Gottleib: “We thought we’d be in a better place by now”

More deaths than expected … new deaths on a plateau.
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Dr. Scott Gottleib is a former head of the FDA.

My view: He usually makes a lot of sense, so I listen to him.

In a WSJ columns, Gottleib observes:

Everyone thought we’d be in a better place after weeks of sheltering in place and bringing the economy to a near standstill.

Mitigation hasn’t failed; social distancing and other measures have slowed the spread.

But the halt hasn’t brought the number of new cases and deaths down as much as expected or stopped the epidemic from expanding.

And, there’s more to the story…

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My opinion: There are a couple of things going on that are fueling a rise in disappointment:

Unrealistic targets: The estimate of 60,000 deaths  was hyped by Pres. Trump and head-nodded by Drs. Fauci and Birx.  We’ve far over-shot that number with 2 months to go until the Aug. 4 end of the forecast period.

Fuzzy futures: The projections from the  forecasting models have bounced around continually — up and down and up. The latest gyration of the IHME model doubled the expected the number of projected deaths (by Aug.4).

Boiled frogs: Everybody initially bought in for 15 days.  Then, it was extended to 45 days … then to who-knows-how-long depending on each governor’s whims.  That’s not what everybody signed up for.

Punishing the whole class: The whole class doesn’t want to miss recess because Little Johnny got caught throwing spitballs.  How does staying home in Fargo help put out the blazing inferno in New York city?

Pain and gain: At the onset, nobody mentioned “You’ll probably get lain off (maybe indefinitely) and the entire economy will crater.”  My bet: that might have dampened enthusiasm.

The long tunnel: Implicitly, most folks assumed that this “thing” would be over” by the summer summer.  The show just keeps dragging on… and the light at the end of the tunnel seems to some to be flickering or dimming.

Reality bites: Back to Dr. Gottleibs point: “The halt hasn’t brought the number of new cases and deaths down as much as expected or stopped the epidemic from expanding.”

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We’ll explore that last point more fully in tomorrow’s post:  Does “flattening the curve” really save lives?

One Response to “Gottleib: “We thought we’d be in a better place by now””

  1. Our slant on last week’s COVID-19 news | The Homa Files Says:

    […] Gottleib: “We thought we’d be in a better place by now” More deaths than expected … daily deaths on a plateau. […]

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