Friday, January 8, 2021

Worst Think Tank Prediction of 2020?

What was the worst prediction from a think tank in 2020?  In a piece entitled "The Worst Predictions of 2020," Politico outlines a prediction made by Hudson Institution's Richard Epstein on March 16 and March 23:

Epstein, a noted constitutional scholar affiliated with the Hoover Institute, made a bold claim on March 16: Even as Covid cases were exploding in the United States, the virus would take the lives of just 500 Americans. His estimate, published at Hoover’s website, quickly won allies in Trump world, many of whom began circulating his numbers as a sign that coronavirus panic was overblown. But there was a problem with his numbers, as Epstein noted in updates a few days later: his estimate of 500 dead was 10 times too small; the more accurate projection was 5,000 dead Americans at most.

As of late-December, more than 333,000 Americans have died from Covid-19.


Epstein is the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at Hudson.  He is also the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at New York University Law School, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago.