Letter to the editor: Doctor’s prediction about virus peak is not supported by data | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Doctor’s prediction about virus peak is not supported by data

Robert Dudney

“Doctor says peak of COVID-19 cases in Summit County is a few weeks away,” stated the Page 1 headline in the Summit Daily News on April 9.

The source was a medical officer at the Summit Community Care Clinic. This person’s prediction was based on talks with “folks from (St. Anthony) Summit Medical Center” and “other medical providers,” i.e., the “experts.”

For many locked-down residents, the remark was a downer, and it was the most-read story in the paper that week. And yet all signs are that the forecast was way off.

In the “few weeks” since the doctor’s prediction, new coronavirus hospitalizations have in fact been flat. The day-by-day figures (starting on April 7) go like this: 0 – 0 – 0 – 1 – 3 – 0 – 1 – 0 – 0 – 1 – 1 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0

Similarly flat were day-by-day, test-confirmed new cases of coronavirus: 3 – 0 – 2 – 1 – 8 – 3 – 2 – 1 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 3 – 2 – 3 – 0

(On Monday, the county lumped together the previous three days, reporting eight cases. I spread the eight evenly 3 – 2 – 3 over the three-day period.)

Nothing in this data supports a claim that the illness is pushing toward a higher peak or even increasing in a meaningful way. Maybe the situation will change dramatically in days ahead, but the original prediction clearly was wrong.

This is not to knock the doctor. To paraphrase a Yogi Berra-ism, even the experts are finding it tough to make predictions — especially about the future.

Maybe they should just stop doing it. And we should not forget their track records when they do make dire claims to justify the continuation of extreme social restrictions.

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