As we have often noted, uncertainty rules when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic. There is simply no consensus as to the virus itself … nor is there consensus regarding the number of people it has infected and killed. Also, there is no consensus regarding how best to respond to it … or prepare for its second wave.
Absent facts, panic has dictated decision-making … and ideological tribalism has dictated the popular response to those decisions.
One of the problems? The numbers we do have are all over the map.
Take the modeling published by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle, Washington. IHME data originally called for nearly 1,100 South Carolinians to die from the virus – however these projections have since been been amended multiple times.
At one pint, IHME was projecting only 217 coronavirus-related fatalities – which would be consistent with the fatality rate from a normal flu season.
Where do these projections currently stand?
The latest data from the institute suggests 353 South Carolinians will die from the virus – although the upper end of its modeling calls for as many as 841 deaths.
Take a look …
(Click to view)
According to the latest data from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), a total of 177 South Carolinians have already died as a result of the virus.
Assuming the IHME data is reliable, another 176 South Carolinians will die during the first wave of the virus between now and June 7, 2020. That is an average of 4.4 deaths per day, although IHME expects the number to decline from nine deaths per day to zero by the first week of June.
IHME originally projected the peak of the virus to hit in late April, but it has since revised those calculations – with the latest data indicating that the peak passed the Palmetto State on April 22, 2020.
Do we trust these numbers?
Given previous fluctuations, it is easy to see why IHME projections have been criticized. It is also easy to see why draconian lockdown orders issued on the basis of these projections have also been criticized – particularly given the limited health care efficacy associated with these edicts.
Also, given South Carolina’s ongoing limitations when it comes to testing, we could be dealing with a “garbage in, garbage out” situation … in which predictive modeling is hamstrung by incomplete data.
As we have said all along, “widespread, accurate and comprehensive” testing for coronavirus antibodies is necessary in order to determine the extent to which the virus has already impacted our citizenry – and the extent to which precautions must be taken in anticipation of its second wave.
Clearly, though, these precautions cannot involve the wholesale shuttering of broad swaths of our economy … in fact, we believe it is time to reopen the state for business while our leaders (hopefully) obtain reliable data to better prepare them for the second wave of the virus hitting sometime in the fall or winter.
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