Trust the process

Published 9:51 pm Tuesday, April 14, 2020

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It seems like different models about the COVID-19 pandemic all say something different.

Social distancing is working, or it’s not working, or it was never needed in the first place.

We’re flattening the curve, or we’re not flattening the curve.

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We can reopen the economy tomorrow, or we might never be back to normal.

Different universities, institutes and think tanks are coming out with their own models almost every day, it seems. Some are specific to certain areas or states; others are trying to capture the situation in the entire country or around the world.

Modeling is not an exact science, and the models depend on what data is given to them and what assumptions are made. Different data and different assumptions can lead to wildly different modeled outcomes.

It seems only one thing seems certain, and that’s that nothing is certain.

However, we tend to like the models that were revealed Monday by the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute and the nonprofit RAND Corporation. They’re specific to Virginia and take into account some things other models may not.

The models show that social distancing efforts made in Virginia beginning in mid-March have paused the growth of the COVID-19 pandemic. While there continue to be new cases, they said, the rate of new cases is holding steady rather than increasing.

The model also suggested that Virginia’s statewide hospital bed capacity will be sufficient in the near future, which is another positive sign.

However, the models showed, lifting social distancing restrictions too soon can quickly lead to a second wave of infections much worse than the first.

While the social distancing restrictions have been painful, it is at least encouraging to know they have not been done in vain. Everyone who is following the restrictions is helping to save lives.

We urge everyone to continue staying at home unless it’s absolutely necessary for you to go out for groceries or supplies, to work at an essential job or to care for your family members or others who need your support.

Remember, we’re all in this together — apart.