Earlier, we talked about how he risks Unpersonhood for talking about how COVID-19 shutdowns affect blokes (more than Wokes, who have more resources). A reader kindly wrote to say that Ioannidis has responded to his critics:
Predictions for hospital and ICU bed requirements were also entirely misinforming. Public leaders trusted models (sometimes even black boxes without disclosed methodology) inferring massively overwhelmed health care capacity (Table 1) . However, eventually very few hospitals were stressed, for a couple of weeks. Most hospitals maintained largely empty wards, waiting for tsunamis that never came. The general population was locked and placed in horror-alert to save the health system from collapsing. Tragically, many health systems faced major adverse consequences, not by COVID-19 cases overload, but for very different reasons. Patients with heart attacks avoided visiting hospitals for care , important treatments (e.g. for cancer) were unjustifiably delayed , mental health suffered . With damaged operations, many hospitals started losing personnel, reducing capacity to face future crises (e.g. a second wave). With massive new unemployment, more people may lose health insurance. The prospects of starvation and of lack of control for other infectious diseases (like tuberculosis, malaria, and childhood communicable diseases for which vaccination is hindered by the COVID-19 measures) are dire [7,8].John P.A. Ioannidis, Sally Cripps, Martin A. Tanner, “Forecasting for COVID-19 has failed” at International Institute of Forecasters
His team waffles a bit toward the end, along the lines of “better safe than sorry.” But so often that depends on what “safe” turns out to be.
We still urgently need a serious discussion about the role of the “science” expert, as we survey the ruins of our economy. How is that expert different from the crystal ball reader?