Do political decisions by Trump allies, protesters, and red state governors like Brian Kemp of Georgia and Ron DeSantis of Florida negate the IHME model for the coronavirus? For those not into the weeds of coronavirus modeling, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington produced a model for the coronavirus spread in the U.S. that the Trump Administration and others are supposedly relying on to predict how many infections and deaths there will be from the coronavirus. Recently, there has been push back by other epidemiologists that the IHME model is flawed. The critics of the IHME model point out its scientific flaws, which I can get into at a later date. But one thing that I think even lay people need to focus on is the assumption built into the IHME model: that we are all practicing social distancing and mitigation efforts equally. This has never been the case, and I believe that the political decisions of some governors and Trump supporters will further undermine the IHME model.
Translation: the number of deaths due to coronavirus will be higher because of dumbass politics.
Rachel Maddow of MSNBC has been on top of how several red state governors out West have never put in place shelter in place orders. This is because many of those governors are 1) suck ups to business interests and 2) following Trump’s directions on how to deal with the coronavirus. Therefore, many of those states — Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North and South Dakota and a several others — are incubators for the next round of coronavirus hotspots. In fact, South Dakota is a prime example of this.
To make matters worse, other red state governors are taking Trump’s lead about reopening the economy, despite the fact that we haven’t even “flattened the curve” on the coronavirus pandemic.
- The beaches around Jackonsville, Florida reopened just a few days ago. Do I need to link to the hashtag Florida Morons for you all? I didn’t think so.
- By the way, did you know that the IHME model claims that the peak of coronavirus deaths in Florida has PASSED?
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Updates from The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projections suggest Florida has passed the worst of coronavirus impacts.
Projections from the IHME, which have been updated regularly since late March, show that since the state government’s stay-at-home order and restrictions of mass gatherings early this month, the spread of the virus has slowed. That’s based on public data.
The peak of per-day coronavirus deaths is projected to have happened on April 2. State records show 77 people died in Florida that day.
Here is where I will pick some nits. First up, even though Florida has gotten more tests done than some states, they are still no where near enough performed in Florida or any state to accurately make that kind of prediction. They have only tested a little over 1% of the state at this time. And now, Florida has gone and thrown social distancing to the wind with opening up some of those beaches in north Florida.
- Governor Brian Kemp has decided to reopen several businesses this Friday. This despite the fact that the number of cases is still rising as are the deaths. Sounds like social distancing is going to take a hit there in Georgia.
The governor cited the devastating impact of closed businesses on the state’s economy as a reason to get things moving again. “I don’t give a damn about politics now,” said Kemp, who suggested he was prioritizing Georgians “going broke worried about whether they can feed their children and make the mortgage payment.” And it’s true that pain is being felt widely here.
- South Carolina has decided to reopen its beaches and some businesses.
- I hear that Mississippi is planning to reopen its beaches too.
- And Texas and Tennessee have decided to join the fun.
So how is the IHME model to hold up when all those states have decided to start ending social distancing and reopening their economies?
And here is another variable: those idiotic Trump supporters who have been gathering in person to protest shelter in place orders. While it may not be in the thousands, it is still enough people in each state to start new hotspots for the coronavirus. Remember, it only takes a few idiots to spread the coronavirus and for it to grow exponentially.
All of the above stupidity is because of politics. Pure and simple.
The IHME model does not account for political stupidity and public health.