Ohio's Revised Projections are Still Too High
I am greatly pleased with the leadership of Michael Dewine, Dr. Amy Acton, and the other relevant members of governmental leadership during the COVID-19 outbreak. By acting aggressively, Ohio has been spared an overwhelmed healthcare system and the accompanying excess deaths that would have occurred. But I am going to gripe about the projections coming out of Ohio State in particular because even after revision, they do not conform with reality.
The red figures are the OSU2's projections on dates prior to their being published on 4/8. The OSU2's variance is not only very high, but is trending upward. This combination really is not acceptable, because the projections can already be disregarded as unrealistic.
The problem is that there is an agenda here. The concern is that if the numbers are not sufficiently high, people will stop engaging in anti-viral behavior like social distancing, mask wearing, washing hands, etc. The problem is the loss of credibility by consistently shrill and inaccurate messaging. The risk is that it will ultimately get tuned out by people as they become more jaded with each passing day.
We have already seen cataclysmic results from public health authorities pushing their agendas at the expense of the truth. WHO understated the lethality of the coronavirus for weeks even though the data showed a death rate much higher than the 1% or less they were touting. They opposed travel bans. CDC dismissed mask wearing because they didn't want a run on surgical masks by a terrified public. The WHO enabled lethargy in national responses and enabled the spread of the virus internationally. The CDC enabled more rapid spread of the contagion than would have occurred if mask wearing were initially encouraged. The net cost of these behaviors can only be estimated to be tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars in lost economic activity.
I think it is time for public health officials to explain their concerns while providing accurate information. They cannot be accountable for the public not responding appropriately if they engage in fair and accurate messaging.
I believe that the peak of new COVID-19 cases has already occurred in Ohio and a plateau and somewhat accelerating decline will follow in the coming few weeks. After that I expect some loosening of restrictions and we will have to watch and see how the infection rate responds.