Tag: models

Corona Virus and Climate Change Models: How Scary Would You Like it to Be?

 

I was recently reminded of a joke from the days when I was an ad executive (before I became a lawyer).

Client: What time is it?

Ad Exec (looking at watch): What time would you like it to be?

It made me realize the similarity between advertising advice and mathematical modelling used to justify decisions about both climate change and COVID-19.

Politician: How scary is the model forecast?

Modeler: How scary would you like it to be?

What they have in common is that the client gets the answer they want. This brings me to the misuse of models by much of the media and many politicians, to make really uninformed political decisions about important issues like climate change and Covid-19.

 

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The Washington Times Headline: “Coronavirus hype biggest political hoax in history”.

 

The Washington Times (not to be confused with the Washington Post) has published two recent articles with that “hoax” story.  This is one of them: Washington Times

This article makes two points: first, that the models forecasting a large number of Covid-19 deaths in the US were wildly wrong, and second, that the real number of Covid-19 deaths will not be many more than in a bad flu year.  The stories imply that the fear caused by the virus and the hugely costly political response of lockdown were unnecessary reactions to a mass media hoax.  Are these stories right?.

 

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