The Danger of Letting Lab Coats Run the World
It should be clear by now that most of the world's leaders were stampeded over the lockdown cliff like so many lemmings. What caused the stampede is even more remarkable: a tiny coterie of obscure, soft-spoken epidemiologists in white lab coats playing with numbers.
Americans trying to keep up with the torrid pace of new developments over the past few months have been hearing about that work - the data-modeling these people do by feeding selected data and a variety of assumptions into a computer. The computer then disgorges diagrams and charts that attempt to describe the future progress of diseases like COVID-19. The most frequently cited COVID-19 modelers are those at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington and similar organizations at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Imperial College in London.