About a month or so ago, I wondered – why is the Minnesota Department of Health treating its “model” like the plans for a nuclear submarine?
Before Friday, March 20, Marina Kirkeide was a part-time research assistant at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health (SPH), working on human papillomavirus transmission for associate professor Shalini Kulasingam. On a gap year before starting medical school at the University in fall 2020, the College of Science and Engineering alumna also had a second job as a lab tech at St. Paul’s Regions Hospital.
That Friday, Kulasingam called her and two other research assistants to ask if anyone could “work through the day and night” to get a COVID-19 model to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz the following Monday. They all jumped at the chance.
“I don’t think a lot of researchers get to work on something over the weekend and have public figures talk about it and make decisions based on it three days later,” said Kirkeide, a four-year recipient of the Patrick F. Flynn Scholarship.
Oddly, no grad students in economics seem to have been similarly engaged.
Personally I’m less concerned that it was produced by grad students in a weekend.
I’m more concerned by who reviewed it, how, and via what standard. Because science is about questioning hypotheses. Who questioned this model? How?
More than that? I want to know why the Walz Administration treated this model like a state military secret for the past two months.