Former NYT Reporter & Yale Grad, Alex Berenson Challenging the Coronavirus Narrative: Models flawed that caused shutdown
4-9-20,* -- On a daily basis for weeks former NYTimes reporter and Yale grad, Alex Berenson has been analyzing the data on the Covid-19 virus crisis and has come to the conclusion that the strategy of shutting down entire sectors of America and economy is based on modeling that doesn’t line up with the realities of the virus. Everyone needs to hear this counter argument, because the damage we are doing to America is enormous; he recently told Fox News:
"The response we have taken has caused enormous societal devastation, I don't think that's too strong a word. I’m not promoting coronavirus denialism, or conspiracy theories about plots to curb liberties. In February I was worried about the virus; but by mid-March I was more scared about the economy. But now I’m starting to get genuinely nervous. This isn’t complicated; the models don’t work.
WHY ARE WE STILL TALKING ABOUT INDEFINITE LOCKDOWNS?
“The model presented by Imperial College in London is wrong, when one of the authors of the models appeared to significantly walk back projections that the U.K. would see 500,000 people killed by the disease to closer to 20,000 -- although the author later said that the 500,000 prediction was without social distancing measures, and 20,000 was with them in place.
“That was March 22 or 23, 2020 and ever since then I’ve been paying incredibly close attention to the modeling and it hasn’t lined up at all. Recently been focusing on discrepancies within the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model. It once predicted more than 90,000 deaths by August 2020, but recently issued a new estimate that has the figure closer to 60,000.
"Government officials say it's a model that's moving with what the country is doing. Dr. Deborah Birx said at a White House press briefing: "We believe that our health care delivery system in the United States is quite extraordinary. I know many of you are watching the Act Now model and the IHME model— and they have consistently decreased the number, the mortality from over almost 90,000 or 86,000, down to 81,000 and now down to 61,000. That is modeled on what America is doing. That’s what’s happening." [Note: Those models have social distancing and other measures baked into them. As for further proof - outside of places like New York there has not been a national health crisis that was predicted -- nor are there signs that the level of lockdown in various states has made a difference.]
“Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the indicators are that social distancing efforts are working: "Because remember, what you do with data will always outstrip a model. You redo your models, depending upon your data, and our data is telling us that mitigation is working."
“Aside from New York, nationally there’s been no health system crisis. In fact, to be truly correct there has been a health system crisis, but the crisis is that the hospitals are empty. This is true in Florida where the lockdown was late, this is true in South Carolina where the lockdown was early, it's true in Oklahoma where there is no statewide lockdown. There doesn't seem to be any correlation between the lockdown and whether or not the epidemic has spread wide and fast.
“The drop in cases seen in various states has come before lockdowns would have had an impact -- since it takes a few weeks for social distancing measures to take effect due to the window between infection and symptoms.
“The models are to blame for a response that has effectively shut down large sectors of the economy and is causing significant financial harm to Americans. Recently it was announced that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits swelled to 6.6 million, surging for the third consecutive week. Congress has sought to alleviate the pain by boosting those jobless benefits.
“There is some sympathy from President Trump, who has spoken about the "cure being worse than the problem" and has indicated that he is keen to end the strict measures as soon as is possible -- saying Wednesday he wants to re-open the economy with a "big bang."
“The correct response in the initial days of the crisis would not have been to do nothing.[..] Measures such as protecting individuals particularly at risk, and even things such as banning large gatherings such as concerts and sporting events could have been appropriate. But now it may be too late for officials to say they overreacted. Now we’re in a bad spot because there’s clearly a dangerous political dynamic right now -- the economy is in freefall, a lot of people are hurting. If we acknowledge what is clearly happening ... the people who made these decisions, I think there’s going to be a lot of anger at them, so they don't want to acknowledge it, so they say 'oh it's the lockdown that saved us.'”
*Excerpted and adapted full report from Alex Berenson who is a former NY Times reporter [1999 to 2010] primarily covering the pharmaceutical industry. He recently came to prominence again with a book, “Tell Your Children The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence” here
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