WASHINGTON, DC — Several House Republicans are challenging the modeling being used by scientists to track the coronavirus. With health, safety and livelihoods at risk, they say Congress needs to hold a hearing to examine conflicting data.
In a recent letter to House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, seven Republicans call into question the coronavirus scientific models they say are producing inconsistent data leading to a profoundly negative impact on the American economy.
“We just want to make sure that we are using the correct modeling. I guess we were prepared for a worst-case scenario. If you go back to the updates that members of Congress were getting from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention two or three weeks ago, their projected number of mortalities were significantly higher than what we have seen thus far,” said Rep. James Comer of Tompkinsville, Kentucky.
Comer, who signed onto the letter, says the two modeling platforms being used by federal officials come from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and the Imperial College of London. He fears they don’t seem to account for real-world behavioral changes like the dramatic implementation of social distancing.
“Thankfully and luckily and it may be as a result of our social distancing and things like that but this hasn’t risen anywhere near the number of deaths that we were being told were probable from the models we’ve been using,” he said.
The IMHE acknowledges as data continues to come in, their estimates may change. The Imperial College of London is confident in their projections as well. They maintain absent interventions, COVID-19 would have resulted in 7 billion infections and 40 million deaths globally this year.
“We expect the epidemic to continue with increased bed days, ICU bed days right through to the end of May. Judging by our criteria of less than ten deaths a day, that the epidemic in the US will be meeting that criteria of ending by the first week of June. That, of course, doesn’t mean that there may not be a return of COVID-19 in the fall in a second wave,” said IMHE Director Dr. Christopher Murray on a video posted to the IMHE website.
Comer is calling for a public hearing to discuss this issue of modeling even if it is held virtually.