Science, Models and Politics

Predictions are much harder when they involve the future!

by Eric Holdeman / May 13, 2020

I don't know any state emergency management director who wants to get sideways with his governor. You know who you work for and who's in charge. But ... you can find yourself diverging from the boss when politics and the desire to "do whatever I want," when that desire runs counter to the medical advice and science that has been providing the prognostication for your state's coronavirus response.

See this story, Ron DeSantis bashes modeling used by Florida’s emergency management agency.

Much has been written about pandemic modeling during our current COVID-19 pandemic. A few thoughts for your consideration:

  • Don't rely only on one model, be it providing favorable or unfavorable data
  • Realize that the models are based on the data being provided. Bad data, poor predictions!
  • This is science, and an inexact science because there are so many variables in play
  • COVID-19 is a new disease. We are only five months into the disease. Much still needs to be learned

I'm a believer in predictions and projections. We depend on them for many aspects of our profession. What will the volcano do? What path will the hurricane take? How large will the magnitude be for a worst-case earthquake? What is the projection for severe storms and tornadoes?

Get real people -- we are using models and projections all the time!

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