Most of the United States entered into a tepid reopening from the COVID lockdowns in mid-May. Although the reopening process has advanced through an interminable succession of bureaucratic phases with most of the country remaining under varying degrees of restriction as of mid-July, the reopening process has remained under sustained criticism from the media and a segment of the epidemiology profession since the moment it started.Back on May 24th the epidemiology team at Imperial College London (ICL) published a study that expanded on their now-notorious COVID-19 model. Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson both cited the apocalyptic projections of this report and its lead author Neil Ferguson back in March to justify their decisions to lock everything down.
The follow-up ICL paper from May attempted to model the effects of reopening in 5 US states: New York, Massachusetts, California, Washington, and Florida.
In all five cases, the Imperial College team predicted an aggressive rebound of COVID-19 fatalities under even the most modest relaxation of stay-at-home policies and practices.
In both of these reopening scenarios, the model depicted a catastrophic rebound of COVID-19 fatalities. As the ICL team itself put it, their model “illustrate[s] the potential consequences of increasing mobility across the general population: in almost all cases, after 8 weeks, a 40% return to baseline [mobility] leads to an epidemic larger than the current wave.” Media reports at the time touted the study’s dire warnings as reasons to stall the reopening process – even at its sluggish pace of recurring 2-week delays and extensions.
More than 8 weeks have passed since the publication of the ICL team’s warnings against reopening, meaning we can now see how their model performed.
The image below shows the three modeled scenarios from May, as depicted in the ICL report for the five states under consideration. Note that even under the “constant mobility” scenario of remaining under lockdown, their model predicted an increase in COVID deaths for every state except New York, which had already peaked. Under the reopening scenarios where mobility increased 20% and 40% respectively from its lockdown state, all five states were predicted to surge into apocalyptic territory by the middle of July. Under the 40% scenario, this even entailed upper boundaries of more than 4,000 deaths per day (the bands represent the 95% confidence interval). Massachusetts and New York, two of the hardest-hit states from the first wave back in March and April, would easily match or exceed their previous COVID-19 daily death records.
To see how these predictions held up, I indicated the daily death totals for each state for July 20th with a small red dot on the graphs above. As you can see, the actual totals are below the ICL model’s predictions in every scenario. In Massachusetts, the current daily death totals are even falling below the lower boundary of the ICL model’s projections for both its 20% and 40% mobility increase scenarios.
Guest Post by Real Estate Pup
I still can’t wrap my head around their convoluted logic. If you think wearing a mask is good for you, then do it. If I don’t wear one, and you want to wear one, then what is the problem? If you are truly, truly convinced that mask help “stop the spread” (utter BS) and you have your mask on, then shouldn’t you be OK? Isn’t your safety you are concerned about? Because I seriously do not, will not, nay CANNOT believe it’s about MY SAFETY. The only people who care about my safety is me, my mother, and most times my dad. If a stranger says it, it’s a lie. They know it, and I know it. Extrapolate that out into the “government” which encompasses people who have never met me, been to my house, eaten a meal with me, then that, ladies and gentlemen, is mendacity on an epic scale.
Of course it’s the never-ending BS like being “polite” (not my problem or job), making others feel “safe” (also not my problem), or “following the law” (not a law, nice try), “for the children” (that’s rich) or “not wanting to kill old people” (last time I checked I never killed anyone, but lord give me strength I fight the urge daily in these the most craziest of times). I feel like that last one makes me seem like Brad Pitt in Inglorious Bastards…but now we are just running around without masks breathing on senior citizens all thug-life.
I just don’t wear one when I go into any store. And I have gotten ZERO blow back. I see people in the parking lot of my local Chopper of Prices. Slumped shoulders, red, sweaty faces. Dead eyes. Pushing their carts, totally beaten behind those masks. I walk with a spring in my step, fully oxygenated! Smiling! I look at people in the eye and SMILE my widest, toothiest, mask-free grin. I grab my cart, sans gloves, and breeze right by the sanitizing wipe station, nary a care in the world for that pesky virus. Why? Why would I do such a reckless thing you might ask? Am I crazy? Off my meds? A thrill seeker?
No dear reader. I am none of those. I am however, a grown-ass woman. I am not obese. I do not smoke. I am not undergoing chemotherapy. Or on immunosuppressant drugs. My Vitamin C levels would make an orange swoon. I go outside, in the SUN! I glory in it’s UV rays while it activates my body to produce Vitamin D. I drink water. I eat fresh veggies straight from my garden. I avoid fast food. I sleep. I also do not watch doom porn in any amounts, which as been shown to cause brain damage. I enjoy a glass of wine or margarita (ok, maybe two). I avoid large, angry crowds with incendiary devices, rocks, bricks, or molotov cocktails, as the Surgeon General has determined fire burns and hard things hurt when thrown at you.
I have no sniffles. Or fever. Or cough. Or aches. I can smell AND taste. So, based on those things, or lack thereof, I conclude, with reasonable confidence, that I AM NOT SICK. And if I have this virus, and it has not made me sick, then I guess my magical immune system has…wait for it….DONE IT’S JOB. Who would have thought that it was possible without a vaccine? I guess miracles will never cease. Signs and wonders really, when the human body does what it was designed to do, without the assistance from some weird guy in California who looks like someone’s creepy basement Uncle.
So thank you, Doctor Short Stuff, and Madam Scarf. I am really, really OK just working this out on my own. I promise I will not seek out and breathe on anyone over 70 if you promise to stop talking. Deal?