My COVID-19 prediction a month later

On April 23, I made a prediction: that Georgia would not see a post-lockdown surge in COVID-19 cases. You can follow that link for my full reasoning, but the short form is that I’d seen indicator that the virus was already widespread before the lockdown ever started.

By May 12, I saw some preliminary indicators that also seemed to support my view; to wit, we did not see a declined in the rate of daily infections which one would expect if the lockdown slowed exposures.

If we were going to see a new, post-lockdown surge, I thought it would start to appear approximately two weeks later, based on a roughly 14 day incubation period. The lockdown was lifted on May 1. I waited a little more than two weeks to give the state’s data time to cath up with local reporting. How did I do?

From that, you might think that my prediction of no new uptick was a complete failure. But wait.

As of this writing, that data is useless for confirming or denying my prediction. Georgia went and made some changes.

First, after the lockdown ended the state began offering COVID-19 screening to anyone. Previously, it was only available for those displaying symptoms. Unless they can report whether post-lockdown positives were symptomatic or not, we don’t know if we’re seeing something other than what we would have if testing had always been available regardless of symptoms.

Second, and far more serious… that graph no longer reports just SARS-CoV-2 testing. It now includes post-lockdown antibody screening. That is, people who never even knew they “had” COVID-19, but had been exposed enough to develop an immune response. And since, not being sick, they don’t know what days the “cases” developed, they seem to be reporting an antibody positive on the day of the test. A person might have been exposed all the way back in January, but it’s reported as happening after the lockdown lifted.

The uptick could be asymptomatic cases we’d never have seen before, because the state wasn’t looking for asymptomatic cases before the reopening. It could be antibody positives. We don’t know how much of which.

The state now says they’ll separate viral and antibody positives and report them separately. Until that happens, my prediction remains untestable, damnit. But the deaths-per-day graph may be another proxy. As yet, that does not appear to show an uptick; the 7-day average curve still looks like a classic epidemic curve. The state also reports that COVID-19 hospitalizations are “down 34% since May 1st.”

Hopefully they’ll sort out that data soon.

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The hell with reCAPTCHA

I’m not going to spend several more minutes going through multiple pages of “please click images of” to train Google’s pattern recognition bot, just to post a comment on a blog. Especially when it keeps insisting that there are buses there that aren’t.

In the past, I’ve put up with that to respond to specific data requests, but no longer.

And especially after wading through demand page after demand page, only to be hit with “Your comment will be visible after moderation.”

IHME Model May Not Be Fraud, Exactly, After All

I had a discussion with a reporter who had done a story claiming that there were 32 COVID-19 deaths, and 610 new cases, “in a span of 24 hours in Georgia.”

Since the Georgia COVID-19 Dashboard reported 2 new deaths and 6 new cases (as of 5/13/2020, 1:25:00 PM), I was a little curious where she got her numbers.

It turns out she was just looking at how much the “Confirmed COVID-19 Cases” and “Deaths” total numbers at the top of the page incremented, and apparently assumed all those cases happened in the previous 24 hours. I explained that the increment actually includes cases from different days. Due to delays in testing and reporting by counties and labs, it can be weeks before a case that popped up on 4/27 finally appears on the Dashboard. In fact, I picked 4/27, because yesterday that date did pick up some new cases, making the new peak day (previously the peak day was 4/20).

While older dates are fairly stable now, the numbers for the past two or three weeks can be fluid.

But then it hit me: I’ve called the IHME model fraudulent because they are clearly generating new peaks by lumping days worth of data together and reporting them as occurring on the same day… just like this reporter did.

The reporter is being sloppy, and gives the impression those cases/deaths occurred in that 24 hour period. That’s the kind of reporting that panicked the nation into an unwarranted house arrest. Great for clickbait, bad for informing people.

For IHME — if this is what they’re doing — it’s laziness and incompetence that’s totally irresponsible in an allegedly scientific endeavour.

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Elephant Repellent

Bob walked down the driveway on his way to check the mail, and was hit with a horrifically noxious odor. He glanced around for the dead whatever, and saw neighbor Tom with a garden sprayer carefully applying a repugnant something to his lawn.

“What the hell are you spraying, Tom?” he shouted. “That shit reeks!”

Tom straightened up, smiling. “It’s elephant repellent. Those suckers are hell on lawns.”

“Elephant repellent! Are you nuts? This is Georgia; we don’t have elephants except in zoos.”

Tom beamed proudly. “See? It works.”


I’m sure you’ve heard that, or some variant before. But now you’re living it.

IHME told us we all going to die if we didn’t “social distance” and go into house arrest. When the real world didn’t match the predictions (and never did), they said, “See? It works.”

Let’s take Georgia for example. DPH conveniently graphs cases for us.

This is what the statewide cases look like, and they’ve even overlaid the graph with lines indicating when large gatherings were banned and when we went into lockdown. If social distancing and lockdowns “worked” we would expect to see discontinuities in the trend line at those dates.

We don’t see the “expected” discontinuities. In fact, if you look closely, what you do see is:

  1. Once the epidemic kicked in we had a sharp rise until March 19.
  2. At March 20, we see the trend begin to slow slightly. That’s days before the large gathering ban.
  3. From March 20 to April 11 — that’s through the gathering ban (March 23) and the lockdown (April 2), the trend is darned near linear.

This is an “ideal” model of an epidemic, based on typical spread of any epidemic.

Does that look familiar? If the lockdown et al “worked,” our trend curve should have topped out early, then run more less flat for an extended period of time. Instead…

We peaked and declined just like any other epidemic.

There is a final test of whether the draconian measures “worked.” If the lockdown was making a noticeable difference, then approximately two weeks (SARS-CoV-2 incubation period runs around 3-14 days) after it ended in Georgia, we should see a significant uptick in new cases, as people “start” getting exposed again.

So far there’s no sign of a an uptick, but while it could have started showing, it probably won’t for a few more days. And then reporting will have to catch up.

As I’ve said before, I don’t think we’ll see the uptick, for the same reason we didn’t see the “expected” discontinuities is daily cases: COVID-19 was already widespread long before the “Oh my god, we’re all gonna die” reactions.” As the Diamond Princess and Roosevelt case studies showed, along with random COVID-19 virus and antigen testing, the disease is widespread, and almost no one knows they had it.

Our glorious leaders sold us elephant repellent.

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IHME: Criminal Charges Are Overdue

As of 5/6/2002, 9:23AM EDT, IHME claims Georgia had 51 COVID-19 deaths on 5/1. Not “projected;” that’s what they claim was actual.

Georgia DPH begs to differ: 21. Georgia’s daily deaths have never gone over 49. (At least IHME finally erased the claim that actual deaths reached 100/day.)

IHME “projects” that Georgia daily deaths will continue to rise to a peak of 61/day on 5/29.

Reality says: Daily deaths have been trending downwards since 4/16, and dropping like a rock since 4/28.

Will someone criminally charge these people already>

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Underestimated? Ya Think?

Dr. Birx: As US reopens, protecting those at high risk for coronavirus remains ‘very critical’
I think we underestimated, very early on, the number of asymptomatic cases. And I think we’re really beginning to understand there are people that get infected — that those symptoms are so low-grade that they don’t even know that they’re infected.

No shit. I think I’ve mentioned that.

This why the IHME COVID-19 model is fraudulent

I mostly avoid the crappy IHME model now, but I happened to see a reference to it today. A quick comparison to reality made it very clear what they are doing.

This is IHME for Georgia, deaths per day; solid red is allegedly the real numbers, and the rest is projected. Note that their total deaths projection is actually fairly close to reality. But also note their curve.

IHME claims Georgia peaked at 100 deaths per day, and continues to have high spikes.

Now this is the actual deaths per day reported by Georgia. Deaths per day gradually increased, accelerated, peaked, and has been declining since mid-April. It peaked at 48.

Why are the numbers so different? Georgia’s graph shows daily deaths. IHME doesn’t; they save up days’ worth of reporting, then graph those days’ worth as occurring on one day. Thus, the total comes close to Georgia’s reality, but they get to generate continuing spikes that, when curve-fitted and projected, give a much higher and extended curve than reality. They “projected” 45 deaths for 4/29 and 4/30, based on that curve. Reality was 7 and 3, respectively.

Falsifying dates of death to generate continuing peaks is fraud. They’ve had plenty of time to look at the real data reported through multiple sources. If it was merely an error, they had plenty of time to correct it. They did not. They continue to use false data. They have no excuse for not noticing that they’re claiming a peak over twice as high as Georgia’s actual peak; 100 vs. 48.

Since they also know governments were using their model to make plans to deal with the outbreak, and knowingly provided — are still providing — a falsified model, I think a criminal investigation is warranted.

Added:For the slow, here’s a simplified example of how counting incidents on the wrong day skews the model. The vertical axis is Cases. The horizontal axis is Days.

example-graph

In this example, we had ten total cases, with 1 case occurring per day. That is graphed in black. The curve is flat.

But using IHME’s methodology…

Day 1: They report 1 case.
Day 2: skipped
Day 3: They added days 2 and 3, and reported both on day 3.
Day 4: skipped
Day 5: skipped
Day 6: Added days 4, 5 and 6 together, and reported all on day 6.
Day 7: skipped
Day 8: skipped
Day 9: skipped
Day 10: Added days 7, 8, 9, and 10 together, and reported all on day 10.

A much different curve, showing cases increasing now. But the total number of cases is the same.

Fraud.

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