About the MN Model

OK, so I finally read the whole Star Tribune article about the MN COVID-19 model. Naturally I have things to blather on about.

1) As a recovering controls guy, I’d say the MN model — at least for the ICU beds as seen above, which is the only plot with enough resolution to look at in that article — has the wrong lag and/or damping factor built into their model for the current peak. If it applies (I’m not the only one who thinks it would, but you know, when you have a hammer…) it means the shape, height, and timing of the second peak is a bigger unknown than even they’re suggesting. (They also don’t explain how the phases of the model work, which may change my mind about the above.)

2) I’m fairly sick of this attitude: “We think it’s important to emphasize the consequences of not doing that.” So they don’t produce a more realistic model of what the government might do, they just try to scare everybody. I know that lefties can’t believe this, but putting accurate information out there will produce the best results. Scaring people will cause a kickback that might put that peak in play even if it shouldn’t be.

Sure, produce that graph and have Walz show it, but don’t keep working on the “we sheltered for a month, now god help you all” model.

3) The Washington model doesn’t assume MN is under deep isolation right now, although they’re talking about it as if it does. (My observation in my ~1/wk visits to work and other trips agrees. We’re not reducing anything outside working and school interactions by even 50%, at least not inside the 494/694 loop.)

4) I’m getting wafts of “big, nasty, complex model” off of the MN one, which throws off big alarm bells. At least they’re running it with many of their fudge factors varied.

5) Epidemiologists are annoyingly like engineers: “If you were to ask any epidemiologist what the most common response to any question is, they would say ‘it depends.'”