We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Computer modelling for Covid-19 was FATALLY flawed. What if I told you that climate change models are EVEN WORSE?

26 265 560

Covid-19 has provoked an enormous debate about the virtues of computer modelling. The scary numbers published by Professor Neil Ferguson's team in mid-March had an enormous impact on the lockdown policy in the UK and were influential around the world.

Ferguson's team suggested 500,000 people could die in the UK without government intervention. Even the original policy of isolating possible cases and members of the same household, along with advice on handwashing, would have led to 250,000 deaths – or so the models claimed.

Now it seems increasingly clear that those results were an enormous exaggeration that left the UK in a lockdown that has proved difficult to escape from. Applying Ferguson's models to Sweden, which has avoided the extreme measures of other countries, is clear evidence of this. Sweden's death toll has been far lower than Ferguson's models predicted and has, like so many other countries, been substantially caused by a failure to protect care homes for the elderly rather than a failure to lock down society in general.

It would have been far better to appreciate the inevitable limitations of modelling. First, our knowledge of the problem itself – in this case, the virus and how it spreads – is always imperfect. Second, we never have enough data, so it will always be partial. Third, the model itself is always a very rough approximation of the real world, based on projections as to how people behave, the way the economy works, and much more.

Instead, the most frightening numbers take on a life of their own, encouraging politicians to act on the ‘reasonable’ worst-case scenario rather than the most probable ones.

We must learn........

© RT.com

Get it on Google Play