Revisting UW IHME’s Covid-19 projections

This part of the post was written on September 4th, but not published until December 30.

On September 4th, the UW IHME disease modeling team projected 410,000 deaths in the U.S. by January 1st, 2021:

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine is predicting more than 410,000 deaths by January if mask usage stays at current rates. If governments continue relaxing social distancing requirements, that number could increase.

Source: Coronavirus live updates: Model predicts 410K US deaths by January; Labor Day weekend brings risk; South Dakota stages state fair

By September/October, most of the US was averaging 90+% face mask compliance. The areas with bad outbreaks were seeing 95+% compliance according to COVIDcast at CMU.

On September 4th, the CDC reported a cumulative total of just over 187,000 deaths.

As of December 31st, the CDC reports:

Including Dec 31 in the final tally will likely bring that to over 340,000 for the year.

Since last April, I saved many of the UW IHME projections. Their projections, when compared to reality, ranged from being wildly off to off in space.

In every projection I saved, the UW IHME significantly over estimated future deaths.

As they got closer to December 31st, IHME revised their past projection to 296,000 to 348,000 – moving their own goal posts so they could later say, see, we made a correct projection! And they can claim with a straight, but covered, face that the real world was at the high end of their projection!

UW IHME continuously updates their past web site projections, much like the Soviets used to rewrite history – so that at any point in time, their projections look really good 🙂

They also insert a random variable of unknown value – face mask usage – such that they can later justify any possible real world scenario. The CDC itself has said it has no quantitative data to compare face masks versus social distancing or hand washing or any other mitigation. In other words, UW makes up assumed values for their face mask wearing model – meaning they can generate any projection and then later blame errors on face masks. IHME assumed – back in May – that wearing a mask provided a 50% risk reduction. This was based, then, on early comparisons that ignored the time dimension. For example, CA “proved” that mitigations and mask wearing worked – In May! Now in Dec, CA has the worst outbreak nationwide after having the toughest restrictions for the longest period of time compared to elsewhere. It looks like IHME is making up a fudge factor value so their projection can always agree with the narrative du jour.

Their projections have been consistently awful. Yet much of the media – whose business uses gloom and doom click bait to sell eyeballs to advertisers – eagerly publicize these “expert predictions” as if they were meaningful.

Businesses can legally deny access to those without a Covid-19 vaccination

And it is legal, just as “no shirt, no shoes, no service” is legal:

Proof of a Covid-19 vaccine may be required to take part in many leisure activities next year.

Source: Can ‘vaccine passports’ be required to fly? Attend a concert? Go shopping? – oregonlive.com

By spring time, about 1/3 of the US adult population may have been vaccinated and there will be intense pressure to “open up” for the privileged vaccinated, even if this means denying access to many others who may be waiting until June-September for vaccine availability.

Large event venues (sports, concerts, events, theaters, museums) and airlines are both interested in using “immunity passports” to restrict access – and many indicate they would like to do this sooner than later. To the extent these are private businesses, they can choose to mandate vaccinations, if they wish – at any time.

More on this here.

“…it’s going to take years, not months to vaccinate the American people”

Biden’s headline quote is correct at current pace of vaccination. Unfortunately, Biden can’t do the math needed to fix the problem:

He pledged to ramp up the current speed of vaccinations to one million shots a day, or five to six times the current pace, and acknowledged it “will still take months to have the majority of Americans vaccinated”.

To vaccinate the population in six months will take 3.6 million vaccinations per day, 7 days per week. 328 M people / 180 days is about 1.8 m/day, but since current vaccines require 2 doses, this is about 3.6 m/day, every day, for six months. To vaccinate HALF the population in six months is 1.8 m/day. This is probably the best we can hope for.

More on that here.

Meanwhile, I wonder if I can reserve a spot in the waiting line for when the vaccine priority reaches me in about the year 2029?

Heh – even the media is noticing – and my 2029 estimate is spot on!

Trump administration’s goal to vaccinate 80% of US population by June may take a DECADE to complete at current rate as CDC data reveals only two million Americans have been vaccinated in three weeks

I thought Covid-19 vaccination was an emergency situation?

Oregon largely stopped vaccinations on December 24th with just 10 on December 25th.

At this rate, it looks like the general public will be eligible to wait in line in about 2029.

OHA announced on Friday, Dec 18th, that the state had received 35,100 doses. The state received an additional 12,100 doses of the Moderna vaccine on December 21st and expected 72,000 more doses by December 26. An additional 25,000 doses are then expected during this coming week. That comes to 144,200 doses by Dec 31st.

Continue reading I thought Covid-19 vaccination was an emergency situation?

Predictable: TN Mayor offers “extra vaccine doses” to politicians and their families

Elites gonna be elite:

Mayor Woodby sent the email Wednesday morning shortly before 3 a.m. to all county commissioners offering the vaccine to them and their families, even providing a time and location for the vaccination.

Source: Carter County mayor releases statement regarding ‘extra vaccines’ email | WJHL | Tri-Cities News & Weather

Politicians are, of course, the #1 priority for vaccination. What would the world do without yet another elite politician?

Remember, back to the end of the line you non-essential, worthless peon! Know your place plebeian!

Predictable: Health care management not doing direct patient care went to head of vaccine lines

And not just managers but also physicians and others doing telehealth and not meeting with patients ended up at the front:

DeVincent said her frustration turned to anger when she realized exactly who was getting the shots: Some of the first to be vaccinated were managers, coordinators and others who do not do hands-on patient care.

Source: Health Care Workers Describe Chaos, Anger For Hospital COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout : NPR

Good news: Novavax’s COVID vaccine starts Phase III trials 

WASHINGTON (AP) – A huge study of another COVID-19 vaccine candidate is getting underway Monday as states in the U. S. continue to roll out scarce supplies of the nation’s first shot options. The U. S. has authorized the emergency use of two vaccines, one made by Pfizer and BioNTech and the other by Moderna, but doses will be rationed for months. The candidate made by Novavax Inc. is the fifth to reach final-stage testing in the U. S.

Source: Novavax’s COVID vaccine to be studied in the US | KATU

Their vaccine shipments are probably 5-6 months out, assuming their trials go well. The US government has contracted with Novavax but their supply not likely to kick in until summer of 2021.

Interesting quote from Dr Fauci who has been saying the “general public” can get vaccines starting in April (even though we have only enough to dose about 1/3 of the population by April):

“If you want to have enough vaccine to vaccinate all the people in the U.S. who you’d like to vaccinate – up to 85% or more of the population – you’re going to need more than two companies,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, told The Associated Press.

Finally, Biden may invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine production. An acknowledgement that vaccines may be in short supply until summer, unless new production occurs.