Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Did Lockdown Orders Save 250,000,000 Lives?

But it's kinda hard for me to believe that anybody's still buying this bullshit.
From the story:
The report, from the Urban Health Collaborative at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University, found the stay-at-home orders likely reduced the number of coronavirus deaths by 232,878 and prevented 2.1 million people from requiring hospitalization.
That certainly is a lot of lives saved!
The analysis calculated the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus versus a model compiled by mathematicians Gabriel Goh and Steven De Keninck that showed what might have happened had Americans not taken the drastic social distancing steps that governors and local elected officials have ordered and encouraged over the last few months.
A model? Showing what might have happened? Gosh, I could hardly be more convinced.
   But, hey, as long as they're investigating this objectively and not...
The figures are estimates, but they are meant to illustrate the positive effects such sacrifices have created, said Jennifer Kolker, associate dean for public health practice at the Dornsife School. [My emphasis]
Ah. Well, that's different, isn't it? I'm sorry...I thought this might be science...
Though it's only the dean. In fact, it's only an associate dean. Stupid to interview a deanling rather than one of the researchers.
   Dean Kolker continues:
"What we really wanted to do was to say this matters. Doing nothing is in fact doing something," Kolker told The Hill. "We really wanted to give city leaders the opportunity to say to their residents and their jurisdictions, 'Hey folks, look what you did, you saved lives, you kept people out of the hospital.'"
This is what we call 'propaganda,' not science. Supposing the dean knows what the hell she's talking about.
Even in hard-hit areas like New York City, where tens of thousands of people have died, the figures could have been worse. Under the city's stay-at-home order, issued by Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on March 23, the researchers found 24,062 lives were saved and nearly a quarter million people who might have been hospitalized were not
Were? Or might have been? The latter, of course. How likely? We're not told. Of course it's possible that everyone might have died!

In Los Angeles County, where a stay-at-home order took effect March 19, almost 40,000 lives were saved compared to what was likely under worst-case scenarios. More than 8,800 lives have been saved in King County, Wash., the epicenter of one of the first big coronavirus outbreaks. Philadelphia's stay-at-home order saved 6,202 lives, the analysis found, and Chicago's order has saved 10,635 lives.
The missing modal term in 3/4 of these claims: 'possible.' The crucial phrase they actually bothered to finally include halfway through the story? The ungrammatical: "under worst case scenarios."
   So, to summarize: the number of people who actually died is much smaller than the number of people two guys at Drexel think could have died if everything had gone completely pear-shaped. 
That's rather too uncharitable...but I'm getting sick of this shit.
The analysis, conducted in conjunction with the Big Cities Health Coalition, focused on only the nation's 30 largest cities, meaning the actual number of lives saved across the nation is likely substantially higher. Early models that compared death counts if no preventative action was taken versus those that would occur under strict lockdowns showed a difference of millions of potential lives saved.
Great. Now do a full cost-benefit analysis for the other 99% of the United States, including economic harm.
Now, many of those cities are taking ginger steps toward reopening some businesses. In many cases, they still do not possess the testing capacity necessary to continue their progress in stamping out the virus.
Another way we might have described the situation: 
Much of America remains under lockdown, despite the fact that opening up seems to reduce cases and deaths, and despite the fact that lockdowns are wrecking the economy.

Then we get:
That puts the onus on average Americans to continue to limit their activities, even if their governments allow them to open up again. Kolker said she worried that loosening restrictions could put many of those lives saved at risk once again.
"Allow." Also: it's not clear that there is any such onus. All we've got here is an unscientific model allegedly developed for propagandistic purposes, telling us about only the costs, but not the benefits, of one course of action in a worst-case scenario.
"We're now moving into this very strange phase where states are starting to reopen, and whether or not reopening makes the most sense," Kolker said. "Lives have been saved. It doesn't mean we won't backpedal."
Or we might have said:
Were' now remaining in this very strange phase in which states are staying locked down despite the fact that being locked down doesn't seem to make sense. Lives have been wrecked. But it's possible that this is the best course of action.

Jesus, what a train wreck.
I sure hope the dean just botched the explanation.


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