Tuesday, April 14, 2020

A letter to the IHME

I just wrote an email to the authors of the IHME model, which has gained a lot of attention in the press and from the White House because it predicted a lot fewer deaths than other models, in particular the model by the groups at the Imperial College London. Here's the email (click on it for a larger version of the picture):
I had explained why this model is based on very incorrect assumptions in my last post. Just one quick hint about one feature in the model graphs:
Look at the shaded area of the prediction, which indicates uncertainty. It covers a very wide range at the beginning, but narrows down to a nearly nothing in May. In other words, the model says:
 "I am not sure what will happen tomorrow, but I am absolutely certain what will happen a month from now."
You don't need to be a scientist to understand that this makes no sense whatsoever. Predicting the near future will always be more accurate than predicting something that's further away in time! 

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