Monday, June 8, 2009

Models’ Projections for Flu Miss Mark by Wide Margin

Models’ Projections for Flu Miss Mark by Wide Margin

At the height of the swine flu panic in April, two supercomputer teams constructed models the projected a mere 2,500 cases of swine flu in the US by the end of May. The CDC currently predicts that there are over 100,000 cases in the country, despite the fact that fewer than 7,500 have been confirmed.

The two companies have not yet updated their estimates, although other experts suspect that at the height of an epidemic, numbers could double in a matter of days.

The team from Northwestern University attributes the miscalculation to plugging in a number that was far too low at the beginning of the process, as well as the unexpected cases that were brought back to New York from spring breaks in Cancun.

Indiana's team claimed that they were misquoted, or had misunderstood the question when giving their answer, and stated that the first model had predicted 9,500 cases by the end of May.

Experts at this point seem to agree that a sophisticated model is no longer needed, as the flu will likely grow exponentially in the following months.

Elaine Su

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