Ask Dr. Erica Pan this question (Reddit Coronavirus AMA)

Dr. Erica Pan of the California Department of Public Health [1] did a Reddit AMA today [2] but didn't answer a tough question I posted for her. She did, however, get lots of weak questions and responded with a few weak answers [3].

If you realize how vital it is that policy makers are asked tough questions rather than fluff questions, go to one of her public appearances and ask her the question I posted:

My question is about the vax tiers.

Those 65 and older were included in the first tier because they make up about 70% of the deaths.

However, those 50-64 - who are 20% of CA C19 deaths - were the last tier before it was opened up to everyone.

What's the science behind the decision to make millions of people at high ICU risk wait behind millions of people at lower ICU risk?

Are there any studies you can point to that would back up your decision?


To put it another way:

If you make 1 million people aged 18-29 wait 1 month for doses, a certain number of them will die waiting. Call that number "LOW".
Now, do the same calculation but with those aged 50-64. Call that number "HIGH".

Isn't "HIGH" higher than "LOW"?

(Note that those 50-64 are 20% of CA C19 deaths, while those 18-29 are 0.5% of CA C19 deaths.)

You'll frequently hear that young/healthy "essential workers" are at "high risk", but there are different risks. They're at high infection risk, but they're at low ICU/death risk.

Some also say the goal of vaxing young/healthy before seniors/high risk was to limit the "spread". Yet, now that we have doses, the real danger of the spread is who it's spread to. If it's spread to someone young/healthy, they might not even notice getting C19. If it's spread to a senior, they might die. Vaxing by ICU risk would make worries about the spread less of an issue.

Some also say it was OK to make seniors wait for doses because they can continue to take precautions. Yet, as the death stats show, many weren't.

You can ask the first part, or the second part. Reserve the "some say" parts for your follow up question, which should come back to her making an admission against interest, or at least obviously dodging the question. See the Question Authority page for the details on the plan to have leaders asked tough questions.

And, see the Covid19 page for more on that topic.

[1] Full title: "Dr. Erica Pan, California State Epidemiologist & Deputy Director, Center for Infectious Diseases."

[2] This was in the r/Coronavirus subreddit (reddit · com/r/Coronavirus/comments/n6gqal/hey_reddit_im_dr_erica_pan_ca_state). It appears to be an anti-science, pro-Lysenkoism echo chamber: my question is the only one with a negative vote tally. At one point it was -4; some voted it up and then others voted it down. It ended up with -1 votes. As it says in the intro: "As with other AMAs, I’ll look to the community to select which questions to answer through upvotes". Considering the highest voted comment was "I have no question, but would like to thank you for your work!", the way Reddit "Ask Me Anything" events choose questions points out how worthless popular voting systems are.

[3] As an example, "Do you think an annual COVID vaccine booster shot is on the horizon?" got 16 up votes and Dr. Pan's response was just as worthless: "I think there is a strong possibility, and I think vaccine manufacturers are actively looking at this and studying the need for this. If and how often we may need vaccine boosters are still under investigation, so stay tuned but great question!"