Doubt over doom claims

Stuff reports:

A Covid-19 modeller says the new official model predicting 7000 deaths with a 75 per cent vaccination rate doesn’t pass the plausibility test.

Covid-19 modeller Rodney Jones, who has also provided modelling and advice to the Government, said real-world experience in countries with reasonably high vaccination rates showed there was unlikely to be that many deaths and the Government “didn’t need to scare New Zealanders into getting vaccinated”.

The Government released the modelling from Te Pūnaha Matatini on Thursday showing how much various vaccination rates would protect New Zealand.

It suggested that even with a vaccination rate of 80 per cent of those aged 5 or over – 75 per cent of the whole country – New Zealand could still see close to 7000 deaths a year from Covid-19, and an over-loaded healthcare system.

Jones said this didn’t pass the “plausibility test” when compared to real-world results in other countries.

“That is 140 deaths a week. Singapore has had 11 deaths with just under 80 per cent vaccinated over the last month,” Jones said. (Singapore has a similar population to New Zealand.)

So the model says 550 people a month will die, while actual data from Singapore is 11 people a month are dying.

“If you’re going to use this model in this way it should be peer-reviewed by global experts.”

So the PM promoted a model that was not peer-reviewed. Why? To scare us all?

Jones said the country didn’t need to be scared into getting vaccinated with talk of high death tolls.

“We need a positive story. The evidence is that negative takes and the use of fear does not get people vaccinated,” Jones said.

I am 100% pro vaccination. I think we should use masses of carrots to get people vaccinated. But, I suspect like many, my first response to reading the claim of 7,000 deaths a year even at 80% vaccination rates was to get pissed off.

It’s a bit like the climate alarmists. I’ll respect people who say climate change is a serious problem and that sea levels may rise up to 80 cm by 2100. But when alarmists come along and start talking 600 cm rises, then I tune out. Alarmism backfires.

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