Omicron should inspire humility among experts.

Hopefully, an unanticipated silver lining to our society’s COVID-response overkill will be a return among the masses to healthy skepticism about experts.  We all operate by some unarticulated calculation — let’s call it an assessment of action function — then one variable should, yes, be the best available calculation of probability, but that variable has to be divided by some factor of doubt.

During COVID, we’ve given the keys of government to experts as if the doubt factor is nearly nonexistent and the best model available must be assumed to be accurate.  But then, there’s the Omicron variant:

The number of new positive cases of COVID-19 reported in South Africa has continued its downward trend despite increased testing, according to South African National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) data. …

“The Omicron outbreak in SA [South Africa] with its extraordinary fast rise, and apparently nearly equally fast fall, is one of the most mind-boggling things I’ve ever seen during my career as an infectious disease epidemiologist,” Balloux stated on Twitter. …

The current trend appears to vary from that projected by a pre-print study in the UK that sets out to model the effects of the Omicron variant in England.

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