During a global pandemic, all kinds of people need to better understand the statistical models that help project what might happen and when.
Officials at every level of government, from City Hall to the White House, are using models to estimate how difficult the coronavirus pandemic will be — how many deaths we’ll see, whether medical needs will overwhelm hospitals and when the worst might strike. Models help inform decisions about whether people can attend school, go to work or visit businesses.
Today, from 12 to 1 p.m., Star Tribune news developer Michael Corey and data visuals editor C.J. Sinner will host an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit.
They'll be answering questions live throughout the hour. The two have been working alongside digital projects editor Matt DeLong to track the coronavirus’ spread in Minnesota and to explain the methodology behind COVID-19 epidemiological models that estimate death and transmission rates of the virus in the state.
Depending on the modeling method and assumptions built in, estimates can vary significantly — and they change and update as new data becomes available.
Minnesota is one of several states that has developed its own set of COVID-19 models. Version 3.0 of those models was released Wednesday by the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health.
Today, Sinner and Corey will dive into what the latest COVID-19 models project, how they have changed, and what we know about how their predictions compare with other models — and reality. They’re also open to questions about their reporting methods and anything else that comes to mind.
In March, the Star Tribune held its first "Ask Me Anything" live Q+A session with health care reporter Glenn Howatt as host. Howatt answered a couple dozen reader questions about coronavirus in Minnesota. See the answers here.
C.J. Sinner and Michael Corey contributed to this report.