social distancing,” he responded. “And in the model clearly of following the mortality exactly in the new data that’s coming is really leading to that success story. In my point of view, this is a positive sign that what we are doing is working and we should reinforce that message.”
“So why did Japan lose so few people, do you think, when they didn’t do that?” MacCallum attempted again.
“Well, other countries, we know when they didn’t do so they had a higher rate of mortality,” he replied, again ignoring the direct question. “If you look at what happened in Italy or even in China when they didn’t take it seriously early on and they came back and they enforced these measures, they were able to control the epidemic in their own country.”
But millions of unemployed Americans, and a US economy essentially in free-fall, were the result of IHME models which have driven President Trump’s coronavirus task force decisions. MacCallum confronted Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s infectious diseases specialist, about the failed models.
“The policy wasn’t made purely on the model,” Fauci told the Fox News host, admitting that he has “no problem with people who are critical of modeling because modeling is inherently an imperfect science.”
“The policy was made on our understanding of what the virus was doing and could do,” he said.
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