Analyst Discovers a Major Flaw in IHME Model Used by White House; Actual Numbers Are a Fraction of Expected

Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, joined by Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, left, and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, delivers his remarks at a coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Friday, March 27, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)



Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist, took a serious look at the IHME (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation) Coronavirus model and called it “garbage.” Davis makes his case through a series of tweets (below).

Davis found that the actual numbers of hospitalizations on April 1 were a fraction of the numbers projected by the IHME model. The problem with the model, he discovered, is that it uses New York and New Jersey data and applies it to the rest of the states.

The actual numbers range from a low of 9% in Tennessee of the projection to a high of 50% in Virginia. Here are some examples:

The model projected that over 121,000 people would be hospitalized in the country yesterday. The actual number was 31,142. (25.7%)

Texas: Projection – 1,716; Actual – 196 (11.4%)

Georgia: Projection – 2,777; Actual – 952 (34.3%)

Virginia: Projection – 607; Actual – 305 (50%)

Tennessee: Projection –  2,214; Actual number – 200 (9%)

New York: Projection –  50,962;  Actual number – 18,368 (36%)

Davis writes that if we’re going to shut down the entire nation’s economy to “flatten the curve” based on the projections of a single model, it shouldn’t be too much to ask that the model approximate reality when it comes to hospitalizations.


All projection data can be found here.

All historical hospitalization data can be found here.


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