By Silver Star Recipient Lt. Col. Scott Rutter
13 May 2020
President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
SUBJECT: DATA, NOT SCIENCE
Dear Mr. President:
As you are well aware, there has been a lot of controversy regarding the “reopening” of the states in our country. Just yesterday, Dr. Fauci warned of the danger of rushing too quickly. Others have demanded that we completely move forward with reopening. Opinion news support each of these positions with a myriad of experts. The problem is that the decision to reopen the country should not be based on science. That concept is a misnomer, like someone making a decision with horse blinders strapped to their face. Corporations, people, communities, hospitals and all entities don’t make decisions based on science. Instead, they make them based on data. From careful analysis of the data, we develop information that provides the roadmap to make sound decisions. This has been lost in the dissonance of politics and the emotional tragedy of COVID-19 both in loss of life and loss of economic prosperity.
With a few months already passed, the US has ample data. The US also has the most technologically based data scientists in the world. Some would claim that we are already using the data with the models created. Those models, though, are grossly generalized. The US has so much data about this situation that there could be models created for each state and within each state, by regions. While is it important to listen to doctors and epidemiologists and virologists about the symptoms and impact of this disease, the country needs to pivot hard to our data scientists. Somehow, Facebook can figure out exactly which advertisement I want to see on any given day, but we can’t develop a national effort to track and monitor this disease that is granular enough to allow leaders (not just scientists) to make informed, balanced decisions about the risks and rewards of reopening and how to do it best.
This letter is a call to action to lead our country based on data, implement data analytics and models that carefully monitor the progress of this disease so that we can reopen in ways that balance the risks and rewards. It is dangerous to paint with broad strokes, either to reopen or to warn of the danger of this disease. Both positions will lead to further destruction. It is not a fight between red and blue or populated states and those that have far lower density. The country must work together. The way we do that is to engage the brilliant minds of this country that have powered our artificial intelligence, data science, multinational corporations that engage in consumer interactions and develop new models that never existed before that can be used to track and map this virus. We can not just hang our hopes on a vaccine, we need to really understand and develop new knowledge about how to deal with this virus, and ones of the future. During past pandemics or epidemics, even ones in recent memory, we did not have the tools we have today to analyze and understand how to protect the citizens of this country. We have so much data and the technology and data science skills to do a deep dive into this virus. It is time we turn it into actionable information. Our decisions should not only be based on the scientific, medical facts. The data will provide a roadmap through this crisis. Let us harness the power of data and move forward.
If you and/or your leadership would like to discuss this more, feel free to direct your staff to contact me anytime at email@example.com or Direct Telephone at 845-709-4104.
VOLENS ET POTENS!
Scott E. Rutter
Scott E. Rutter
Silver Star Recipient Lt. Col. Scott Rutter commanded the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry, 3ID (M) destroying Republican Guard Forces as Baghdad International Airport during the combat phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom I (2003). Scott is an Entrepreneur and Founder and President of the Valor Network, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business that is one of the largest Telemedicine/Teleradiology providers to medical facilities in the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security.