COVID-19 is not our first brush with model-induced international panic

Remember all the way back to March of 2020 when you couldn’t look at any form of media without seeing images of COVID-19 pandemic models which predicted doom and gloom for us all?

Notice that we don’t see these graphs going around anymore?

Where did they go? Why did it stop?

Well, it turns out that they were bullshit so yeah, people don’t really want to see more of them.

The damn virus refused to kill millions as projected and I swear some folks feel disappointed by that.

Fear sells and it is well within the interest of media outlets to put out as many hysteric predictions as possible. A long dry article from an infectious disease specialist doesn’t draw many clicks but an article with a graph showing a giant spike in infections at the head of it along with dire predictions based on modelling done by statisticians will bring in the traffic in droves.

The cause célèbre of the early 2000s was Mad Cow disease (BSE). Models and projections were myriad yet again. “Experts” on the government and media dime predicted hundreds of thousands of human deaths.

The outlook was dire indeed.

Over the years while BSE did indeed have outbreaks in cattle herds throughout the world, human deaths from it were in the dozens at best rather than thousands.

The disease in cattle presents little significant risk to people but the headlines over the years sure as hell didn’t make it sound that way..

The fear of human deaths which was fed by hysteric and utterly flawed modeling led to massive and costly overreactions to BSE all over the world.

The cost alone to Canada was in the billions as our producers were shut in due to BSE outbreaks which led to the death of a grand total of 0 people.

BSE is still a troublesome and damaging disease which needs to be controlled and hopefully eliminated but it never warranted the crazed world reactions to it in 2001-2005.

The article below identifies pandemic modeling as being “voodoo science” and it was written 13 years ago!.

This guy’s prediction that pandemic predictions were bullshit was bang on.

Neither he nor I are hoping that your granny dies of COVID-19. Nobody within reason is saying that nothing should be done about the pandemic. It certainly isn’t harmless and we need to rationally battle this bug and get it under control.

It is well within reason to say that we have grossly overreacted to this pandemic though and the economic cost is looking more and more likely to be doing more damage than the disease could ever dream of doing.

Past models were crap. Current models are probably crap. We have to toss them in the trash where they belong and start making evidence based policy decisions rather than planning for a doomsday which is never coming.

If anything is going to go extinct from this pandemic, let’s hope that it is pandemic modeling. It has done the world a terrible disservice.

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