We’ll Probably Never Know If The CDC’s Grim Ebola Forecast Was Accurate

This week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a startling report forecasting over $1.4 million cases of Ebola in Africa within the next four months without effective interventions. EPIBIO faculty member Dr. Andreas Handel commented on the report in a Sept. 25 article for FiveThirtyEight’s Data Lab column.

The CDC paper doesn’t include a measure of its own uncertainty, which Andreas Handel, an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health, would have liked to see. “I believe one should not attach too much weight to a single number that’s fairly far in the future,” Handel said in an email. “There is just too much uncertainty in these kinds of predictions, especially for a disease like Ebola where we still know relatively little.”

Read the entire article at FiveThiryEight.

Dr. Handel’s commentary was referenced in a Oct. 7 article in the Columbia Journalism Review titled “Don’t treat worst case scenarios as facts.” The article addressed the growing trend toward “hyperbolic reporting” by major media in news reports regarding how far Ebola “could” spread.

Read the entire article at the Columbia Journalism Review.

Posted October 7, 2014.