Bearer of Good Coronavirus News not welcome

This commentary in WSJ discusses experiences of Stanford data scientist John Ioannidis, whose wife Sespina Contopoulos-Ioannidis is an infection disease specialist, who has been attacked for his dissent about the theories behind the lockdowns and comments on what he describes as good news in the data.


John is one of the top statisicians and data scientists in the world, one of the world's 100 most-cited scientists and with over 1000 papers before the age of 55.


He is also behind the controversial Santa Clara county study that concluded "50 to 85 times" more people had COVID-19 than reported based on 3300 volunteers, and he uses to support the suggested 1/500 or so mortality rate.


Some of the points he has argued:

1. March report that Covid-19 is far less deadly than modelers were assuming.

2. The Imperial college estimate predicting >2.2 coronavirus deaths in US absent "any control measures" was a gross overestimate, and it is flawed thinking to assume that absent lockdowns we would have seen those levels.

3. Small inaccuracies or biases in models, especially growth projection models, can have huge implications in the model projections. This is what he believes happened with those models.

4. He acknowledges the well-discussed problems with the Santa Clara study, but still thinks based on the preponderance of evidence he sees those final numbers will prove true.

5. There is a mob mentality in the media that equates lockdowns to responsible management, and claims to be "following the science", but he doesn't believe they are the right approach.

6. He cautions about making conclusions about efficacy of lockdowns based on infection or mortality rates.

7. He thinks public health officials need to consider these factors as well as the collateral damage induced by the lockdowns in making policy.


Lots to chew on -- my own view is that we need to be careful since this virus is still really nasty and spreads like crazy, but agree that total lockdowns are overkill and overrated in how well they have worked. We need smarter, more targeted social distancing and other mitigation measures that don't cause so much harm.


And you gotta respect a person willing to swim upstream and argue an unpopular viewpoint when he thinks it's right.



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