“I’m sorry folks, but this emperor ain’t wearing any clothes…and someone needs to tell him! The one reliable thing you can take away from the Murphy administration’s predictions…is that they really suck at making predictions!” said O’Scanlon, “One must ask…what is the purpose of New Jersey’s predictions, which are almost always more dire and much less accurate than national modeling, other than to scare people into complying with directives and restrictions? Sacrificing credibility to facilitate compliance is not a good long-term tradeoff. On the flip side, if this isn’t intentional, then they’re just really bad at this. Either way they should just stop and rely on the federal predictions because this is counterproductive. Government credibility is vital in times when you legitimately need public buy-in. The Murphy administration setting fire to that credibility could have dire repercussions.”
At a January 10th covid briefing the Health Commissioner (who needs no introduction, just look for the one making the soon-to-not-come-true doomsday predictions) stated that the administration expected cases to stay at 20-30,000 daily through the end of January. And hospitalizations to grow from 6,000 that day “to reach about 8,000 probably by end of the third week in January, going into the first week in February.”
“What happened? Cases today are 1/4 of the prediction, 6,000 as opposed to 25,000, and hospitalizations not only didn’t go up, but went down every day except two since her dire prediction – which would have swamped our facilities,” O’Scanlon continued. “Today, hospitalizations stand at under 4,000 and consistently trending lower. That’s under 50% off of the administration’s potentially panic-inducing dire prediction!”
In the same briefing the Governor and Commissioner both acknowledged that national modeling showed a completely different scenario; one that ultimately appears to have been accurate.
“As if being inaccurate weren’t enough, the administration pairs it with opacity and inaccessibility, a hat trick of credibility-crushing messaging!This administration has a well-documented history of being willfully evasive when it comes to data transparency and has overtly opposed any attempt at reinstating open records requirements, hiding behind the pandemic as their excuse.”
O’Scanlon and others have called out the administration since the beginning of the pandemic for exploiting misinterpretations of the Emergency Health Powers Act, and other state statutes designed to facilitate government response during the emergent nature of the pandemic, to refuse data sharing with the public.
“The small amount of daily data available to the public is not easy to navigate or interpret. It is virtually impossible to access metrics that lead to the administration’s frequently widely erroneous projections and the needlessly damaging policies based on them.” said O’Scanlon.
“Public trust in government is a tragic joke at almost every level. This is because of the recklessness, incompetence, or misunderstanding of mission that all seem to be playing roles in this administration. If government credibility didn’t matter this might be funny. But it does matter; immensely. The erosion of credibility delegitimizes government itself and is a fundamental threat to effectiveness. We should all collectively be working to instill greater trust, transparency, and credibility—not continue to decimate it. Especially, we now know, within the realm of protecting public health and getting public buy-in for policies and rules.”
“That they should continue, with a straight face, to make predictions with any sense of confidence should itself disqualify them from setting policy based on those predictions.”
“The Murphy administration has shattered their credibility and public confidence. They need to just stop this. It is extraordinarily counterproductive and ultimately, dangerous. Stop wasting resources making these useless, in-house predictions. Leave that work to federal entities that have a much better track record.”