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Mon Mar 30, 2020, 07:48 AM

Richard A. Epstein behind the The Contrarian Coronavirus Theory That Informed the Trump Admin.

Yet another Libertarian.

The Contrarian Coronavirus Theory That Informed the Trump Administration

President Trump, who at one point called the coronavirus pandemic an “invisible enemy” and said it made him a “wartime President,” has in recent days questioned its seriousness, tweeting, “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF.” Trump said repeatedly that he wanted the country to reopen by Easter, April 12th, contradicting the advice of most health officials. (On Sunday, he backed down and extended federal social-distancing guidelines for at least another month.) According to the Washington Post, “Conservatives close to Trump and numerous administration officials have been circulating an article by Richard A. Epstein of the Hoover Institution, titled ‘Coronavirus Perspective,’ which plays down the extent of the spread and the threat.”

Epstein, a professor at New York University School of Law, published the article on the Web site of the Hoover Institution, on March 16th. In it, he questioned the World Health Organization’s decision to declare the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, said that “public officials have gone overboard,” and suggested that about five hundred people would die from covid-19 in the U.S. Epstein later updated his estimate to five thousand, saying that the previous number had been an error. So far, there have been more than two thousand coronavirus-related fatalities in America; epidemiologists’ projections of the total deaths range widely, depending on the success of social distancing and the availability of medical resources, but they tend to be much higher than Epstein’s. (On Sunday, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, estimated that there could be between a hundred thousand and two hundred thousand deaths in the U.S.) In a follow-up article, published on March 23rd and titled “Coronavirus Overreaction,” Epstein wrote, “Progressives think they can run everyone’s lives through central planning, but the state of the economy suggests otherwise. Looking at the costs, the public commands have led to a crash in the stock market, and may only save a small fraction of the lives that are at risk.”

SNIP

You wrote last week, “In the United States, if the total death toll increases at about the same rate, the current 67 deaths should translate into about 500 deaths at the end.” We are currently at eight hundred deaths—over eight hundred deaths. [This was true when we spoke; the number is now over two thousand.]

First of all, let me just say I wrote an amendment to that, the thing I regret most in that whole paper. But I was not so much interested in explaining why my number was right. I was interested in explaining why the other projections were wrong.

O.K., but your number was surpassed in about a week, and now we’re already—

I understand that, but the point about that is that, first of all, there was a simple stupid error, which is you would never want to put it in a model that total deaths in the United States relative to the world would be one per cent. So if you just inflated it to five per cent or ten per cent, then all of a sudden you’ve got a number which is either five or ten times as high.

Secondly, suppose I should have been wiser in this and said, as I referred to the flu vaccine and later on to the H1N1 situation, if those are your benchmarks, then the number goes up to say between fifteen thousand and forty thousand deaths, as opposed to the one million-plus that are projected. [The Times model projected, without interventions by governments or citizens, a million deaths in the U.S.; with such interventions, the model showed that number dramatically decreasing.] And, remember, the one million-plus is on a model which is universal and worldwide, and you should expect to see something like that somewhere else. And there’s no evidence whatsoever that any of the situations, even in Italy, is going to approach the kinds of numbers that you had there. And so I am truly sorry about that [five hundred] number. I regard it as the single worst public-relations gaffe I’ve made in my entire life. But the question to ask, Isaac, is not whether I chose the right number but whether I had the right model.


"A simple stupid error"

Lots more at

https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-contrarian-coronavirus-theory-that-informed-the-trump-administration

35 replies, 4671 views

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Arrow 35 replies Author Time Post
Reply Richard A. Epstein behind the The Contrarian Coronavirus Theory That Informed the Trump Admin. (Original post)
OnDoutside Mar 2020 OP
The Magistrate Mar 2020 #1
JHB Mar 2020 #2
Botany Mar 2020 #3
JHB Mar 2020 #9
GusBob Mar 2020 #4
malaise Mar 2020 #5
bucolic_frolic Mar 2020 #12
dalton99a Mar 2020 #13
malaise Mar 2020 #15
groundloop Mar 2020 #16
malaise Mar 2020 #24
jrthin Mar 2020 #18
scrabblequeen40 Mar 2020 #6
dalton99a Mar 2020 #14
gibraltar72 Mar 2020 #7
superpatriotman Mar 2020 #8
Bernardo de La Paz Mar 2020 #10
dalton99a Mar 2020 #11
Botany Mar 2020 #26
True Blue American Mar 2020 #31
Botany Mar 2020 #33
True Blue American Mar 2020 #35
paleotn Mar 2020 #17
malaise Mar 2020 #19
Hugin Mar 2020 #21
Hugin Mar 2020 #20
LiberalFighter Mar 2020 #22
ancianita Mar 2020 #23
bucolic_frolic Mar 2020 #25
Lonestarblue Mar 2020 #27
Laelth Mar 2020 #28
muriel_volestrangler Mar 2020 #34
localroger Mar 2020 #29
True Blue American Mar 2020 #30
greatauntoftriplets Mar 2020 #32

Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 07:51 AM

1. Jesus Wept, Sir

"What a nimrod! What a ultra-maroon!"

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 08:17 AM

2. "The question to ask... [is] whether I had the right model"

Considering that we're already halfway to your revised number, it's pretty clear the answer is "no".

Perhaps you should examine the false assumptions that went into your model. Why should we assume that was any better than your proofreading?

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Response to JHB (Reply #2)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 08:40 AM

3. The problem with his "right model" is that he picked the outcome he wanted and then built a model...

... that gave him his desired outcome. In science you look at known and proven facts and or
data and then and then plug those into a viable model which depending on the quality of the
facts, data, and model you can predict an outcome.

Besides he is a right wing lawyer not an epidemiologist, a biologist, or a Dr..

This is no difference to Trump lashing onto using a medicine for malaria for C-19 which was
pushed on some wing nut web site.

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Response to Botany (Reply #3)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:13 AM

9. That's been true since the 70s...

"Model" = line of BS dressed up with carefully selected verbiage and/or numbers.

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 08:41 AM

4. Public relations gaffe lol

Sick man

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 08:47 AM

5. Serious question

When did a law professor become an expert on a public health pandemic?

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Response to malaise (Reply #5)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:18 AM

12. Ain't that the truth /nt

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Response to malaise (Reply #5)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:20 AM

13. Epstein knows more about medicine than doctors because he went to law school



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Response to dalton99a (Reply #13)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:22 AM

15. What a fucking idiot

He should be fired from NYU for spreading dangerous lies about a pandemic.
Folks should petition NYU. If Fux can be sued so can this asshole.

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Response to malaise (Reply #5)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:35 AM

16. That's the problem with this administration, refusal to believe true experts.....

and instead taking advise that's more to their liking from self declared experts. This is just like the morons on fox news* who talk about climate change not being as bad as everyone says and citing opinions from an 'expert' whose background is economics. They just can't bother to be inconvenienced by truth and the opinions of real experts.

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Response to groundloop (Reply #16)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:56 AM

24. How will it look best for Don the murderous Con

That's the only thing that matters

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Response to malaise (Reply #5)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:43 AM

18. Good question!

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 08:58 AM

6. Godspeed Karma....eom

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Response to scrabblequeen40 (Reply #6)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:20 AM

14. +1

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:05 AM

7. Cool tactic just keep moving the decimal point.

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:08 AM

8. They can explain away everything

Best to show them as unreliable and unqualified and follow the science.

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:17 AM

10. Damn "educated" people don't understand the simplest thing about "exponential growth". They


They think "exponential" simply means "big" or "fast", partly because the stupid media use it that way too.

But if a LAWYER is going to expound on epidemics they need to understand the most basic thing about disease spread. Exponential is not additive or multiplicative. It is a power function.

Doubling every three days does not mean 4x after 6, then 6x after 9, 8x after 12, 10x after 15, and 12x after 18. No.

It means 4x after 6, 8x after 9, 16x after 12, 32x after 15, and 64x after 18.

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:18 AM

11. So this fucking legal scholar Richard Epstein pretended to be a medical doctor and an epidemiologist



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Response to dalton99a (Reply #11)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 10:10 AM

26. "Richard Epstein pretended to be a medical doctor and an epidemiologist" and so has Trump.

Trump on Coronavirus: "I'm Not Sure Anybody Even Knows What It Is"; "You Can Call It A Germ,
You Can Call It A Flu"

BTW from years ago @ Ohio U I had a microbiology prof who always said, "There is no such
thing as a germ. We have viruses, bacteria, fungi, microbes, and so on but we have no germs."

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Response to Botany (Reply #26)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 10:32 AM

31. Ohio U?

My Grandson is now taking his classes in his bedroom there!

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Response to True Blue American (Reply #31)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 10:41 AM

33. I kind of remember my time there

n/t

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Response to Botany (Reply #33)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 02:07 PM

35. That is what my Son says about his College Days!

Me, I remember,I was middle aged!

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:36 AM

17. That's what happens when lawyers step out of their lane

They get run over. Another case of the death of expertise.

Hey, Ineptstein. Stick to the law an leave the science of epidemiology to those who've spent like most of their freaking lives studying the subject. Fucking idiot.

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Response to paleotn (Reply #17)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:44 AM

19. Ineptstein

Perfect

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Response to paleotn (Reply #17)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:49 AM

21. +1

Thanks for saying what I was thinking.

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:48 AM

20. So, a lawyer is giving public health medical advice?

Shades of Dr. Strangelove.

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:50 AM

22. And this guy came out of Brooklyn?

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Response to LiberalFighter (Reply #22)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:55 AM

23. Even SCIENTISTS won't predict planetary dynamics like this more than ten days out.

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 09:58 AM

25. S'ok, Prof., it created a great market short /nt

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 10:20 AM

27. Not "simple stupid error"--simple stupid person.

Over the past three years, I’ve watched as Trump lurched from one idea to another, often contradicting his own ideas. At one point, I believed that he had early onset dementia, following in his father's footsteps. I now think that his public appearances where he has slurred his words or been unable to recall precise words are related to the excess of drugs he takes to give him enough energy to get through a day. His inability to correctly pronounce words when reading from a teleprompter may well be vision problems as he is too vain to wear glasses and may not be adaptable for contacts.

Those thoughts leave me with one conclusion. We cannot blame his inhumanity and his deliberate cruelty on dementia. Donald Trump’s personality and his total lack of concern for anyone but Trump are to blame for how he behaves here and on the world stage. I’m sure he believes that any number of deaths are just the price to be paid for his re-election.

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 10:22 AM

28. The question is whether a LAWYER should be making predictions at all.

Shouldn’t such things be left to doctors and epidemiologists?



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #28)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 11:17 AM

34. The amazing thing is he ends up shouting down the journalist about expertise

as if he has it (journalist in bold):

I know, but these are scientific issues here.

You know nothing about the subject but are so confident that you’re going to say that I’m a crackpot.

No. Richard—

That’s what you’re saying, isn’t it? That’s what you’re saying?

I’m not saying anything of the sort.

Admit to it. You’re saying I’m a crackpot.

I’m not saying anything of the—

Well, what am I then? I’m an amateur? You’re the great scholar on this?

No, no. I’m not a great scholar on this.

Tell me what you think about the quality of the work!

O.K. I’m going to tell you. I think the fact that I am not a great scholar on this and I’m able to find these flaws or these holes in what you wrote is a sign that maybe you should’ve thought harder before writing it.

What it shows is that you are a complete intellectual amateur. Period.

O.K. Can I ask you one more question?

You just don’t know anything about anything. You’re a journalist. Would you like to compare your résumé to mine?

No, actually, I would not.

Then good. Then maybe what you want to do is to say, “Gee, I’m not quite sure that this is right. I’m going to check with somebody else.” But, you want to come at me hard, I am going to come back harder at you. And then if I can’t jam my fingers down your throat, then I am not worth it. But you have basically gone over the line. If you want to ask questions, ask questions. I put forward a model. But a little bit of respect.

The journalist, in addition to the holes he has already found in the article, got actual experts to look over the interview, and they said Epstein is full of shit. Notice that, like Trump, this idiot thinks that he's due "respect", and that pointing out his errors is disrespectful.

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 10:23 AM

29. "if the total death toll increases at about the same rate..."

Which is exactly not what exponential growth does, you ignorant fuck

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 10:28 AM

30. Meanwhile

Valuable time was lost, thanks to this and the help will not be enough to avoid a recession!

https://americanindependent.com/donald-trump-coronavirus-economy-2020-election-stimulus-package-congress-covid-19/

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 10:32 AM

32. OMG, according to Wikipedia, he's a "fan" of Calvin Coolidge.

I wonder if he's also anti-vaxx.

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