Raimondo’s Phony Science and Games with Models, 6/29/20 Data


Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo claims that she makes her decisions based on facts and science, but her restrained move to Phase 3 COVID-19 reopening shows that to be a false pretense.  The governor had told people that Phase 3 would allow up to 150 people at indoor events and 250 outside.  Just in time to thwart spontaneous celebration of our nation’s independence, she’s now dropped that to 25 and 50, but absolutely nothing in Rhode Island’s data justifies the move.

In short, Raimondo is making decisions based on her gut and seeking to justify them with facts when she can.  That’s natural and very human, but it’s also an indication of why we don’t give humans the amount of power over each other that Raimondo has claimed for herself during this coronavirus ordeal.  While we may still be within a broadly defined crisis, in no sense is COVID-19 still an emergency.

New positive tests for the disease have been under 100 per day for 18 days.  The news media keeps saying there are 16,764 cases, but that is simply not factually true.  Almost everybody who catches this disease recovers, and if we assume an average 14-day illness, the number of “active” cases would only be around 700.

The number of people in intensive care with COVID-19 continues to shrink in Rhode Island, and that’s even though not all of them are in intensive care because of this virus.  Moreover, we’ve now gone 24 days without having 10 or more people die with the virus in a given day.  Probably more telling, given that the disease has mainly affected the elderly, we’ve now seen three weeks during which fewer than five people died while testing positive in the hospital.

In keeping with all of this, the number of people testing positive for the virus while admitted to the hospital is the lowest it’s been since March 27.  (Remember March 27?  Seems like ages ago.)  Additionally, as the following chart shows, the outlook continues to improve.  The red line shows the latest numbers and projections.  The darker gray/black lines are earlier days numbers and projections, and everything is trending in the right direction. By a lot.

In short, while it’s certainly possible, there’s no reason to think this trend is about to reverse, much less to think a reversal will come with such ferocity that we have no time to react.


(See here for my original methodology and here for a subsequent modification I made. A thorough explanation of the chart is included in this post.)

Projections versus actuals (date of report).

  • Cases:
    • Projection for 6/29: 16,764
    • Actual for 6/29: 16,764
    • Projection for 6/30: 16,803
  • Hospitalizations:
    • Projection for 6/29: 85
    • Actual for 6/29: 73
    • Projection for 6/30: 69
  • Deaths:
    • Projection for 6/29: 933
    • Actual for 6/26: 946
    • Projection for 6/30: 948

  • Mario

    It’s kind of odd to say that nothing in Rhode Island’s data justifies Raimondo’s approach when her approach is likely the exact reason why Rhode Island’s current situation looks nothing like that in states where they opened up much more quickly. We’re still on course to eradicate the infection, that’s the justification: it’s been proven to be successful.

    Undoing the containment policies is not how things return to normal. If you want things to go back to normal, you have to actually eliminate the virus. I don’t know how much more proof you need that a fast reopening, or failing to shutdown at all, would have been a disaster. Places that started to open before they achieved a decent containment, and/or without bothering to lay the groundwork to deal with new outbreaks, are seeing all new peaks now with no end in sight.

    • Justin Katz

      The point is that she’s changing her approach according to her gut, and she’s well outside both the law and the criteria she described. Rhode Island cannot on its own “eliminate” the virus.

    • The Misfit

      Raimondo has stayed in the same lane as other governors in the northeast. That’s a positive because the same message has been sent and reinforced. People in this region now have a reasonable expectation of a certain level of safety while travelling. That is important for this state that relies on tourism.
      I do not think this virus is going away. I think we are going to be dealing with it for years. I think in a few year’s time, our collective efforts now will be seen as inadequate. Mario, while I agree with you that it is the present efforts at containment that have reduced the risk, I think the Katz’s of the nation and the world represent a large group that have a big and powerful voice. That voice denies. It denies problems. It denies success when it is not in it’s interest. It denies climate change. It denies a virus.