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April 22, 2020

COVID-19 Predictions and the NFL Draft (EP.224)

COVID-19 Predictions and the NFL Draft (EP.224)
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The National Football League has been around since 1936. Even after 84 years of in-depth college athlete drafting experience, players chosen with precious No. 1 picks can fail miserably, and others who were completely ignored in the selection process can wind up in the National Football League Hall of Fame.

What can we make of COVID predictions, predictions made with dramatically less confirmed data and shakier models than available prior to the annual NFL Draft?

Today’s Key point: What do we do with rapidly changing and often conflicting COVID prediction models? Because we must do something.

That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode. 


The National Football league is a multi-billion dollar business. The NFL draft is held each year, and is central to each team’s success–or failure. Scouts follow college players from their college Sophomore years (or earlier), have vast amounts of film on all the games played by each targeted player, and have copious amounts of detailed information from a group tryout called The Combine. Teams interview the players and their coaches. They get together for hours on many days to analyse the volumes of information at hand. Yet with these vast amounts of hard data, backed by decades of experience, the teams often get their predictions of who will succeed and who simply won’t make it quite wrong. Players chosen with precious No. 1 picks can fail miserably, and others completely ignored in the selection process are selected to join the NFL Hall of Fame.

Can we use COVID predictions models to make crucially important decisions about life and death for individuals, businesses and the economy? Unlike the vast amounts of confirmed information available in the NFL draft, there is currently very little reliable data, unproven prediction models, and models that can vary wildly in their predictions one from the other. Given the reality of the pandemic, we must do something–but what?

First and foremost, think about others; that should be our focus. No, this is not a “new normal”; focusing on others is the way things should always be–with or without a pandemic to prompt us. Let’s look at the various things we have been presented as helping to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus:

  • Face masks: The cloth ones. These masks should be worn by everyone who is in public and might come in contact with others. These masks do not protect us from the virus, but they are proven effective in stopping the possibly infected water droplets that come from us when we breathe, talk, cough or sneeze. Many people with the virus have no idea that they have it; being asymptomatic is no excuse for failing to wear a mask. And there is no constitutional right to infect others by not wearing a mask. And tell me about photos of protesters wanting to open the country back up–with not a single one wearing  a mask, and little in the way of social distancing.
  • Washing your hands well for 20 seconds at a time: This protects you and others you come in contact with.
  • Don’t hang around sick people. This obviously protects you; seems everyone agrees here.
  • Social distancing: Protects us and others. Even if we don’t care about ourselves, we have no right to endanger others.

Leadership in a pandemic: Competence matters more than celebrity. In today’s corona world, the last thing we need are political leaders who are playing to the crowd, treating COVID-19 as yet another opportunity to score points with their base, and to attack the opposition. The novel coronavirus is the opposition, and a deadly one at that. Leadership must focus there. And the imprecise and wobbly corona information we have in front of us further emphasizes the need for selfless leadership. And leadership includes the media. We need to hear the truth, see steady, honest hands on the various wheels and levers, and have a good feeling that we are in the right hands. Note to Trump, Pelosi, Schumer, Fox News, CNN etc.; yes, we are talking about you. Stand up straight, focus on us, and lead.

Common goals: This is a core Revolution 2.0™ theme. What is the common goal that we must have with the COVID crisis? Here’s a candidate: Keep the amount of serious sickness and deaths to a minimum while not doing significant, long term damage to the economy. And err on the side of saving lives; once-strong economies recover, rigor mortis is forever. N. B. The goal here has nothing to do with the Presidential election, scoring “points” on social media or making ourselves appear to be right at someone else’s expense. It is about–and it is about nothing else–getting the task in front of us done. I don’t want to hear about how we are 

“Alone together” or that we are “In this together” until we really are.

Question of the day: When can we open the country back up? Yes we need more data before we can make an informed decision–and who wants to make an uninformed decision on this life-and-death question? But at least for a while, when we do open things back up, as we must, there will be rules to follow. Are all of us–all of us–ready to follow the rules that will protect ourselves and others when we do start to re-open our economy and our society? Even today under “lockdown”, when I venture out to the grocery or the hardware store–examples of my rare excursions–I see about half of the people wearing masks and trying to stay 6’ apart, and the other half not caring about the half that is complying and taking care of them. And remember the photos of protesters sporting signs like “My freedom is essential” without a single one wearing a mask. 

Final thought: It is not about a mask, or even the novel coronavirus itself; it is about being yourBrother’s Keeper. Not just during a crisis. In our daily lives from beginning to end. Perhaps that should be the new normal.


As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me onTwitter,@willluden,Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, andLinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device throughApple,Google, orStitcher.

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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.