Covid-19 Resources for Research and Teaching: Models and Forecasts

MIDAS – Online Portal for COVID-19 Modeling Research (link)

U.K.  Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) Modelling
Summary (2018 report, link) (advisory subcommittee)

Public Health Agency of Canada, 2020. COVID-19 in Canada: Using data and modelling to inform public health action: Technical Briefing for Canadians, 9 April (PDF).

Begley, S. 2020. Influential Covid-19 model uses flawed methods and shouldn’t guide U.S. policies, critics say, Stat, 17 April.

Bender, M. and R. Ballhaus, 2020. Trump’s Coronavirus Focus Shifts to Reopening Economy, Defending His Response, The Washington Post, 17 April.

Wan, W. and C. Johnson, 2020. America’s most influential coronavirus model just revised its estimates downward. But not every model agrees. The Washington Post, 8 April.

Wan, W. 2020. Experts and Trump’s advisers doubt White House’s 240,000 coronavirus deaths estimate, The Washington Post, 2 April.

Koerth et al. 2020. Why It’s So Freaking Hard To Make A Good COVID-19 Model, FiveThirtyEight, 31 March.

Wan, W. and A. Blake, 2020. Coronavirus modelers factor in new public health risk: Accusations their work is a hoax, The Washington Post, 27 March.

IHME Covid-19 Projections (link) based on: IHME COVID-19 health service utilization forecasting team. Forecasting COVID-19 impact on hospital bed-days, ICU-days, ventilator days and deaths by US state in the next 4 months. MedRxiv. 26 March 2020.

Enserink, M. and K. Kupferschmidt, 2020. Mathematics of life and death: How disease models shape national shutdowns and other pandemic policies, Science, 25 March.

Rivers, C. et al. 2020. Modernizing and Expanding Outbreak Science to Support Better Decision Making During Public Health Crises: Lessons for COVID-19 and Beyond, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, 24 March. (PDF).

Rivers, C., Chretien, J.P., Riley, S., Pavlin, J.A., Woodward, A., Brett-Major, D., Berry, I.M., Morton, L., Jarman, R.G., Biggerstaff, M. and Johansson, M.A., 2019. Using “outbreak science” to strengthen the use of models during epidemicsNature communications10(1), pp.1-3.

Chowell, G., Sattenspiel, L., Bansal, S., & Viboud, C. (2016). Mathematical models to characterize early epidemic growth: A reviewPhysics of life reviews18, 66-97.

Glasser, J. W., Hupert, N., McCauley, M. M., & Hatchett, R. (2011). Modeling and public health emergency responses: Lessons from SARSEpidemics3(1), 32-37.

Fealty Trumps Truth


The figure above shows published estimates of “R naught” (or R0) a measure of the contagiousness of coronavirus (from Liu et al. 2020, published 13 Feb). The figure shows that 13 different estimates of R0 were published during the month of January 2020, and these estimates ranged from ~2 to >6, indicating that coronavirus was highly contagious.

Thus, when Dr. Deborah Birx said today that “it wasn’t until the beginning of March that we could all fully see how contagious this virus was” she is either lying or revealing complete incompetence. Strong words, yes, but there is no other choice. Dr. Birx is a political appointee by Donald Trump and it appears that fealty trumps truth.

See the comments of Dr. Birx below.

Did the Trump Administration Delay the WHO Emergency Declaration?


Yesterday in the White House Rose Garden, President Trump announced that the U.S. government would be suspending payments to the World Health Organization. Among the president’s complaints was this: “The delays the WHO experienced in declaring a public health emergency caused valuable time, tremendous amounts of time.”

Here I take a look at this claim, and conclude that the United States government either contributed to the delay in the WHO emergency declaration or the US government outsourced its decision to the WHO to declare a domestic emergency declaration — which occurred only after the WHO eventually declared a global emergency.

Let’s look at the facts.

Continue reading “Did the Trump Administration Delay the WHO Emergency Declaration?”

Eight Weeks Behind: Clarifying the Early U.S. Coronavirus Testing Failure


Bottom line: It is normal for the US government to develop its own disease testing under CDC. Experts in CDC are typically very good at it. But in the case of coronavirus, the US government developed a flawed test, creating lengthy delays in testing and in parallel left obstacles in place that would have shortened the delay. Meanwhile, U.S. government officials have repeatedly misled the public and policy makers. In total, more than 8 weeks were lost due to policy failure. This post explains and documents this remarkable policy failure.

Continue reading “Eight Weeks Behind: Clarifying the Early U.S. Coronavirus Testing Failure”

Covid-19 Resources for Research and Teaching: Pielke Analysis and Commentary

Podcast: COVID Knowledge, Technology, and Politics: Dispatches from Around the World (20 April)

Pielke, Jr. R. 2020. Fealty Trumps Truth, 19 April.

Pielke, Jr., R. 2020. Did the Trump Administration Delay the WHO Emergency Declaration? 15 April.

Pielke, Jr. R. 2020. Eight Weeks Behind: Clarifying the Early U.S. Coronavirus Testing Failure, 13 April.

Pielke, Jr., R. 2020. Why Isn’t the White House Using the Nation’s Pandemic Experts? Slate, 10 April.