Randy White, CEO
On March 23 DPH began carrying the statistical information of Dr. Douglas Frank. You can see that information here.
How important are scientific models for pandemics like the one we currently experience? Frankly, these models are virtually the only thing we have to work from. We can gain insight from past pandemics, but none of those are completely relevant. After all, how many times have we heard the word novel in recent days? Our only choices are to make a guess or to analyze what the virus has done to date based on available information. These two choices (guess or analyze) are the basis of every decision made by every politician in every state of the USA in recent weeks.
Have we come so far as to disregard the scientific method? The scientific method, of course, is to create an hypothesis about the future based on known information and then test that hypothesis with either manipulating the ingredients or waiting to see what happens. In this case, the only thing we can do is wait to see if our models were accurate. Fortunately, however, our waiting is not long because every day every state puts out numbers that either verify or falsify our information.
According to wikipedia, “a statement is falsifiable if some observation might show it to be false.” In the case of COVID-19 models, only “tomorrow” can falsify our statements (whether they be from politicians or doctors or scientists or theologians). Fortunately for us, since this outbreak began we have had plenty of “tomorrows” to either prove false or verify the models.
Every American by now knows that our politicians ARE basing their decisions on scientific models. How do we know this? Because we have been instructed to take [at times draconian] measures to FLATTEN THE CURVE. What curve are they talking about? They refer to the curve of their scientific model. That model is based on assumptions and data that is “fed” into an algorithm which then “predicts” the future.
Since every American’s life has been affected (mostly adversely, as the two trillion dollar senate bill gives witness to), every American should begin to care about the scientific method, calculus, and the falsifiability of scientific models. [Note: at the time of this writing the Senate bill has not been approved].
The Federalist has just released an article entitled, “Inaccurate Virus Models Are Panicking Officials Into Ill-Advised Lockdowns.” In this article, the alarm is sounded for bad models built on bad data.
For example, consider Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins who displayed a model on Sunday, March 22 as the basis of his shelter-in-place order for Dallas County. The model predicts over 250,000 hospitalizations from Coronavirus even with sheltering in place. However, the model being presented in our blog series only shows 3,000 projected total cases in all of Texas. These models are wildly divergent.
What do “we, the people” do when we are presented with such divergent models? The answer is quit simple: we wait until tomorrow awaiting falsifiability. One or both models will be proven false, and we (and hopefully our politicians) will reject the false model: its the scientific thing to do!
As the article in The Federalist explains, the models being used by our politicians have already been proven wildly inaccurate. They are based upon data and algorithms from an organization called Covid Act Now (in which even the title of the organization shouts of agenda). Who is behind the Act Now model? According to The Federalist (and verified on the Covid Act Now website),
“Founders of the site include Democratic Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins and three Silicon Valley tech workers and Democratic activists — Zachary Rosen, Max Henderson, and Igor Kofman — who are all also donors to various Democratic campaigns and political organizations since 2016.”
Anyone smell a rat?
DPH is relying on the scientific analysis of Douglas G. Frank. When asked about a particular press conference in which a politician stated that the peak of COVID-19 would be (for their area) on May 1. Frank’s response, “where are their daily predictions, confirming that their understanding is correct? If they can’t even predict a day or two, why would we trust them a week or a month?”
That, my friend, is what every one of us should insist on. When our politicians bring forth charts, let us shout from the mountaintop, “Show me the numbers!!” Charts are based on assumptions and have either had enough time to verify some degree of accuracy or they are made up hype and should be summarily rejected.
Our DPH daily blog updates will be carrying the updated results, with pertinent commentary, from Dr. Frank. If we find his model to be falsified by information, we will reject the models and inform the public. THAT IS WHAT SCIENTISTS DO. (And, what Dr. Frank would want us to do, frankly!)
As for you personally, there are a couple things you can do. First, help spread the word. Our daily updates from Dr. Frank can be found by clicking here. Share this article and/or that link. Second, don’t “hide under the bed” in fear based on charts that do not provide the proof to their hypotheses. Any of us can make a chart, few of us can make a chart which accurately predicts the future. Third, contact your politicians and ask for the numbers behind their decisions. Let their office staff know that their pretty chart, in many cases, already needs to be tossed in the trash, along with the policies enacted based on bad information. It is one thing for a politician to make a bad decision based on bad information, it is another to continue that policy after the information is proven false.
In recent days, President Trump has been strongly saying, “It’s almost time to get back to work.” Has he recognized that bad charts make bad policy? Is he now looking at better charts for better policy? We hope so!
Some may be questioning whether any mathematical model can predict the future. The answer is an unequivocal yes. And if a young person is interested, perhaps they should consider becoming an actuary. What do actuaries do? “Actuaries measure and manage risk. Actuaries have a deep understanding of mathematics, statistics and business management…Actuaries help leaders make strategic decisions and consumers prepare for their future.” For many years, actuaries have been using numbers to predict the future. For more information about this lucrative career, click here.