EDITORIAL

Modeling, post COVID-19

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Science  27 Nov 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6520, pp. 1015
DOI: 10.1126/science.abf7914

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  • RE: The whole strategy has to be extended now – beyond modeling
    • Walter Kofler, Public Health Specialist, Medial University of Innsbruck, Austria, and I.M. Sechenov Moscow State Medical University (Sechenov University), Moscow, Russia
    • Other Contributors:
      • Markus Nagl, Specialist for Hygiene and Medical Microbiology, Institute of Hygiene and Medical Microbiology of the Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria

    You call to integrate the knowledge of a variety of disciplines into the recommendations for the political decisions. This is not only a challenge for experimental epidemiological modeling (1). It would be indispensable now for the transition of the recent strategy to a real comprehensive one – even in the period without such a “post COVID-19- model”. It should be obvious: NO contact with SARS-CoV-2 – no COVID-19. This singular methodical approach with its different applications is handled now with the available models. But it is also clear: NO infection thanks sufficient defense – no COVID-19. This approach deals with the neglected demands you are calling for. But any strategy is not sufficiently effective if it is based just on the instruments to inhibit the contact with a relevant load of SARS-CoV-2. The fight against COVID-19 should not be lost because of insufficient measures.
    No single tool is ideal, neither to inhibit the contact with a relevant load of SARS-CoV-2 nor to substitute deficits in the unspecific innate defense system. The latter can reduce the indices of contagion and manifestation - the physiologically needed prerequisite to survive up to the availability of the acquired specific defense. So the tools of both branches have to be combined. An unbalanced strategy maintains the expectation of more and more relevant adverse effects as longer it is in use e.g. on the health care system, on economy, the education system, the peaceful living together wi...

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    Competing Interests: M. Nagl is co-inventor of a patent on the application of N-chlorotaurine for inhalation.
  • RE: Modeling Confusion to Clarity in a COVID-19 World

    The fascinating and informative editorial by two leading experts in science and technology should be read by any modeller in epidemiology, biostatistics, statistics, econometrics, and psychometrics, among many others, especially those whose research work can help to save lives during and after a pandemic such as COVID-19.

    Many models have predicted different waves of COVID-19 infections, some flat and others exponentiating, with a wide range of interpretations regarding flattening of the curve.

    Access to timely high frequency daily medical and hospitalization data, as well as the inclusion of such data in recursively estimated and predicted models, would lead to finely attuned empirical analysis and associated interpretations and public policy decision making by the US CDC and NSF, among other highly-respected medical and scientific institutes.

    It is not always clear who might be asymptomatic carriers and transmitters of the virus, long haul purportedly recovered patients, and reinfection rates, according to medical, healthcare, and socio-economic conditions, among other known unknowns.

    Epidemiological modeling and forecasting can be supported strongly by several other cognate technical disciplines, including mathematics, statistics, biostatistics, economics, econometrics, and computer science, that are concerned with specialized and robust models of event studies, policy interventions, and behavioural responses, using extremely large time serie...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: Modeling, post COVID-19
    • Juergen K.V. Reichardt, Adjunct Professor, Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine; James Cook University

    First, the arguments posited by Press and Levin are important and worthy of publication to inform public debate.
    Next, I will add parenthetically and by way of explanation that I lived for some 23 years in the US. I am truly grateful for the opportunities I have had. Frankly, watching the situation in the US from afar deteriorate in the last decade or more has been difficult and simply exasperating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    However and in conclusion, I feel compelled to point out that espousing partisan politics in a piece in Science by mentioning explicitly the name of a former president three times is at best unhelpful in the current climate or at any time for that matter. Clearly, non-divisive language could have been used. Neither the authors themselves, apparently accomplished scientists and science politicians, nor Science itself, a truly well-respected American publication with world-wide reach, should engage in potentially divisive politics, especially at a time when unity and working toward common goals are essential in the US specifically but also around the world.

    Competing Interests: None declared.

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