Q&A of the Day – Why would coronavirus models suddenly improve for Florida?

Q&A of the Day – Why would coronavirus models suddenly look better for Florida?

Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Twitter: @brianmuddradio

Facebook: Brian Mudd https://www.facebook.com/brian.mudd1

Today’s entry: We wrecked our economy, wrecked our lives and our retirement accounts because of projections! Now the people making the projections are saying it might not be so bad but we can’t un-wreck our economy, lost jobs, investments, etc. Why does anyone take any “projections” with more than a grain of salt? Our lives and livelihood are too important to throw out for guess work!

Bottom Line: I guess I could start by asking if you’d prefer the models, showing a potentially improving trend with COVID-19 in Florida, continuing to worsen instead? This is the ultimate catch-22. I’m sure you wouldn’t want the news to become worse, but at the same time, if you’ve suffered hardships (and according to AP polling last week, 40% of us have suffered income loss) - I completely understand your frustration. There are so many variables in play – there are no perfect answers. First, let’s take a look at what’s changed in the projections. 

The most closely watched model in the United States has been the University of Washington’s IHME model. That’s in large part due it being the most comprehensive providing state by state data. The updated University of Washington model showed improvements across the country from the previous model. Their guidance now shows a national peak on April 16th, with a peak in Florida on April 21st. That’s an average of about twelve days better than the previous guidance. Why? The top reason cited by the scientists - the measures we’re taking to stop the spread. This includes new data from Italy and Spain showing the benefits of social distancing measures. It’s really just common sense when you think about it. This virus predominantly spreads by contagious people interacting with other people. Stop the interactions and you’ll stop the spread of the virus. Now for a look at other variables...

We still don’t know what we don’t know with COVID-19. April marks the traditional end of flu season. Will the warmer weather and humidity also have a positive impact on COVID-19? We haven’t known with certainty but maybe that’s the case. That could be a positive catalyst. Remember how early on we were told COVID-19 wasn’t a risk to our pets/animals? Now we know that tigers and lions in the Bronx Zoo have it. Remember how early on the virus was predominantly a threat to those 65 and older? Using CDC data, 21% of deaths in the United States have involved someone under 65. And here’s one more potential variable with significant implications which may help explain some of the changes I’d just referenced. Mutation. 

The prominent reason there isn’t a “cure” for a virus is mutation. They’re always on the move. In February I broke down research on virus’s illustrating the potential for significant mutation in virus’s occurring in as few as 15 days. During the first two months of COVID-19 research, scientists observed negligible mutation (only 0.1%). But has this changed recently? Are there now multiple versions of COVID-19 impacting different places in different ways? We won’t know until after the fact but it’s possible. Thepoint is this. Much like hurricanes, the reason experts and public officials have created and used models for decision making, is because an educated guess is better than an uneducated guess. It also helps demonstrate how our actions have and are likely to impact the threat going forward. 

As annoying as it is to hunker down for a massive hurricane only to have it miss, we’d still rather not be stuck by the major hurricane, right? This is a different version of a similar thing. And playing games with the virus is playing with fire. 21% of everyone who has been diagnosed with this virus and has seen it to completion, has died. That’s worse the even the impact of major hurricanes staying with the analogy. We all should continue to control what we can control to remain safe and hope this virus passes us by faster than any projections. That’s the best of all possibilities. 

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content