It is a wonder that nobody choked on their morning toast and tea, for if Imperial modelling has stood for anything in this crisis, it is relentless pessimism. Plummeting figures were certainly not predicted by its researchers. The difference this time is that the Government has pressed ahead with reopening despite the doom-mongering, and so has proven the models wrong.
Here is what they said would happen and what we know now: Hospital admissions When the Government published its roadmap out of the pandemic on Feb 22, it was largely based on modelling assumptions from Imperial, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Warwick University.
Imperial modelled four unlocking scenarios, ranging from “very fast” to “gradual”. Under the fastest, full lifting would occur at the end of April, while under the slowest, Britain would not see restrictions eased until Aug 2.
In the end, the Government chose a path somewhere between “fast” and “medium”, yet the Imperial model predicted that would still lead to Covid hospital bed occupancy of about 15,000 to 25,000 in the summer and early autumn – which was higher than the first peak in April 2020.
Author(s): Sarah Knapton
Publication Date: 5 May 2021
Publication Site: The Telegraph (UK)
“There’s only one model that we look at that has the number of projected deaths which is the IHME model which is funded by the Gates Foundation,” Cuomo said on April 2, adding, “and we thank the Gates Foundation for the national service that they’ve done.”
In an April 9 briefing, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer referred to the IHME model in order to project deaths and the PPE resources needed for the supposed surge.
It was the same story with the government of Pennsylvania. The PA Health Department exclusively uses IHME models to forecast coronavirus outcomes.
Governor Phil Murphy, another nursing home death warrant participant, used IHME models to navigate the state’s policy response.
Author(s): Jordan Schachtel
Publication Date: 16 February 2021
Publication Site: The Dossier at Substack
For a few months last year, Nigel Goldenfeld and Sergei Maslov, a pair of physicists at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, were unlikely celebrities in their state’s COVID-19 pandemic response — that is, until everything went wrong.
Following the model’s guidance, the University of Illinois formulated a plan. It would test all its students for the coronavirus twice a week, require the use of masks, and implement other logistical considerations and controls, including an effective contact-tracing system and an exposure-notification phone app. The math suggested that this combination of policies would be sufficient to allow in-person instruction to resume without touching off exponential spread of the virus.
But on September 3, just one week into its fall semester, the university faced a bleak reality. Nearly 800 of its students had tested positive for the coronavirus — more than the model had projected by Thanksgiving. Administrators had to issue an immediate campus-wide suspension of nonessential activities.
Author: Jordana Cepelewicz
Publication Date: 28 January 2021
Publication Site: Quanta Magazine