On the dangers of certainty in science and blind trust in experts:
At the moment, one particular approach to modelling the Covid-19 epidemic – that of Imperial College, London – is holding court in the UK. The actions that we are taking were based on these modelling results. Barely a day goes by without a politician saying that they will be ‘led by the science’. But what we are seeing with Covid-19 is not ‘science’ in action. Science involves matching theories with evidence and testing a theory with attempts to falsify it, so that it can be refined to better match reality. A theory from a group of scientists is just that: a theory. Believing the opinion of that group without a critical verification process is just that: belief.
The modelling results may be close to the truth, or they could be very far from it. The idea of science is that you can test the data and the assumptions, and find out.
We know for sure that the input data in the run-up to lockdown was extremely poor. For example, it’s highly likely that a large majority of Covid-19 cases have not even been detected – and most of those that were identified were in hospitals, and therefore the most severe cases. Because of this, the WHO initially suggested a case fatality rate (CFR) of 3.4 per cent, which would have been genuinely awful. But as new evidence comes in the predictions of the models change accordingly. A paper from Imperial on 10 February suggested CFR of 0.9 per cent, a more recent one on 30 March 0.66 per cent (both based on Chinese figures, the reliability of which many doubt).John Lee, “Where is the vigorous debate about our response to Covid?” at The Spectator
Reliance on expertise can, depending on the circumstances, be a form of superstition.
The … crisis we face is unparalleled in modern times,” said the World Health Organization’s assistant director, while its director general proclaimed it “likely the greatest peacetime challenge that the United Nations and its agencies have ever faced.” This was based on a CDC computer model projection predicting as many as 1.4 million deaths from just two countries.
So when did they say this about COVID-19? Trick question: It was actually about the Ebola virus in Liberia and Sierra Leone five years ago, and the ultimate death toll was under 8,000.
With COVID-19 having peaked (the highest date was April 4), despite the best efforts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase numbers by first saying any death with the virus could be considered a death from the virus and then again this week by saying a positive test isn’t even needed, you can see where this is going.
Since the AIDS epidemic, people have been pumping out such models with often incredible figures. For AIDS, the Public Health Service announced (without documenting) there would be 450,000 cases by the end of 1993, with 100,000 in that year alone. The media faithfully parroted it. There were 17,325 by the end of that year, with about 5,000 in 1993. SARS (2002-2003) was supposed to kill perhaps “millions,” based on analyses. It killed 744 before disappearing.Michael Fumento, “After Repeated Failures, It’s Time To Permanently Dump Epidemic Models” at Issues & Insights
In short, the numbers solemnly announced by the suits on TV are often just a crock. And none of this is doing the reputation of science any good.
France’s chief epidemiologist, Prof. Jean-Francois Delfraissy, commented this week, ‘We’re worried about our friends in America, where the problem of obesity is well known and where they will probably have the most problems because of obesity’.
Leave it to svelte, priggish France to jump on any opportunity to call out American fatness, but he’s right. The higher than average per-capita deaths in New Orleans and Mexico are believed by experts to be linked to obesity. New Orleans is one of America’s fattest big cities; Louisiana has an obesity rate of 65.8 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Days ago, the CDC reported 78 percent of coronavirus patients in intensive care units had underlying health conditions that prominently included diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In Italy, 75 percent of the dead had high blood pressure, 35 percent had diabetes and a third had heart disease, all medical conditions associated with obesity. The obese have also been known for some time to be at far greater risk for flu complications, and studies show the obese carry the flu virus and spread it around for a much longer time than those who are not obese.Chadwick Moore, “Body positivity’s big silence” at Spectator USA
It might be a good idea to practice social distance from the refrigerator.
Hat tip: C2C Journal