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Ashish "The pandemic is still with us" Jha+ Your Authors @ashishkjha Physician, researcher, and advocate for the notion that an ounce of data is worth a thousand pounds of opinion. Director @harvardgh. Soon, Dean @Brown_SPH Jul. 16, 2020 1 min read + Your Authors

One month ago today, @VP wrote this in @WSJopinion

I had a different take then -- but he is head of the nation's COVID taskforce. So I wondered if he was seeing something I wasn't

Not only has Op-Ed turned out wrong

It was predictably so


After reading it then, remember being baffled

Put a flag in my calendar to return to it

Since the op-ed
Number of cases tripled
Number of hospitalizations way up
In hot spot states, mortality has spiked

Ah, but who could have seen this coming? Predictions are hard you say


Its true we've all gotten predictions wrong

But predicting this wasn't hard

If we go back, look at data available on 6/15 (day before op-ed), what would we have seen?

Arizona 6/15 (vs 6/1):

percent of tests positive had doubled
hospitalizations up 45%
deaths were up 32%


Texas 6/15 (vs 6/1)?

% tests positives up from 5% to 7% (big deal for a big state like TX)

Hospitalizations were up 30%
Deaths were creeping up (1.3%)

In fact, hospitalizations were up across south including AR, SC, NC, MS, TN. FL didn’t report hospitalization numbers.


Bottom line:

This is not the benefit of hindsight.

All of us have gotten predictions wrong

The signs of a major outbreaks across south were there – in front of us – blinking brightly -- in the daily data


If @VP were some random politician and had misread the data, we could blow this off.

But he is head of our nation’s COVID task force

And we need those leading our response to read the data correctly.

And we need them to level with the American people


You can follow @ashishkjha.


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