I post all the time about the wretched state of the climate databases. Once again, political motivation is the almost certainly present.
Without good data, your predictions for the future are junk. And so to the Corona virus. We simply don't have any idea of what's going on, or how bad it is. Consider:
- All of the data out of China is untrustworthy. The Chinese Communist Party plays their cards very close to the vest, and information is always massaged prior to release.
- Data from the CDC is wrong on a whole number of angles, but most egregious were protocols to track potential infected people ignoring people who hadn't been in China. Since the virus can incubate non-symptomatically for a month, it could spread to or from people who were not recently in China.
- The CDC completely screwed the pooch on Test Kits. By keeping control of the creation and manufacture (and screwing that up, too), there were only a few hundred when other countries were making thousands or millions. Use of a test kit is a major data component of the overall statistics, and what we know from the use of these kits tells us nothing about how many people are infected.
- Reported death rates vary from a high of 3-4% to 1% to a low of 0.1%. Sure, we know the death count with some level of reliability, but since we don't have any idea about how many people contracted the virus, there's no good way to predict how bad (or less bad) things might be.
Like with climate science or firearms research, if the data are bad your public policy will be bad. Now look at politics - governments are strongly motivated to push a story they find useful for their purposes. Mass quarantine is useful for establishing control, and an atmosphere of emergency is, too. A healthy skepticism of anything you hear from the Organs Of The State is A Good Thing®.
So what's going on? Beats the heck out of me. But I simply don't think that the data are reliable enough to support any conclusions about how bad things are. We'll know a lot more in 60 days.
In the meantime, wash your hands and stop touching your face. Have some food stores in case the government decides that a quarantine is convenient to their long term goals of gathering more power to themselves.