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CDC Finally Admits Touching Things Less Risky Than Talking to People
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From the Daily Mail:

CDC updates its guidelines to say coronavirus ‘does not spread easily’ from contaminated surfaces – but warns it still ‘may be possible’
CDC says ‘touching surfaces or objects’ no longer considered a primary method of transmission
It has been added to list of ways in which the virus does not spread ‘readily’
Differs from earlier advice which warned it ‘may be possible’ to catch Covid-19 by touching contaminated surfaces
CDC continues to warn that virus spreads ‘very easily’ from person to person
Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
By SOPHIE TANNO FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 07:01 EDT, 21 May 2020

When did the old consensus that the germ was spread more by touching things than by talking to people crack up?

My recollection: Back on April 1, I wrote about how I was excited that a team of German scientists would be studying in excruciating detail the spread of the virus in hard-hit Gangelt in the Heinsberg district. To my surprise, on April 9, I posted their preliminary findings:

German Scientists: Virus Is Spread Less by Work Than by Fun

… So if these German scientists are right (and they might not be, but I’ve been looking forward to their findings since April 1 because this is a serious effort), then restarting the economy will be easier than restarting the society, which is good news and bad news. We ought to be able to get back to work sooner, but how are new couples going to meet?

So it’s good to see that this tidal wave of evidence has finally gotten through to the CDC and the mass media, but it would have been better if stubbornness hadn’t kept the old ill-informed assumptions in place so long.

I’m sure some people beat Herr Professor Streeck to the punch, but I can recall going through an Agonizing Reappraisal of what I thought I knew about how the virus spread when he held his press conference in early April. For example, in March I repeatedly pointed out the obvious differences in infection rates between ski vacationers and golf vacationers. I would make sure to include apres ski as a possible reason for this giant gap, but tended, in the spirit of the age, to think more about the Fomite Menace.

Why did Streeck’s findings come as such a surprise?

I’m guessing that some of the Establishment’s obsession in March and April with handwashing was due to their anti-mask prejudice, a little of which was Machiavellian due to the mask shortage, but most of it flowed logically from their anti-mask prejudice.

But, in general, there didn’t seem to be much in the way of a standard checklist already existent for how to think about what questions to ask about a novel virus. For example, there has been very little 80-20 thinking even though Pareto’s ratio is so often very helpful to improving thought. Very few people asked: okay, what are the 20% of activities that cause 80% of the spread.

Instead, the Establishment’s thinking shifted in a few days from Don’t Do Anything (except wash your hands and check your white privilege) to Lock Down Now!

Even worse, the conventional wisdom then locked in on lock down, rather than admitting, okay, that was dumb and crude but we didn’t know what else to do at the moment, so let’s figure out what we should reopen as quickly as possible. So, reopen, say, beaches and golf courses, because it was stupid to shut them, but not ski resorts.

Instead, rather than saying, sure, lockdowns were dumb things to do but we were so ignorant at that moment that that was all we could come up with, much of the MSM has doubled down on the idea that lockdowns are a smart thing to do, then, now, and into the indefinite future.

In general, there seemed like a major lack of preparation on what the important questions to answer quickly would be in the case of a novel pandemic. For example, Touching Things vs. Talking to People is an important distinction to figure out, but the Establishment is only wrapping their head around it in later May.

Did public health authorities on December 31, 2019 have a prepared list of important questions to answer in this kind of emergency? I sure haven’t heard of one. I get the impression that much of the Conventional Wisdom is averse to the idea that The Science doesn’t have all the answers already.

Scientists themselves should have tried harder to be immune to this kind of Trust The Science thinking and instead have put more effort into making up lists of questions for which approximate answers needed to be come up with fast to guide decisionmakers toward making less bad decisions.

 
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  1. fish says:

    GOOD……! Can I go back to the fucking gym now Gavin?

  2. @fish

    Gym seems especially risky without masks. Exhaling during exertion by asymptomatic carriers in an enclosed space is a worst-case scenario.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @ken
  3. Lagertha says:

    Sheesh…so tired of Nazis. Some snarky kid should make a movie about California hippies who turned into Nazis after all, 70 years later!

    hahahhahahhahaa Yes, baby; Quentin Tarantino, I know of 2-3 guys who will write your most prickly screenplay, yet! And, it will be popular all over the world! Because, the Covid hyper expression and failed suppression is such a mess, such a effin mess, world-wide. Such a mess! – my MIL’s best euphemism of ‘epic fail.’ I trust the Greatest Generation to still give us fools, for direction and courage, decision making. We are in a fucked up time – wake up!

  4. @Hamilton was right

    The Zumba story out of South Korea is pretty eye-opening.

    One thing I haven’t seen in studies of square footage of rooms affecting risk is whether the third dimension, how high the ceiling is, matters.

  5. Anon[521] • Disclaimer says:

    This is kind of like the “Limit your egg consumption because of cholesterol” thing that took the American Heart Association about a decade to nix after similar organizations around the world had reversed their positions in light of research. It’s just kind of … embarassing to reverse a position after previously being so adamant about it. All those public service television commercials … uh … nevermind …

    OT

    I saw this coming, but still, it shocks me:

    University of California Will End Use of SAT and ACT in Admissions
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/21/us/university-california-sat-act.html

    Golden State Blockbuster: U. of California Will Replace ACT and SAT With New Test — or None at All
    https://www.chronicle.com/article/Golden-State-Blockbuster-U/248832

    University of California Board Votes Down SAT and ACT – In five years, there will be a new test or UC will abandon use of standardized tests in admissions
    https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2020/05/21/university-california-votes-phase-out-sat-and-act

    So admission will be based on high school grades, teacher’s recommendations, Black Lives Matter extracurricular protest activity, and absence of violin or piano proficiency?

    The “new test” will never happen. The faculty committee report explained all the problems that would crop up when you make the Smarter Balanced test into a high-stakes test, including the probable sudden evaporation of any advantages that black students may now seem to have on it relative to Asians and whites. Once it becomes high stakes, Asians and whites will hunker down and black students won’t know what hit them.

    The SAT and ACT will still be used by out-of-staters and foreign students, who are not going to bother to take a California-only test.

  6. Lagertha says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Jesus! Steve, if you are joking it is one thing…but if you believe this, then you can no longer ridicule people who ridicule SJW’s.

    • Agree: Je Suis Omar Mateen
    • Disagree: Mr McKenna
  7. Lagertha says:
    @Anon

    sad. just really sad.

  8. “Scientists themselves should have tried harder to be immune to this kind of Trust The Science thinking and instead have put more effort into making up lists of questions for which approximate answers needed to be come up with fast to guide decisionmakers toward making less bad decisions.”

    The wrong view of science betrays itself in the craving to be right; for it is not his possession of knowledge, of irrefutable truth, that makes the man of science, but his persistent and recklessly critical quest for truth.—Karl Popper

    • Agree: Mr McKenna, AnotherDad
    • Replies: @Joseph Doaks
  9. how are new couples going to meet?

    This German used the lockdown to end his relationship. There’s also a golf angle to the story, but it’s kind of subtle.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    , @Coemgen
  10. speaking of that, where is the peer reviewed, journal published article that 6 feet is any kind of useful guideline?

    must be right up there with closing ALL the stores in your city, except the 2 or 3 big box stores, then forcing you into those along with thousands of other people.

    what idiotic, transparent bullshit nonsense this entire thing is.

  11. @Anon

    You should be thankful to live through the 2020’s Boomar Republic. Think of what will come by `33 and what you’ll be able to tell your grand children, assuming they live through the aftermath.

    Think of 1939 but with TikToks!

    • LOL: Redneck farmer
  12. Lugash says:

    I wonder if there was an error in translation from something in China. Either a medical article that was misread, or an intercepted secret communication. Or Chinese disinfo.

  13. Steve,

    Maybe you can explain why stories of infection spread get headlines when the vast majority of people infected have “a cold”

    The people dying from Covid do not go to fitness clubs. Many likely haven’t left their room under their own power this year.

    Covid fear is one of the strangest delusions in world history. We have so much data and we refuse to allow it to inform us.

    “How many Americans even know that children have near-zero threat and anyone under 60 has next to no risk of dying from the virus? Even those between 60 and 69 are at much lower risk than anything the government has suggested and that the level of panic indicates.”

    https://www.conservativereview.com/news/horowitz-one-chart-exposes-lie-behind-universal-lockdowns/

  14. Speaking of bad advice. How about the notion that after you come down with the virus (in fact any virus), you should wait around until symptoms worsen before you get treatment with an antiviral. Unfortunately, I fear that in a few months we will think back on how much our ignorance cost us in lives and treasure (e.g. tens of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars lost because we didn’t have enough 50 cent masks).

  15. Lagertha says:

    Americans are so divided, forever, that they are so weak. – would you really care about your neighbor it they voted for the other party? – no, hate is too thick.

    Back in the day, a small impoverished country had to bring the leftists into the camp: https://youtu.be/d2rfC3YMboM because people were afraid.

    Democrats are pushing for Bolshevism – they must be stopped. I could show you of photos of killed children, cattle & women, by the Boshevists, but I am trying so hard to not be so angry all the time.

    • Replies: @Neuday
  16. JimDandy says:

    So… a Mexican man drove to an Arizona mall yesterday and said, en route, whilst live-posting on Snapchat: “Hello, my name is Armando Junior Hernandez and I’m gonna be the shooter of Westgate 2020,” while flashing a beer can and showing guns in his back seat? And then he shot up the place and sent people to the hospital? Why didn’t I hear about this earlier? Unfathomable. I just don’t understand.

    https://nypost.com/2020/05/21/suspected-shooter-armando-hernandez-filmed-mall-attack-on-snapchat/

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  17. @Anon

    A perfect illustration of modern liberalism: our poor minorities are low-achievement, so let’s stop measuring achievement.

    • Agree: Joseph Doaks
  18. None of the nursing home victims were out having fun. The majority of patients hospitalized in NYC in April were locked in their homes , unemployed or retired..

    The vulnerable elderly should probably avoid going to bars , restaurants , clubs, gyms and taking flights. The difference in risk from Bowling or Skiing etc. are not going to matter much. It is obviously that being around a lot of people inside will raise your risk. Since young people are already immune to this virus and old people are at such a greater risk and have no need to work so they should just stay home and allow everyone else to go back to living normal lives. Those under the age of 50 have almost zero risk of being hospitalized , driving a car is much more risky to those under the age of 50.

  19. What we really needed for this crisis was not a bunch of elaborate models and supposedly informed scientific assumptions but a scientific Tiger Team that could put together quick and dirty models and conduct rapid studies to answer basic questions.

    Experts don’t seem to get that they can easily build castles in the air that have nothing to do with the reality of a crisis. For a crisis, they need agile, insightful thinkers who can put together solutions fast.

    Life is an IQ test, and especially a crisis is an IQ test.

    A little more fluid intelligence, please.

  20. @Anon

    Black students are 4 to 5 percent of the many millions of K-12 students in California public schools. Hispanic students are 55 percent. This isn’t the American South. Black Lives Matter doesn’t matter. I know Ron Unz loves him some Mexicans, regardless of litter, and Steve Sailer and others may consider them politically passive. I don’t think that. Dumping these tests is the only way the state is remotely going to get UC campuses to reflect the actual youth of the state. And these changes aren’t being made because of black people.

  21. … but it would have been better if stubbornness hadn’t kept the old ill-informed assumptions in place so long.

    It’d have been even better if those ill-informed assumptions had never been seen as the word of God by everyone and his brother blogger to begin with.

    Does this mean that the kids can at least play basketball with different balls but with the same rims and pavement? Should I put a call option* on my wipes portfolio.

    .

    * No, Jack D., I DON’T know what a call option is, but this is artistic license, so you don’t need to chime in. Thx.

  22. @candid_observer

    What we really needed for this crisis was not a bunch of elaborate models and supposedly informed scientific assumptions but a scientific Tiger Team that could put together quick and dirty models and conduct rapid studies to answer basic questions.

    What we REALLY needed was a Tiger Team made up of real tigers who would attack and maul anyone who came across the city limits deigning to tell people what to do based on a 24/7/90-day Infotainment Panic Fest marathon on TV.

    Seriously though, what makes you sure this Tiger Team, even if comprised of people, not cats, would come up with any smart advise when the most basic of numbers, the IFR of this virus was not known due to both its numerator and denominator being numbers pulled out of government officials’ and university professors’ asses.

  23. Anonymous[265] • Disclaimer says:

    Gym seems especially risky without masks.

    Risky for who exactly? The tiny % of gym goers who are elderly? Or who have multiple underlying conditions?

    Reality check: Gym goers are vastly not at risk because they are relatively young and healthy.

    I was tired of the nonsense two months ago. At this late date there are no excuses.

    Get it straight: COVID IS NOT A SERIOUS DISEASE FOR THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION.

    Covid is a weakling that bounces off the young. It bounces off homeless people. The hospital data is non-transparent because the reality does not justify the lockdown.

    The gym community is a flashpoint of civil disobedience for damn good reasons.

    PARANOID IGNORAMUSES NEED TO STAY HOME AND LEAVE THE REST OF US TO GO ABOUT OUR LIVES.

    F*** YOU AND YOUR FILTHY MASK THAT HASN’T BEEN STERILIZED IN TEN DAYS.

  24. The coronavirus is a creature of God’s, which is descended from a billion years of successful coronaviri.

    There is absolutely nobody who understands how these things work when they are doing what they need to do to survive.

    You cannot understand a coronavirus by empathizing with its view of the world – and thus anybody who thinks that mathematicians or statisticians, whose entire skill set is based on empathizing with numbers and probabilities, are gonna defeat the coronavirus JUST BY THINKING is deluded.

    OF COURSE scientists understand unsuccessful coronaviri, just like cops can always catch the mentally defective recidivist criminals.

    Understanding successful threats to humanity is REALLY REALLY HARD and I for one am not gonna claim I know anyone who understands such things in an efficient and useful way.

    We need more faith healers and fewer von Neumann fan boys. Trust me. Of course we need the drudges among us who make incremental improvements in our understanding, but the coronaviri have defeated drudges again and again in the past, if they hadn’t they would not still be around, living the good life as if the death of hundreds of thousands was a picnic.

    And compared to the limited scientific knowledge of the best of us ….

    even the Chinese, who know bats really well, have been losing battle after battle in this bat plague.

    And you might think, well China has not had many deaths lately from the coronavirus!

    Well, maybe not. But let’s face it, if they could defeat it worldwide, they would.
    They are for the most part – even some of the Communist Bandits – good hearted enough to want to defeat the coronavirus.

    They can’t, and there are more than a billion of them, not a single one of whom is on the winning side in this thing.

    Years from now we will have other challenges, but this is not a war that anyone will ever be able to say they won without having lost many many very important battles which could have been won if we had a few more faith healers and a few less von Neumann fanboys.

    This was not a rant, this was the truth, whether you know it or not.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  25. anon[210] • Disclaimer says:
    @candid_observer

    What we really needed for this crisis was not a bunch of elaborate models and supposedly informed scientific assumptions but a scientific Tiger Team that could put together quick and dirty models and conduct rapid studies to answer basic questions.

    Like the Tiger Team that figured out how the shuttle Challenger was destroyed! Yeah!

    Surely, you must be joking.

  26. Still, there are some things you should avoid touching.

    you don’t touch other peoples balls…with your hands…

    • LOL: Bardon Kaldian
    • Replies: @Deckin
  27. anon[210] • Disclaimer says:

    Wait, does this mean it is now safe to touch black women’s hair?
    I’m, uh, just asking for a friend.

  28. Anonymous[270] • Disclaimer says:

    It does look like the droplets/aerosol route was massively underestimated initially (probably just because of the idiotic “masks only work on medical workers”) and the fomites route massively overestimated (probably because the cold-causing coronaviruses are surprisingly stable).

    I am afraid, however, that CDC again will make thing worse by making people disregard fomites completely. That would be a mistake! Fomites transmission of SARS-2 is well-documented. Take the example of the Chinese bus, where a person was infected after getting onto the bus 30 min after index case exited it:

    And given the several solid reports from China on finding live virus in fecal matter, it would be surprising if poor hygiene would not contribute to the transmission.

    Bottom line: Shaking hands is still a terrible idea!

  29. @Anon

    I don’t think abandoning the SAT at the UCs will affect Whites much. The upshot will be a rigged system designed to select a student body that “looks like California.” In practice, that means a massive redistribution of slots from Asians to Hispanics.

    Asians who aren’t hip to the agenda, and who trust that the experts are just trying to come up with a fairer way to measure merit, are in for a rude awakening.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
  30. University of California Will End Use of SAT and ACT in Admissions
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/21/us/university-california-sat-act.html

    This is really disgusting. I was told a member of my family was in the first class to graduate from the University of California, and I think someone from literally every generation since has gone there. After screwing around for an inordinate amount of time, my daughter finally accepted her destiny. She just got herself in.

    Now they’re going to finally, terminally wreck that school. They should be shot.

    • Replies: @XYZ (no Mr.)
  31. runeulv says:

    “When did the old consensus that the germ was spread more by touching things than by talking to people crack up?”
    When the White House asked scientists if it was true that the vocal cords created aerosols when they were vibrating many hundred times per second, and they got the answer Yes.

  32. HA says:
    @prime noticer

    “where is the peer reviewed, journal published article that 6 feet is any kind of useful guideline?”

    Assuming you’re not just venting rhetorically, you could probably type “how did 6 feet coronavirus safe distance” or something similar into a search engine in less time than it took you to write your comment. Here’s what I found when I did that:

    “Six feet is probably not safe enough,” Raina MacIntyre, a professor of global security and the head of the Biosecurity Program at the Kirby Institute in Australia, told Live Science in an email. “The 3-6 foot rule is based on a few studies from the 1930s and 1940s, which have since been shown to be wrong — droplets can travel further than 6 feet. Yet hospital infection control experts continue to believe this rule. It’s like the flat-Earth theory — anyone who tries to discuss the actual evidence is shouted down by a chorus of believers.”

    • Replies: @Hypnotoad666
  33. Anon[301] • Disclaimer says:

    OT: Article calls Michigan Attorney General a member of the ‘Karenwaffe.’ It has instantly became my new favorite term.

    https://www.redstate.com/streiff/2020/05/21/michigans-karenwaffe-attorney-general-tells-president-trump-not-to-come-back-because-he-ignored-her-rules/

    She threw a childish tantrum and jumped all over Trump and threatened Ford. Says Trump is not welcome back in the state, and she threw another fit on twitter saying that Trump is threatened by three successful women (Gov, AG, SOS).

    I can remember when a state attorney general actually had gravitas and dignity. Of course, that was back when they were all male. If she had shrewdness of a born pol, she would have told the media that she was sorry Trump did not choose to set an example for the people of Michigan, and let out a pained sigh. She’s more shrew than shrewd.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
    , @J.Ross
    , @Seneca44
  34. @Steve Sailer

    Did anyone follow up on the health effects to the infected Zumba class attendees?

    I get that they could have gone on to spread the virus to others, and eventually it might reach a vulnerable person. But the odds of serious effects to an under-40 fit person in a Zumba class are next to nil, according to the data.

    I wonder if there is any correlation (negative or positive), between one’s vulnerability to the virus, and one’s propensity to spread it to others once infected.

    The concept of “viral load” might imply that the vulnerable serve as a breeding ground for large quantities of virus as their weaker immune systems allow it to propagate en masse. OTOH, those who are asymptomatic may have less viral load due to a more robust immune system. But for that very reason, they “are out and about” and thus more likely to transmit whatever quantity of virus they carry to others.

  35. @HA

    The bottom line is that six feet seems about right for “safety theater” purposes. It’s like asking why the TSA only allows liquid containers of 3.1 fluid ounces or less on airplanes.

    • Replies: @HA
  36. @Hypnotoad666

    CollegeFactual shows 27% whites at UCLA and 26% at Berkeley. Given that a fair proportion of that is usually ‘mystery meat’ like Persians, etc, and a large proportion are Jewish, it’s likely that true (and nominally Christian) European-descended whites are much less and hence–as you say–have much less to worry about. They’re not going to get in anyway. Asians will be getting screwed though.

    All this really does is codify the deterioration in Higher Ed, or put another way it provides additional cover. Diversity scores will continue to improve, though, and that’s pretty much what Higher Ed is all about now. Along with much of the corporate world it’s feeding.

    This is pretty much the only way they’re going to get the black numbers up to ‘acceptable’ levels. Particularly since the previous strategy (importing black immigrants) has been exposed, though that’s still the #1 mode in the Ivy League.

  37. LondonBob says:

    We have known for months the main methods of transmission for SARSCoV2 are intrafamilial, through public transportation, and nosocomial. Lockdowns are especially pointless in areas without heavy public transportation use.

  38. moshe says:

    If the media really gives a shit about the elderly then they will call for this piece of shit to be hanged by his balls until dead.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/mgotoo16/status/1263669960821399552

  39. CDC Finally Admits Touching Things Less Risky Than Talking to People

    [Biden] Finally Admits Touching [People More] Risky Than Talking to [Things]

    Fixed it.

    Even worse, the conventional wisdom then locked in on lock down…

    Making Lukashenko luka good? The expat Brit vlogging as Bald and Bankrupt has spent the last few weeks touring (after quarantining) the freest country in Europe, White Russia. ( “Belarus” to you PC cucks.)

    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=bald+and+bankrupt+belarus+2020

    His most frequently used adjective is “Soviet”.

    If countries are serious about social distancing, perhaps they should try this:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ETbUmwgXYAw09Fa?format=jpg&name=large

    https://mobile.twitter.com/terriblemaps/status/1240412517010149376

    • LOL: Dieter Kief
  40. @Colin Wright

    Who should be shot? All adult Californians? Who the hell desired and hired all that cheap labor that transformed the state’s demographics in the first place? Those poor immigrants didn’t hire and amnesty themselves. Or actually who cares in California about amnesty anyway — it’s not necessary at all, you get all the benefits of a citizen but can skip jury duty.

    This is exactly what the residents here have been advocating by their actions for many a year. I’m not understanding the surprise nor issue. It’s a state university system. It should educate the youth of the state. If the youth of the state no longer live up to previous academic rigor, tough.

    Perhaps the UC system already failed decades ago when it did not instill in future voters of this great state the simple concept of cause and effect.

  41. Anonymous[186] • Disclaimer says:

  42. @Anon

    Something strange about that Governor Whitmer. IDK, can’t quite put my finger on it. Who is her surgeon?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Anon87
  43. So are we at war now with Eurasia or Eastasia?

    Went to our favorite small-town pharmacy yesterday. Little sign said they had a “limited supply” of masks and to ask the pharmacist. I asked him, and he showed me two types, both N95s. He explained that one was made in China and costs $7 and the other is made in the United States and costs $10. I bought some of the American ones.

    I was impressed that he specifically informed me about the Chinese origin of one mask type. I like our small-town pharmacy for a reason.

    My wife and I have been re-using my Home Depot N95s and sterilizing them in the oven for weeks now (following advice learned from commenters here, thank you very much Jack D.)

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    , @Jack D
  44. Mr. Anon says:
    @Bragadocious

    Johnson & Johnson is using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to stop selling it’s Baby Powder, which is now the subject of potentially ruinous litigation. They want to focus on other more Corona-relevant products, they claim:

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/20/health/johnson-and-johnson-stops-selling-talc-based-baby-powder-trnd/index.html

    Other websites, like NPR, make explicit mention of the law-suits against J&J over their talcum powder.

    Never let a crisis go to waste.

  45. moshe says:

    Here’s a video of the nursing home black boxer sharing his wisdom. At the end he gets to his point about his belief that police wake up in the morning and decide to go out and shoot black people.

    People who spread that belief are responsible for the racial vengeance that they cause.

    • Agree: Buzz Mohawk, Coemgen
  46. @Steve Sailer

    Aircondition vs. opening windows regularly is also an important aspect.

    (Aircondition = oftentimes: Spreading the virus; opening windows regularly = getting rid of the virus, or at least making it less infectious).

    • Agree: Buzz Mohawk
  47. Did public health authorities on December 31, 2019 have a prepared list of important questions to answer in this kind of emergency?

    This combined with the 80 /20 aspect of this phenomenon should be a dire “Recollection for the Future” (Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Leipzig, 1988).

  48. robot says: • Website

    Epidemiologists ought to acknowledge that their models still lack these variables. Building better models will require semantic AI (but recent AI has mostly forgotten about semantics in favor of opaque statistics).

    • Replies: @robot
  49. I dunno … if aerosol droplets, or just droplets in general, can transmit it, and if it was as persistant as the experts said it is, the touching a surface that was contaminated with droplets should still be quite transmissible. Maybe they are trying to stealthily deal with a severe hand sanitiser and wet-wipe shortage.

    … how are new couples going to meet?

    Tinder? Match.com? Hey, OkCupid worked for Prof. Fergusson.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  50. @Red Blooded American Boomer

    The Poles always struck me as shifty…..

  51. J.Ross says:
    @JimDandy

    >why didn’t the newsmedia tell me earlier about the rage shooting
    >by a guy named Hernandez
    As the 4chan rules say, “it is a mystery [extremely low quality picture of a ghost].”
    It is interesting to me that he was so not-angry and unmotivated. He sounded like a bad actor noncommitally reading new lines. He even flubbed them like an actor. Because of the, the mean society. Yeah. Another plastic brick in the establishment’s “incel” hoax. Mexican. Virgins. And you thought that “Mexican intellectuals” was unbelievable.
    A shooter in Toronto, Canada, was identified by crown prosecutors as an agent for I.N.C.E.L. — that’s not me. The Canadians have decided, possibly through a quirk of the metric system, that I.N.C.E.L. is an acronym, and published it like that in serious newspapers. They don’t say what it stands for.
    Our society is so sick that opportunities to discuss a collapsing standard of living or a corrupted elite are batted away by calling people “loser virgins” like in middle school.

  52. J.Ross says:
    @Anon

    This is Dana Nessel, the lesbian yenta who is working with hysteria-defamation organizations to create a kind of Stasi office of keeping tabs on wrongthinkers.

  53. @candid_observer

    OK, Tiger Teams next time. For now, it’s time for pitchforks and torches … somebody needs to pay for their callous disregard of the people. How convenient that they pulled this stunt in an election year.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  54. Coemgen says:
    @Bragadocious

    Did you forget to link to an associated report?

    Doctor Ingolf Tuerk Charged With Killing Wife in Dover

    Though I guess interested readers could use Google Image Search to find associated reports:

    https://www.google.com/imghp?hl=en&tab=wi&ogbl

  55. robot says: • Website
    @robot

    ‘Semantic AI’ just means we need to create an equivalent of SimCity/The Sims that helps you model transmission in a pandemic, by asking you detailed questions about where/how transmission might be happening. (Not hiding behind deep neural nets)

    • Agree: Coemgen
  56. Anon[261] • Disclaimer says:
    @fish

    Can I go back to the fucking gym now Gavin?

    No you can’t, because ‘exponential’ and ‘flatten the curve’, plus there’s a ‘second wave’ of chinkenpox coming.
    Shelter in place citizen. Do not leave your place of residence.
    Do not murder innocents by walking around.

  57. @J.Ross

    He was The Man From I.N.C.E.L.

  58. kihowi says:
    @fish

    You know what, with all the articles about how weightlifting is a gateway to the alt right and a source of toxic masculinity yada yada, this might be viewed by TPTB as a feature, not a bug.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  59. @Anon

    Anatoly has a new post pointing out that abolishing university entrance exams was one of the first actions of the Bolsheviks after taking over Russia.

    https://www.unz.com/akarlin/when-entrance-exams-were-abolished/

    Spoiler alert: Diversity went DOWN.

  60. B36 says:

    I’m getting more optimistic that we can control this thing even in the absence of a vaccine or specific antiviral therapy just by basic Pareto analysis:

    1) Wear a mask. How many lives would have been saved if the CDC had said in January-February “Sure, wash your hands, but mainly WEAR A MASK”?

    2) Secure the nursing homes. Something like 1% of the population live in nursing homes or assisted living but represent HALF of all Covid deaths. If we can’t protect people in this very controlled institutional setting, we should just give up and forget about trying to protect the general population. To fail in the nursing home is to admit the only alternative is Let ‘er Rip.

    3) Encourage older people (like me) and those with chronic conditions who are most at risk to continue to take extra precautions and continue to shelter in place as much as possible.

    4) Identify the most dangerous superspreader events (indoor things like choir practice or apres ski or whatever) and keep those those locked down or find ways to make them safer.

    Then…let everyone else get back to work and living as before (though we may realize that working from home has additional benefits beyond disease prevention). Yes there will still be cases, but they should be fewer and confined to a younger healthier population in whom the illness is mild and death rare.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  61. Andrew M says:

    It’s amazing how reluctant all these groups (government agencies, scientific experts, journalists & editors) have been to change their minds as the research evolves. We have a handy saying – “two Jews, three opinions” – which explicitly acknowledges the possibility of different conclusions. Yet we’ve succumbed to the kind of face-saving culture that we associate with third world countries.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  62. Scientists themselves should have tried harder to be immune to this kind of Trust The Science thinking and instead have put more effort into making up lists of questions for which approximate answers needed to be come up with fast to guide decision makers toward making less bad decisions

    Science is a slow messy process. It should get to the answer in the long run, but we all know what happens “in the long run”.

    The fundamental problem is not science nor scientists. In any event, scientists should not be making policy. That is part of the job description for executive leadership. The main requisite skill in a leader is making decisions under uncertainty. One technique is to ask experts the relevant questions and get uncertainty ranges. They will often get it wrong, but those who are good this process correct course as new information comes in. Those who are not good at it double down and should be fired.

    The issue is that we have
    1) trade-offs that can be made by policy or personal choice,
    2) risks associated with alternatives, and
    3) uncertainties

    Any casual search for “risk” “uncertainty” and “decision making” yields a body of work which I recommend to those interested in the math.

    Failure to quantify the uncertainty makes any intelligent trade-off impossible.
    Failure to consider a range alternatives makes a decision process pointless.
    Failure to quantify the thinking makes going back and updating assumptions and process a fantasy.

    I don’t trust placing retrospective blame for the wrong decisions, but
    – I do blame lack of transparency and a poor decision making process,
    – I find fault in preferring top-down decisions rather than devolving to personal choice where
    practicable
    – I am unforgiving of a failure to adjust to new information.

  63. @Anon

    Obviously this will hurt the quality of students at Berkeley and UCLA, as the percentage of NAMs rises. A place that might be helped by this is Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, as a the proportion of smart Asian engineers who otherwise would have gotten into Berkeley will increase.

  64. @prime noticer

    must be right up there with closing ALL the stores in your city, except the 2 or 3 big box stores, then forcing you into those along with thousands of other people.

    This…
    I’m willing to accept the distancing as a precaution under uncertainty, but this was stupid. Closing all but groceries and big box hypermarkets seems about the most inconsistent approach imaginable. Since we can’t go to Kohls or Pennys, let’s cram into that Target and Sams Club.

    Had the Governors forbidden sale of anything but food and cleaning supplies it would have at least made some internal sense. As structured, it counts as one of those “unforgivable” mistakes (to charitable) were not quickly corrected.

  65. Volkmar Weiss: If it had not been for the Christian Drosten group in Berlin that developed the test for Covid-19 and made it available to China in January 2020, there would not be a single statistic on the spread of the new virus. Not one. A somewhat puzzling flu-like epidemic would have spread around the world, as has happened a hundred times before. Each time, thousands, even millions of people — mostly old people — died, and were not treated separately in the mortality statistics the following years.

    That could be the same this time; nothing more. What is taking place is an anxiety- and media-driven infection of common sense, which is no longer able to balance costs and risks. This inability to balance costs and risks is unchanged since the time of Adam and Eve.

    Now, the enforcement of the human right to die in an intensive-care bed is our most important goal. Everything is subordinate to this. The problem is not a new virus, but the inability of mass society to deal with it.

    Source: https://www.amren.com/news/2020/05/iq-studies-behind-the-iron-curtain/

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  66. JMcG says:
    @B36

    The Irish Independent today reports that nursing homes, “care homes” there, are being told to accept patients regardless as to whether they have been tested to be free of CV19.

  67. @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

    Volkmar Weiss: If it had not been for the Christian Drosten group in Berlin that developed the test for Covid-19 and made it available to China in January 2020, there would not be a single statistic on the spread of the new virus.

    What amazing nonsense. That group in Berlin were only able to develop a test because a lab at the Shanghai Public Health Clinic Center deliberately broke the CCP’s embargo on publishing genomes, 17 days after the PRC had sequenced their first one. They were shut down permanently for “rectification” the next day, but the cat was out of the bag outside of the PRC, and many other countries immediately started developing RT-PCR tests. Thailand was the first to confirm an ex-PRC case a couple or so days later, helps to have a princess who’s a biochemist.

    The only reason the PRC wouldn’t have already been using their own genome sequence results to design and make tests was the general suppression of information about and action to limit COVID-19 during this period, this is Grad Student 101 level biotechnology, once you have a genome. The German group did nothing special, except catch the eye of the WHO who adopted their test, and a company in Germany to mass produce it. The CDC did something special by designing an overambitious test, manufacturing it worse than a PRC company, and with the help of the FDA preventing anyone else from doing tests until both got slapped down February 29th.

  68. Jack D says:
    @The Alarmist

    and if it was as persist[e]nt as the experts said it is

    #1 it’s not * and #2 to get the disease from surfaces you first have to touch the surface and then touch your eyes/nostrils/mouth. It’s not impossible but you are much more likely to get the stuff in your lungs by being in a room with an [unmasked] infected person. When people sneeze/cough/talk they launch millions of droplets into the air which you inhale deep into your lungs and that is the primary mechanism for spreading the virus.

    * there is a big difference between “it’s possible to detect the virus on the surface” and “there is enough virus for you to catch the disease”.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @Sparkon
  69. ken says:
    @Hamilton was right

    I used to go to a 10,000 sq. ft. gym at 10 a.m. on weekdays. Never more than 5-6 people in the gym. Often it was just me and the front desk clerk. There used to be so many gyms few were packed.

  70. Anonymous[411] • Disclaimer says:

    Steve,

    Just because the virus seems to spread most readily among people in close quarters does not mean the means of transmission in close quarters is not primarily surface contact.

    • Disagree: VinnyVette
  71. Anonymous[411] • Disclaimer says:
    @Andrew M

    We have a handy saying – “two Jews, three opinions” – which explicitly acknowledges the possibility of different conclusions.

    Two Jews, two opinions would acknowledge the possibility of different conclusions.

    Two Jews, three opinions acknowledges the phenomenon of hypocrisy and situational ‘ethics’.

  72. Hypochondriacs terrified of breathing someone else’s cooties can strap on two mouthdiapers: one for you and one for everyone else. That way, normal people don’t have to participate in your mental illness. Also, hypochondriacs can wear goggles. Yes, you look ridiculous, yes, I will laugh at you.

    My gym opened today. No facediapers, no gloves, and I have to sign a kungflu indemnity waiver. Just like I told ya, Sailer. Simples. No working out in the parking lot or any other retarded unworkable retardation.

    Get Out Live Life!

    • Agree: VinnyVette
    • Replies: @Redman
  73. When did the old consensus that the germ was spread more by touching things than by talking to people crack up?

    My recollection: Back on April 1, I wrote about how I was excited that a team of German scientists would be studying in excruciating detail the spread of the virus in hard-hit Gangelt in the Heinsberg district. To my surprise, on April 9, I posted their preliminary findings:

    Are you sure you aren’t retconning yourself here Steve?

    Were you really running around in fear of surfaces in March, but thinking the guy coughing a few feet away in the Vons dairy section was no issue? Seems like you were on the skiing thing–the apres ski thing–pretty early on. And that screams–breathing.

    The plain fact is the CDC”s own recommendations point at the critical threat:

    — What’s the point of “cover your mouth when you cough”? Just droplets on surfaces? Really?

    What’s the point of “six feet apart”? There’s simply no point to that recommendation–which is their core recommendation–except for respiratory spread.

    Respiratory spread is not news.

    People have known that someone coughing out gunk was a source for you to “catch” their cough for … well … basically forever. At least shortly after the neolithic revolution that created stationary life (sanitation issues) in close contact with animals and the rise of disease.

    I’d guess within a year or two of inventing “cloth”–breathable cloth of wool, linen, cotton–people were slapping cloth over their face in the presence of someone hacking away, spewing out germs.

    The very reason we have these viruses that induce your body to cough?
    … that’s how the virus gets to infect the next guy!

    A new virus comes out you don’t know the exact parameters. How long does it persist in the air? In what sort of droplets? How long on this or that surface?

    But, geez it’s a respiratory disease. You start with respiratory spread. I know it. You know it. The CDC knows it.

    Why the CDC’s mask insanity?

    — Cover up for their gross unpreparedness, incompetence?

    — Didn’t want to copy Asians?

    — Feminists didn’t want women running to their sewing machines?

    — Globalists didn’t want Americans (American women) showing any sort of “can do” spirit?

    — Wanted this crisis to grow? To make themselves important? To get Trump?

    — Gross incompetence of a bunch of time-serving bureaucrats just enjoying their comfy sinecure.

    — All of the above?

    Your choice.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Jack D
  74. Peterike says:

    “ much of the MSM has doubled down on the idea that lockdowns are a smart thing to do, then, now, and into the indefinite future.”

    Easy explanation for that.

    1. Much of the media is composed of hysterical school girls.

    2. Because they think it will defeat Trump.

    If Hillary were President this would have been just another bad flu year.

  75. @J.Ross

    Our society is so sick that opportunities to discuss a collapsing standard of living or a corrupted elite are batted away by calling people “loser virgins” like in middle school.

    This.

  76. Cheap CO-19 mass-test developed using gene-sequencing machines – iSteve saw it coming!

    The world is following the CO-19 guidelines by iSteve.com:

    https://labs.ebanx.com/en/notes/brazilian-hospital-creates-a-new-test-for-covid-19/

    And not only that – they created this test exactly like Steve Sailer wanted them to do it: By using gene-sequencing equipment. – How’s that? ISteve readers are not only on the right side of reality, but way ahead of the rest of the world on the right side of reality!

    Now all that’s left for them to do is to justify why they did not follow the iSteve proposal right away.- Why the delay?

  77. Anonymous[411] • Disclaimer says:
    @AnotherDad

    — What’s the point of “cover your mouth when you cough”? Just droplets on surfaces? Really?

    — What’s the point of “six feet apart”? There’s simply no point to that recommendation–which is their core recommendation–except for respiratory spread.

    Respiratory spread is not news.

    People have known that someone coughing out gunk was a source for you to “catch” their cough for … well … basically forever.

    Everything you have written above is consistent with surface contact’s being the primary—even exclusive—means of transmission.

    For example, there would be a higher concentration of droplets on surfaces (even your own body surface) that are within six feet of someone who is sick.

    • Replies: @AnotherDad
  78. @Anon

    I recently read an opinion piece by an econ prof from NY. I can’t find the link now, and I apologize for the lack of attribution if someone here posted it.

    He thinks the recent emergency shift to online ed has thrown open floodgates. He says Google, Microsoft et al must (are legally required to) expand revenues which will force them to cannibalize ever larger industries. The two obvious candidates are health and education. He leaves out housing which I think will be the third, but later. He points out that Harvard is arguably the world’s strongest brand, and it will be utilized. Big tech will radically expand the reach of top tier universities, whose enrollments balloon accordingly. The residential campus experience is then for the rich kids, and distance degrees become more affordable. The value of the degree goes down in the long run but nevermind. This is about administrators looking to benefit their own careers now, not to protect their institutions’ brands into the 50s.

    If these predictions are accurate, second tiers (all UCs besides Cal) would do well to accelerate strategies for admitting mediocre masses. Their supply of students will decrease (vacuumed up by better brands) while their numbers of “seats” to fill massively increases.

    • Replies: @Alan Mercer
  79. Sparkon says:
    @Jack D

    #1 it’s not

    Then you must explain how that passenger on the Chinese bus became infected when he boarded the bus 30 minutes after the suspected superspreader and all the other passengers had gotten off the bus. Either the virus was hanging in the air in (or near) the bus, or surfaces in the bus were contaminated. Either way, or perhaps both ways, even after 30 minutes, something in or near the bus was infectious, and the poor sap who came along 30 minutes later, and was infected, is the proof.

    Please see comment #29.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/cdc-finally-admits-touching-things-less-risky-than-talking-to-people/#comment-3910557

    The big problem I see with this pandemic is people making vast assertions with half-vast information. COVID-19 is a new disease, and we are still learning about it, but the old standby applies: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    I didn’t need or wait for the CDC to tell me that masks are an effective measure to limit the spread of infectious diseases. During my time in Japan long ago, I had seen that it was no big deal for the Japanese to wear masks to avoid spreading cold or flu, to avoid catching cold or flu, and to alleviate allergies.

    In the United States, many males are so insecure about their masculinity that they avoid any action, mannerism or apparel that somebody else might use to accuse them of being a wimp, sissy, faggot, girly boy and such, and I suggest mask-wearing falls into that category.

    • Replies: @Je Suis Omar Mateen
  80. PSR says:

    The arrogance of the medical establishement with regard to this pandemic reminds me of the furor over AIDS in the 80s. The CDC assured us we would all be dead within about 15 years unless they got everything they wanted, while anyone with any reason could see that it primarily affected two small groups of people engaging in risky behavior

  81. Seneca44 says:
    @Anon

    In addition to “Karenwaffe” your comment of, “…more shrew than shrewd” is a keeper!

  82. @Buzz Mohawk

    You apparently can actually kill and REMOVE the trapped particles in the N95 masks by soaking them in hot water. Afterwards, you can reactivate the electrostatic charge in the filter medium using a hair drier. (How does a stream of hot air create a polarized medium?)

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7153525/

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  83. HA says:
    @Hypnotoad666

    “The bottom line is that six feet seems about right for “safety theater” purposes. It’s like asking why the TSA only allows liquid containers of 3.1 fluid ounces or less on airplanes.”

    Cochran was recommending in one podcast or another a few weeks ago that 30 feet would actually be a better approach if you want to say safe. In other words, it seems he actually bothered to look up the actual research rather than simply vent about the matter or expect other people to do the digging.

    And yet, those who complain about 6-feet-rules will, I suspect, like his alternative even less. In other words, much like those social justice warriors railing against IQ racial disparities, lack of research isn’t really what’s bothering them.

  84. Neuday says:
    @Lagertha

    Democrats are pushing for Bolshevism – they must be stopped. I could show you of photos of killed children, cattle & women, by the Boshevists, but I am trying so hard to not be so angry all the time.

    This is why it’s so important for you to not be so selfish, comrade! Your fear of having things taken from you has made you angry. Don’t be afraid, don’t give these things another thought. Be more tolerant and you’ll be less angry.

  85. I and most “men” I encounter continue to shake hands, i have not donned a mask of death not once and most “men” I encounter including the old do not either. If anyone is relying on The CDC for accurate info of any kind after the countless flip flops “masks useless, masks mandatory” “social distancing useless, social distancing mandatory” etc… They are simply neurotics / OCD types who were likely risk averse, germaphobes to begin with and have been triggered by the hype as the CDC has lost ALL credibility on all levels on this plandemic from start to the never ending finish! They are the epitomy of inconsistency and the poster boys for why a govt technocracy by the “experts” has and will continue to destroy formally free societies!

  86. @prime noticer

    https://www.stripes.com/news/europe/one-meter-six-feet-how-social-distancing-guidelines-vary-across-countries-1.625118

    “The World Health Organization recommends at least a meter, or a little more than 3 feet. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends six feet. German and Australian authorities split the difference.”

    I’ll take the WHO on this one, and tell anyone who insists on 6 feet that they’re racists because the head of the WHO is an African and that that’s the reason they want to not accept the standard.

  87. @Anon

    Once you’re playing all these affirmative action games, better to just do quotas. Then you can screen however you like inside your quota and get the best people.

    White gentiles just need to make sure there’s a Jewish quota as well and they aren’t getting screwed out of their share. Basically any group that wants a separate quota to avoid getting squeezed–ex. say Pacific Islanders from “Asians”–should be able to get it.

    But better than quotas … why not separate universities? UC-Asian, A couple different UC-White. A bunch of UC-Mexican, not just Merced. A UC-black … not really the population for it in California, but this is America and blacks must be worshipped everywhere. And a UC-rainbow or two or three for people who really want that.

    Separation would actually make almost everyone’s experience better. Diversity is tedious grind for people that most people have to work around to find compatible people to live life with–who may be nominally “diverse”, but generally are more like themselves–while keeping a tedious smiley face about “diversity”.

    Or go whole hog. Admit these universities are pretty much worthless piles of crap now outside of STEM. We don’t need to stick with the Fordist–everyone go to class and get knowledged–model of higher ed, anymore than we need it for lower ed. Get some competency tests going for young people–actually any people–to certify their basic verbal and mathematical competence as well as knowledge across a range of subjects. They get the unis off the public teat.

    Restore freedom of association for everyone, and the private unis–those few that remain–can admit anyone they damn well please.

  88. @The Alarmist

    Yeah, but most of the damaging governors were elected in the anti-Trump Democratic wave of 2018, so they’re safe until 2022. Unless the populations of those states engage in recalls. That is not an option in NY State, unless Trump gets the Federal Southern District to induct Cuomo for conspiracy to violate the civil rights of nursing home patients.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  89. Jack D says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    First of all, no promises that oven sterilization works – YMMV, use at your own risk, etc.

    At this point, given what we know, I would be more concerned with damaging the filter capabilities of the mask vs. killing all the fomites that might be present on the surface of the mask. It would be my gut that 170F for 30 min is not enough heat to damage the filtering material (but enough to deactivate the viruses) but I wouldn’t swear to it.

    What would be REALLY nice would be for N95s to be in good supply again so that you could just order them on Amazon or pick them up at Home Depot (and not for 3X their former cost) but I guess that’s asking too much.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  90. Jack D says:
    @AnotherDad

    — Gross incompetence of a bunch of time-serving bureaucrats just enjoying their comfy sinecure.

    I vote for this one. Decades of affirmative action now ensure that we have the shittiest “elite” in all of American history. It was only a question of time before the chickens would come home to roost on over-promoting women and minorities. We are living in a dystopia – the “Secretary of Health” of Pennsylvania is a mentally ill man who dresses as a woman.

    In countries (e.g. S. Korea) where qualification is still tested up and down the line, they were able to control the outbreak. U. Cal getting rid of SATs is the last nail in the coffin. We are now well and truly a 3rd world country. Pretty soon the things we used to take for granted, like a steady electricity supply or the ability to drink the water from the faucet, we won’t be able to take for granted anymore. These things exist only in places where white or Fancy Asian males run the show.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  91. Bruno says:

    In February I was going out every night in Paris because I thought it would be better to get the Chinese virus early than when Hospitals would be overwhelmed.

    I did a serological test today (sensitivity 100%, specificity 96%) and I am negative .

    It was amusing to see that the physician biologist didn’t understand what the specificity entails for the individual who gets a positive result. I explained to her, to her bewilderment, that if in my population group prevalence were 4%, getting a positive result had as much information as flipping a coin.

    I’ve seen that people with symptoms in Paris were 20% positive. So for them, a positive result would give some information passing from 20% to 86%.

  92. anonymous[147] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon

    This move by the UC system is both Woke and US News rankings savvy:

    The number of college applicants, indeed the number of plausibly college ready 18-year-olds, just peaked and will now plummet nationwide. All colleges will have to become less selective in undergraduate admissions. By going SAT-optional now, the UCs lock in the stats of their median admitted SAT scores and 25th and 75th percentiles at a time when college admissions are most competitive. For at least several years, these numbers will go into US News‘ rankings calculator, while other schools who keep the SATs will see their SAT stats go down.

    • Replies: @res
  93. @Jack D

    Decades of affirmative action now ensure that we have the shittiest “elite” in all of American history.

    Yep.

    This is where we’re headed:

    Pretty soon the things we used to take for granted, like a steady electricity supply or the ability to drink the water from the faucet, we won’t be able to take for granted anymore.

    And don’t forget that Americans are less free now and likely will be traced, watched and regulated in the future, one way or another, with little group memory or understanding of the principles the country was founded on.

    The current drama feeds right into all these things, accelerates the breakdown and decay.

  94. @Jack D

    Don’t worry, your comment protects you from liability if my wife or I get sick. Nicely done, counselor, and thanks for the continued advice. I hope I don’t receive a bill for one hour of your time. LOL 🙂

    I’m ready to stop wearing the things anyway. Most every establishment has a sign announcing masks required, and we also do want to be polite to others, so we wear them, but we are beginning to wonder when we will stop. Masks must never become a “new normal.”

    Spring is here, summer on the way. Can anyone tell me why SARS-CoV-2 would not behave like all the other respiratory viruses that go away in warm sunshiny weather? I think it’s time to stop with this crap now.

    • Agree: Joseph Doaks
    • Replies: @Peterike
    , @res
  95. Peterike says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    “ Can anyone tell me why SARS-CoV-2 would not behave like all the other respiratory viruses that go away in warm sunshiny weather?”

    Because that would let Orange Man win. So we have to pretend things are otherwise.

    The more this goes on the more I’m convinced 90% of this is about getting Trump.

  96. The underground word had it that coronaviruses were too small, microns were involved supposedly, and so would get through the mesh of even an N-95 like water through a chain link fence.

    Bullshit. Masks work. Fact. They protect others especially, and they even protect you. Period.

  97. @TomSchmidt

    If there were outright insurrection in those states, the National Guard membership would likely be those on the streets, and active strength in CONUS is just not up to the task. It is a precarious situation in a nation with more guns than citizens, and yet they assume everyone will play by their rules.

  98. @Joe Stalin

    When people started spreading the word about sterilising masks, you started seeing articles about how you need far higher temperatures to inactivate COVID-19.

    https://www.newsweek.com/coronavirus-heat-kill-virus-1498074

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  99. @Sparkon

    “In the United States, many males are so insecure about their masculinity that they avoid any action, mannerism or apparel that somebody else might use to accuse them of being a wimp, sissy, faggot, girly boy and such, and I suggest mask-wearing falls into that category.”

    Perhaps. Or the scientific data prove healthy young men invulnerable to the bat AIDS and thus – employing their triple-digit IQ – they say no to the ugly, stifling facediaper.

    “But diaper-up for the old and sickly!” I hear you simp. Nah bro, the old can double-diaper: one for thee and one for me.

    Get Out Live Life!

    • Replies: @Sparkon
    , @anon
  100. Deckin says:
    @Hippopotamusdrome

    The worst thing about this video is the complete hackers in the background. Couldn’t they have found a couple of decent players with nice strokes to motivate people back to the courts? Hell I’d have preferred two 10 year olds with green-dot balls.

  101. @kihowi

    “weightlifting is a gateway to the alt right”

    It also opens the door to homosexuality.

    • Replies: @Bernard
  102. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    “should have put more effort into making up lists of questions for which approximate answers needed to be come up with fast to guide decisionmakers ”

    It’s almost as if the CDC and WHO learned nothing from dealing with the Swine Flu, the Bird Flu, Ebola, the West Nile virus, the Zika virus,…

  103. @Stephen Dodge

    “The coronavirus is a creature of God’s [sic]”

    You mean Yahweh. He’s a real bastard.

    • Replies: @Stephen Dodge
  104. res says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Can anyone tell me why SARS-CoV-2 would not behave like all the other respiratory viruses that go away in warm sunshiny weather?

    If that’s a serious question, I have discussed that in my seasonality comments. The answer is different R0s. From this comment:
    https://www.unz.com/isteve/where-to-worry-about-catching-covid-19-and-where-not-to/#comment-3904177

    To add some more perspective, the paper we were discussing elsewhere:
    Projecting the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 through the postpandemic period
    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/05/11/science.abb5793
    Had a seasonal model which assumed a COVID-19 wintertime R0 = 2.2 and summertime R0 = 1.3 (a 40% decline).

    If we assume the flu has a similar seasonal decline in R0 it is easy to see why it would go away in the summer.

    To flesh that out a bit more, R0 = 1.3 is high enough to keep spreading (> 1).

    The flu has a R0 around 1.5 . Reducing that 40% for summer would give 0.9 which is below 1 so it dies out.

    • Replies: @ic1000
  105. Redman says:
    @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    I agree with your aversion to masks (mouth diapers-they really do look that way) but I’m guessing you don’t live in NYC.

    This thing was clearly an overreaction (and now a hoax), but here in NY you can’t go into most stores without a mask. I’ve got a bandana, which permits some (limited) level of dignity.

    • Replies: @Coemgen
  106. Bernard says:

    As an infectious vector, it seems to me that gyms are among the very worst places. Heavy breathing, sweating and sharing equipment in close confines is a superb way for the virus to spread. I’m an open things up guy, but we need to look at each activity or business in a rational manner. The transmissibility in a gym is much greater than a restaurant, it’s not even close.

  107. Bernard says:
    @SunBakedSuburb

    “weightlifting is a gateway to the alt right”

    It also opens the door to homosexuality.

    Weightlifting as a gateway to homosexuality, never thought of that. It’s these kind of enlightened ideas that keep me coming back to ISteve.

    Kudos

  108. anonymous[849] • Disclaimer says:

    Right!

    There has been very little 80-20 thinking even though Pareto’s ratio is so often very helpful to improving thought. Very few people asked: okay, what are the 20% of activities that cause 80% of the spread.

    The 80/20 rule is one of the best rules to follow when all else fails.

    • Replies: @ic1000
  109. ic1000 says:
    @res

    res, a question about the influenza virus which may seem a bit obvious. The 1968/69 flu was H3N2, which was widespread. Apparently it returned in 1969/70, but was replaced by another type in 1970/71.

    Typically, then, what happens in the summer is that the R in the US falls to 0.9 or so, and influenza goes extinct? Then, via travel connections to the pig/duck/human reservoirs of East Asia, a new strain gains a foothold in the fall, expands in the winter, and contracts in the spring and summer, ending again in extinction?

    The four coronaviruses endemic to humans don’t share this pattern, I believe.

    • Replies: @res
  110. ic1000 says:
    @anonymous

    If the 80/20 rule applies to who spreads SARS-CoV-2 (and it appears it does), then design and deploy a fast, easy, cheap, insensitive saliva test to detect superspreaders.

    Spit into a tube, microfluidics, enzymes, onto a lateral flow (pregnancy test) readout. $5, half an hour, simple enough that the ticket agent or maitre d’ can do it.

    We can go to a game, dine out, attend a convention, knowing that risks of being exposed to a highly contagious individual are slight.

    $4 million prize, $3 million first runner-up, $2 million for bronze.

    Open up 90% of the country for the summer, at current/higher levels of safety.

    • Replies: @HA
    , @res
  111. Coemgen says:
    @Almost Missouri

    Where is the U.S. Congress? Why are both houses not providing oversight over the executive branch and demanding that all points of egress into the U.S. are blocked.

    Close the border now! If it saves one life; it is worth it.

  112. Sparkon says:
    @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    You seem to think that those of us practicing social distancing are huddled in our closets. Of course I speak only for myself, but yesterday the weather was fine in the S. California desert, with full sunshine, mild breeze and temperature around 95° F. I was out and up on my bike for a brisk 15 mile ride, sans mask, sans helmet, but wearing shades and gloves. I saw several other riders, but only one chubby guy hauling groceries was wearing a mask.

    I’m 73, IQ below 160, but I am smart enough to protect my own good health. I wear my mask and gloves only while shopping, or in situations where I expect to have close encounters with others.

    “Be careful … the life you save may be your own.”

    — Robert S. Walstrom, 1931

    Or it may be mine.

    There is this thing called civic responsibility. There is this other thing called The Tragedy of the Commons, which happens because of recalcitrant dimwits.

    Get Out Live Life!

    Your unneeded advice is a run on sentence in need of better punctuation.

    Finally, the only people who need a “mouth diaper” are those folks talking s**t.

    • Agree: FPD72
  113. Coemgen says:
    @Redman

    Surgical masks much more resemble a string bikini panty than they do a diaper.

  114. anon[355] • Disclaimer says:
    @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    Get Out Live Life!

    Or do as Omar the Troll does: whine on comments with no life!

    lol

  115. HA says:
    @ic1000

    “If the 80/20 rule applies to who spreads SARS-CoV-2 (and it appears it does), then design and deploy a fast, easy, cheap, insensitive saliva test to detect superspreaders.”

    According to an article in one of Steve’s earlier posts:

    People who eventually developed severe symptoms were more likely to transmit the disease to others than were those who had mild symptoms…

    My takeaway from that is that you should focus any superspreader dragnets on the elderly (and those with melanin/vitaminD and co-morbidity issues). At the very least, reverse-order the samples by apparent age and obesity, as recorded by the usher or ticket-taker, and you can then have the most relevant results ready to go before the entree is served.

  116. res says:
    @anonymous

    By going SAT-optional now, the UCs lock in the stats of their median admitted SAT scores and 25th and 75th percentiles at a time when college admissions are most competitive.

    This is a key point which I don’t think is discussed enough. I’m not sure how much flexibility UC has to play games with this given Prop 209, but making the SAT optional opens all sorts of opportunities for playing games. If you are someone they want (NAM OR, say, a legacy or influential person) then you get in with no impact to the SAT stats and no paper trail of how obviously unprepared the applicant is.

  117. Anon[849] • Disclaimer says:

    Instead, rather than saying, sure, lockdowns were dumb things to do but we were so ignorant at that moment that that was all we could come up with, much of the MSM has doubled down on the idea that lockdowns are a smart thing to do, then, now, and into the indefinite future.

    Surprised to see this. Locking things down for a few weeks did seem to slow the spread of infection. Places that didn’t lock down early show higher infection and death rates. The conventional epidemiological view before the rona was that “lock-downs don’t work”, along with “masks don’t work” and “travel bans don’t work”. But limiting interactions between people; preventing infected people from moving around and seeding new infections (who knew that borders work?); and preventing sputum from being ejected and inhaled by others obviously slows down the spread of a new, unknown, respiratory disease.

    My biggest fear about the current politically motivated commentary around lock-downs, largely designed to get someone re-elected, is that when the next pandemic, which is more likely to be influenza than another coronavirus, happens, lots of people are going to fall back to their 2020 ideologically prepped Covid positions, and it’s going to rip through the population.

    The governments and disciplined residents of Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong learned from previous epidemics and responded quickly so they didn’t need to lock down (Singapore relied on an anti-masking westerner to drive its response, and paid the price). Western countries will probably fall into rancorous debate and dither out of fear of upsetting business interests or whatever remains of the trollosphere. “Lockdowns don’t work” will become the new “masks don’t work”, and lots of people will die before the lessons are learned again.

    • Replies: @anon
  118. res says:
    @ic1000

    Superspreader probably has more to do with social connectivity than infectiousness. Though both play a role.

    • Replies: @ic1000
  119. res says:
    @ic1000

    Good questions. First, H3N2 has been back since 1970. In another comment I discussed how it seemed to cause trouble in 2016-17 (IIRC, search my comments for H3N2 if interested). This page with flu vaccine formulations since 1999 gives an idea of what is usually circulating each year. Notice how variants of H1N1 (1918) and H3N2 (1968) appear in each years vaccine.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_annual_reformulations_of_the_influenza_vaccine

    Typically, then, what happens in the summer is that the R in the US falls to 0.9 or so, and influenza goes extinct? Then, via travel connections to the pig/duck/human reservoirs of East Asia, a new strain gains a foothold in the fall, expands in the winter, and contracts in the spring and summer, ending again in extinction?

    I really don’t know much about that. I don’t have time to look for references right now, but there should be papers discussing it. Or does anyone here know more about how that works?

    The four coronaviruses endemic to humans don’t share this pattern, I believe.

    Which part of the pattern? They do tend to be seasonal, right?

    • Replies: @ic1000
  120. anon[123] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon

    The governments and disciplined residents of Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong

    Are culturally homogeneous, with a government that actually likes its people, and no minority groups that carry around a perpetual grudge against the rest of the people.

    Western countries will probably fall into rancorous debate and dither out of fear of upsetting business interests or whatever remains of the trollosphere.

    There’s more to it than that, but “not the boss of ME” is part of it.

  121. @SunBakedSuburb

    Lots of guys owe the fact that they were able to reproduce to the fact that a plague had wiped out much of their competition.

    Tough on the women and on the kids, who had to deal with “loser spouse” and “loser dad”.

  122. @Anonymous

    — What’s the point of “cover your mouth when you cough”? Just droplets on surfaces? Really?

    — What’s the point of “six feet apart”? There’s simply no point to that recommendation–which is their core recommendation–except for respiratory spread.

    Respiratory spread is not news.

    People have known that someone coughing out gunk was a source for you to “catch” their cough for … well … basically forever.

    Everything you have written above is consistent with surface contact’s being the primary—even exclusive—means of transmission.

    For example, there would be a higher concentration of droplets on surfaces (even your own body surface) that are within six feet of someone who is sick.

    Genius! Sure it’s consistent… if you ignore common sense and everything we know about respiratory disease.

    It could have been that spread was primarily through mucus or saliva or sweat onto surfaces, surfaces to fingers, fingers to face, eyes, lips into mouth … on into lungs. And “six feet apart” was just to mop up the other say 20% of respiratory spread.

    However once you say “six feet apart” you’re talking respiratory spread.

    Your “droplets on surfaces” would then have to go onto your fingers, and onto your face and into your mouth or nose or eyes–a much, much more convoluted path, then just … breathing the droplets in! And … a path that isn’t broken by “six feet apart” because of the time element. (A guy breathes out in the chip aisle at Walmart. Then i come by a minute later–40 feet from the guy!–and pick up those Cantina Style chips, with the virus rider.)

    Furthermore even if your “droplets on surfaces” path matters … then you need masks so the droplets don’t get there!

    Sorry, case closed. Once you push “six feet apart” as important, you’re specifically say that the virus is breathed out–in cough, sneeze, or breath. And once you say that then masks are the method to stop it.

  123. Anonymous[416] • Disclaimer says: • Website
    @Mr McKenna

    Something strange about that Governor Whitmer. IDK, can’t quite put my finger on it. Who is her surgeon?

    Animatronics? Animated embalming? CGI? Also, what’s the deal with single-issue crazy women named Greta/Gretchen?

  124. Anonymous[146] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Alarmist

    When people started spreading the word about sterilising masks, you started seeing articles about how you need far higher temperatures to inactivate COVID-19.

    Why was that?

  125. ic1000 says:
    @res

    > Superspreader probably has more to do with social connectivity than infectiousness.

    I’d rank order them the other way, discussing some reasons why in this May 10th comment. It links to an informative “Christmas tree” figure of patients’ viral loads from a preprint from Christian Drosten’s lab. It’s the second illustration in the Erin Bromage post that Steve was discussing.

    I’d be very interested in references that dive into this question.

    • Replies: @res
  126. ic1000 says:
    @res

    > Which part of the pattern? [Endemic coronaviruses] do tend to be seasonal, right?

    By “pattern” I meant the idea that the influenza virus in North America goes extinct most summers, with the next year’s infections due to new imports from reservoirs in East Asia. (If that is indeed true.)

    The best paper (HIVE study from Ann Arbor) says that all four endemic human coronaviruses are highly seasonal.

    • Replies: @res
  127. res says:
    @ic1000

    Both influenza and coronavirus are highly seasonal, right? So similar in that regard.

    Which leaves the issue of the reservoir supplying the new infections as the only difference, right?

    I don’t know much about how the reservoir causing the new season works for either case. Do you?

    So I am still not seeing where you are saying they are different.

    If I am misunderstanding you, please elaborate.

    • Replies: @ic1000
  128. Several outlets are carrying a story this morning about “cognitive ability” and “vulnerability to fake news.” The gist: the experimental group was told that a nurse stole drugs, sold them on the side, and used the proceeds to buy designer clothes. They were then asked questions to indicate their trust in said nurse. The participants were then told, just kidding, the nurse didn’t do any of those bad things. They were then asked more questions to indicate their trust in said nurse. The control group was asked the same set of questions, but never given negative info about the nurse. The researchers’ findings: those who scored low on a cognitive test were less likely to discard the initial negative info. That is, those with low cognitive ability are less likely to be able to shed the effect of fake news after it’s revealed to be fake.

    Now the issues. First, the “cognitive test” is elsewhere referred to as a “personality test.” The article is paywalled so I don’t know exactly what was asked. Given the politicization of the topic of fake news, I’m guessing the test is designed to equate “low cognitive ability” with “badwhiteness.” I doubt the researchers would admit a belief in IQ. Second, those of “low cognitive ability” apparently are the ones who fail to take the authority (researchers) at total faith on their word every time they update with contradictory statements. We could call them Eurasia deniers. Does that sound like any topic of recent importance?

    So if my suspicions about the cognitive test are correct, “those of low cognitive ability are susceptible to fake news” boils down to “badwhites mistrust self-contradictory researchers who are right on their own say so.”

    • Replies: @res
  129. ic1000 says:
    @res

    With the IANAV (… not a virologist) disclaimer, my understanding is that the influenza virus’ polymerase has poor proofreading, thus allowing high mutation rates and rapid changes to coat protein antigens.

    While coronaviruses do proofread; the four human endemic strains seem quite stable, over the years.

    In North America, the influenza strains that infect millions November through March diminish in the spring, then seem to go extinct in the summer (R<1). The next wave is initiated by new viruses (recombined/mutated) from the East Asia reservoirs.

    Whereas the North American endemic coronaviruses persist through the summer, without causing many respiratory issues. The resurgence of symptoms in the fall is due to an increase in R, and to factors that exacerbate the virus' effects (perhaps lower humidity and less sunlight-driven vitamin D).

    These are the differences I see, though I could put question marks after most of those statements.

    • Replies: @res
  130. res says:
    @ic1000

    > Superspreader probably has more to do with social connectivity than infectiousness.

    I’d rank order them the other way, discussing some reasons why in this May 10th comment.

    Thanks for an interesting conversation. From your comment:

    Some people had 1,000 virus particles per [unit of respiratory secretion tested], while others had over 10,000,000,000 viruses/unit.

    That is indeed a huge difference, but what is the right metric to compare infectiousness? I would make the following argument indicating social connectivity matters MUCH more than infectiousness.

    The number of people infected by any one person (basically, R0) varies based on two quantities (assume the population is naive to the virus at this point) multiplied together.

    1. The number of people encountered.
    2. The proportion of people encountered who become infected.

    The viral load affects 2. Any thoughts on what a distribution for that looks like? I assume it is highly nonlinear with viral load (e.g. both a floor and a ceiling outside of which there is not much change). In any case it is bounded between 0 and 100%.

    Social connectivity affects 1. There are subtleties here about what kind of contacts there are, but to first order I think we can consider this linear with the number of people encounters. From the paper linked in this comment:
    https://www.unz.com/isteve/how-exactly-is-herd-immunity-supposed-to-work/#comment-3899765

    Either extrapolate that graph out to a one in a hundred million worldwide networker (say 1000x the connections of a typical person) or alternatively just think about how many people a sociable person attending conferences/parties in multiple places and traveling through airports and subways in the process might encounter.

    Obviously both factors matter and the worst case is someone who is both highly infectious and highly socially connected (a “super-duper-spreader”? ; ). It is just that I think infectiousness is varying across something like an order of magnitude or two (despite viral load varying over 7 orders of magnitude) while social connectivity might be varying over three orders of magnitude or more. And this magnifies at second and third degree connectivity if the highly connected tend to associate (which I think is very much reality). Note that if you start looking at second and third degree connectivity what really matters is how many separate large social groups one person has connections with.

    I’d be very interested in references that dive into this question.

    Agreed. I took a quick look but had trouble finding references considering both factors. This seemed to touch on it, but not in a way I found helpful.
    Evolution of pathogens towards low R0 in heterogeneous populations
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1919410/

    The restriction to evolution of pathogens with fixed transmissibility per act is a device to explore the consequences of allowing pathogen exploitation of host heterogeneity to evolve, and is not a real restriction on possible directions of pathogen evolution. It is used here to illustrate how the relationship between demographics and transmission characteristics is vital to understanding disease evolution—transmission characteristics alone are insufficient, as, in the absence of disease control, any pattern of potentially infectious contacts (the “social network”) plus transmission probabilities per contact that generates the same pattern of truly infectious contacts (the “epidemiological network”) will have the same characteristics (Kao et al., 2006). It has been suggested (Frank, 1996) that endemic diseases favour prolonged infectious periods (in this case, more homogeneous transmission characteristics) at the expense of viral replicative fitness (more heterogeneous transmission characteristics), while epidemic diseases favour the converse. However, here it has been shown that regions of local stability exist for both strategies that depend only on the demographic parameters, and not on the disease prevalence or whether the disease is endemic (SIS) or epidemic (SIR), implying that both strategies are potentially viable. Taking into account exploitable heterogeneities in the population, epidemic diseases can potentially evolve to lower viral replication rates and longer infectious periods, and endemic diseases the converse. Real pathogens, of course, will have limitations on their evolution not considered in this model (Brander and Walker, 2003), and the epidemiological consequences must be viewed in the context of both within-host and between-host considerations.

    • Replies: @ic1000
  131. res says:
    @ic1000

    IANAV either. That said, the main issues I see with your coronavirus explanation are:

    – How does the coronavirus maintain itself over the summer unless their typical R0 is significantly higher than the flu? Perhaps it is and it is just that the typical coronavirus is at the more contagious/less deadly end of the spectrum. Which fits in with the differences between typical cold and flu.

    – How do we avoid establishing herd immunity over time? Either the coronavirus has to mutate far enough to minimize cross-immunity or we have to lose immunity rapidly. I suppose either or both of those could be true.

    You might be right, but it would be good to see some in-depth looks at this.

  132. res says:
    @Alan Mercer

    The paper is available at Sci-Hub. I think this captures what you wanted to know.

    2.2. Procedure
    The experiment was conducted online. After responding to the control measures (i.e. need for closure and right-wing authoritarianism), participants were randomly assigned to either the experimental or control condition. In the experimental condition, participants were presented with a picture and description of a young women, named Nathalie. In this description, general information about Nathalie was provided, such as that she is married and works as a nurse in a hospital. At the end of the description, it reads that ‘Nathalie was arrested for stealing drugs from the hospital; she has been stealing drugs for 2 years and selling them on the street in order to buy designer clothes’. After completing three control questions, participants were asked to evaluate Nathalie on several dimensions, and to complete a measure of cognitive ability. Next, participants saw an explicit message on their screen stating that the information regarding the stealing and dealing of drugs was not true. Subsequently, participants were again presented with the picture and description of Nathalie, showing exactly the same information as before, but with the incorrect piece of information in a strikethrough typography. Then participants were asked to evaluate Nathalie again, knowing that she was not arrested and did not steal and sell drugs.
    In the control condition, participants were presented with the same photo and description as in the experimental condition, but without the final paragraph about the arrest for stealing and dealing of drugs.

    2.3. Measures

    2.3.1. Attitudes

    To assess participants’ attitudes towards the target person, we asked participants to indicate (on sliders ranging from 0 to 100) how they felt towards Nathalie on four general dimensions: negative versus positive, cold versus warm, hostile versus friendly, and unfavorable versus favorable. Additionally, participants were also asked to rate Nathalie on four more specific dimensions: untrustworthy versus trustworthy, insincere versus sincere, contemptuous versus respectful and unintelligent versus intelligent using the same 0 to 100 sliders. The scores on these eight dimensions were combined into a reliable scale (Control condition: Cronbach α = 0.96; Experimental condition – initial evaluation: Cronbach α = 0.90, second evaluation: Cronbach α = 0.97).

    2.3.2. Cognitive ability

    As a measure of cognitive ability, we used a 10-item vocabulary subtest from the WAIS. In this subtest, participants are presented with a target word and are asked to select the word from a list of five words that comes closest to the meaning of the target word (Cronbach α = 0.67, M = 6.96, SD = 1.90). The participant’s score on this test was used as measure of his/her cognitive ability. Although the use of a subscale to measure cognitive ability may be less informative than fullfledged intelligence tests (see De keersmaecker et al., 2017), such tests tapping into a specific aspect of intelligence can be a valid alternative when administration of broad IQ tests are not feasible. Indeed, this particular vocabulary test is frequently used as a proxy of cognitive ability or intelligence in social sciences (e.g. Caplan & Miller, 2010; Carl, 2015), and vocabulary knowledge is highly related to general intelligence (Pearson, 2012).

    The cognitive ability test sounds like Wordsum.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wordsum
    https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/wordsum-and-iq-and-the-correlation

    • Thanks: Alan Mercer
  133. ic1000 says:
    @res

    I looked around some more, and found two popular press articles that discussed heterogeneity in generic and thus not-very-useful terms. One led to a good 2005 Nature article focused on SARS.

    [MORE]

    This not-paywalled NYT article from April 13th, Why Are Some People So Much More Infectious Than Others? describes multiple incidents of SARS-CoV-2 superspreading, but without insight into the social connectivity vs. infectiousness question. Sharp but p.c. science reporter Gina Kolata’s conclusion did make me smile:

    As grimly alluring as it is to look for viral superspreaders, there are pitfalls.

    There is a good chance that a cluster of infections would be attributed to a superspreader when, instead, public health officials missed some transmissions by other people, Dr. Zelner said. And there are social consequences to superspreader stories.

    “The nature of our society right now is that we are very much interested in the catastrophic,” said Samuel K. Roberts, a medical historian at Columbia. “The best way to do that is to have something that looks like a zombie story. It’s a powerful narrative.”

    The general public doesn’t need to know if an outbreak was traced to one person, he said.

    “What’s more important is, How do we protect ourselves?” he said. “Finding patient zero is not going to help. It only stokes fear of the other.”

    Penn State entomologist Elizabeth McGraw had a more perceptive article in The Conversation back on January 30th, What is a super spreader? An infectious disease expert explains. McGraw catalogs pre-Covid-19 superspreader incidents: Typhoid Mary, measles, SARS, and MERS. In noting “Some scientists estimate that in any given outbreak, 20% of the population is usually responsible for causing over 80% of all cases of the disease,” McGraw lists this 2005 commentary from Nature by Alison Galvani & Robert May, Dimensions of superspreading. Galvani and May are reviewing the same issue’s article by Lloyd-Smith et al., Superspreading and the effect of individual variation on disease emergence.

    Galvani & May reprint the informative figure, Heterogeneity in infectiousness for a range of diseases:

    [Link, if the image doesn’t appear.]

    [Epidemiologists’] observations led to the proposal of the 20/80 rule, which suggests that roughly 20% of the most infectious individuals are responsible for 80% of the transmission… The superspreading that seemed to fuel the 2003 SARS epidemic was largely treated as anomalous in most models, but it highlighted the need for a reassessment of heterogeneous infectiousness.

    And:

    [Lloyd-Smith and authors] highlight the practical implications of their work. Control efforts should aim to identify the highly infectious superspreaders, and target vaccination or other interventions at them. In this way, the outbreak may be halted sooner, and with fewer people treated, than if efforts are directed at random individuals. Furthermore, Lloyd-Smith et al. distinguish between individual-specific and population-wide control measures (for example isolating individual patients as opposed to advising an entire population to reduce the behaviours associated with transmission). They show that individual-specific strategies are more likely to exterminate an emerging disease than population-wide interventions, because the former increase heterogeneity in infectiousness.

    Yet again, and not terribly surprisingly, SARS-2 seems to be following in the footsteps of SARS.

    • Replies: @res
  134. res says:
    @ic1000

    Thanks for following up! Good stuff!

    I think this excerpt from Galvani and May offers support for my emphasis on social connectivity (analogous to partner acquisition rate).

    There are also differences between the work of Lloyd-Smith et al. and work on heterogeneities in contact patterns. Given that contact rates govern the likelihood both of becoming infected and of passing on infection, models based on heterogeneous contact rates have assumed perfect correlation between infectiousness and susceptibility. Consider HIV/AIDS, where in the simplest case R0=βDc, with β being the transmission probability (a measure of the infectiousness of an infected individual), D the duration of the infectiousness, and c the average rate at which new sexual partners are acquired. Heterogeneities among individuals with respect to β or in D do not directly affect R0 as such: the quantities β and D enter the dynamic equations linearly, and the appropriate values for estimating R0 are just the simple averages.

    By contrast, the distribution of partner-acquisition rates enters nonlinearly; those with more partners are more likely to acquire infection by virtue of their higher activity, and they are also more likely to transmit infection. Consequently, the epidemiologically appropriate ‘average partner-acquisition rate’, c, is not the mean of the distribution, but rather the mean-square divided by the mean. An incorrect result is obtained for R0 when the average of the partner-acquisition or contact distribution is used. (This observation, incidentally, helps explain how large geographical variation in HIV incidence can arise from differences in the tails of such distributions.) In contrast, Lloyd-Smith et al. evaluate heterogeneity in overall R0 (integrating all contributing factors), and assume that infectiousness is not correlated with susceptibility. As they note, the reality probably lies somewhere in between, with some intermediate level of correlation between infectiousness and susceptibility.

    MUCH more below.

    [MORE]

    Consider the implications of the variance blowing up for most power laws in nature: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_law#Lack_of_well-defined_average_value

    This has useful practical implications:

    Cohen et al.13 formulated a seemingly paradoxical method for achieving this aim, without directly identifying the active individuals. This procedure is based on the realization that one’s contacts will on average be more highly connected within a contact network than oneself, simply by virtue of being a contact. Thus, highly connected individuals can be identified for intervention by first picking individuals at random, and then selecting randomly among their acquaintances. In this way, highly connected individuals are identified with minimal effort. Moreover, this procedure can be carried out either before or after an outbreak.

    Note that the 20/80 rule is a power law which I think supports the idea of social connectivity being important. Though I don’t know if viral load (and resultant infectiousness) follows a similar distribution.
    https://www.qimacros.com/lean-six-sigma-articles/pareto-power-law/
    Assuming the relationship holds through the distribution, note how they translate the 20/80 rule into a 4-50 rule which I think is even more powerful to think about. And it is actually even stronger than those numbers. The real rule is 4-64 (0.2^2 – 0.8^2). Taken to another level we have (0.2^3 – 0.8^3) or 0.008 – 0.512. So less than 1% of the people cause over 50% of the transmission. And as discussed above, these are also the people most likely to become infected first.

    Social connectivity isn’t a pure power law, but hopefully this makes clear why I focus on it.

    Lloyd-Smith et al. is more mathematically intense and has four supplemental PDFs. It will take some time to understand, but I think it is worth trying to do so. Looking at panel a of Figure 1 we can see the long tail characteristic of a power law (21 and 23 cases). Their best fit appears to be a negative binomial (circles), but I don’t know how that compares to a power law in the tail. Not sure if this is relevant or helpful:
    https://stats.stackexchange.com/questions/5058/is-there-any-relation-between-power-law-and-negative-binomial-distribution

    Also notice how panels b-d all show SARS as having the strongest heterogeneity.

    Notice Figure 2 and the surrounding text discussing individual variation and probability of extinction. High variation seems to make extinction more likely which might be good news for COVID-19.

    For outbreaks avoiding stochastic extinction, epidemic growth rates strongly depend on variation in ν (Fig. 2c and Supplementary Fig. 2e, f). Diseases with high individual variation show infrequent but explosive epidemics after introduction of a single case. This pattern recalls SARS in 2003, for which many settings experienced no epidemic despite unprotected exposure to SARS cases27,28, whereas a few cities suffered explosive outbreaks8,9,10,15,26. Our results, using k̂ = 0.16 for SARS, explain this simply by the presence or absence of high-ν individuals in the early generations of each outbreak6. In contrast, conventional models (with k = 1 or k → ∞) cannot simultaneously generate frequent failed invasions and rapid growth rates without additional, subjective model structure.

    They go on to compare individual control with population-wide control:

    Consider the effect of control effort c, where c = 0 reflects no control and c = 1 reflects complete blockage of transmission. Under population-wide control, the infectiousness of every individual in the population is reduced by a factor c (that is, for all individuals). Under random, individual-specific control, a proportion c of infected individuals (chosen at random) is traced and isolated completely such that they cause zero infections (that is for a proportion c of infected individuals, and for the rest). Individual-specific control raises the degree of heterogeneity in the outbreak as measured by the variance-to-mean ratio of Z, whereas population-wide control reduces heterogeneity. Both approaches yield effective reproductive number R = (1 – c)R0, so the threshold control effort for guaranteed disease extinction is c ≥ 1 – 1/R0 as in conventional models. For intermediate values of c, however, the individual-specific approach always works better (Fig. 3a and Supplementary Fig. 3a, b), consistent with our finding that higher variation favours disease extinction (Fig. 2b).

    I think it is worth noting that c is analogous to herd immunity here. Notice how the R = (1-c)Ro equation resembles the herd immunity R = (1 -% infected)R0 equation. I don’t know how c and %infected interact (additive, multiplicative, ?), but it seems reasonable to postulate an equation of the form R = (1 – (c + %infected))R0. More accurately: R = (1 – f(c, %infected))R0

    In the Supplementary Material

    1.1 Factors contributing to variation in infectiousness
    Has a good discussion of what causes individual variation in infectiousness.

    2.1 Candidate models for the offspring distribution
    Justifies their choice of candidate distributions. I think this is relevant and adds support for the power law variance blowing up being potentially important. Note from Figure 1c k for SARS was 0.02! Also see Figure 3b.

    In all three candidate models, the population mean of the offspring distribution is R0. The variance-to-mean ratio differs significantly, however, equalling 1 for the Poisson distribution, 1+R0 for the geometric distribution, and 1+R0/k for the negative binomial distribution.

    2.5.2 Relative efficacy of control policies
    Gives much more detail on the individual-specific vs. population-wide control policies.

    2.5.3 Control policies—simulations
    Gives more detail on the simulations used for Figures 3c and 3d.

    Figure 3c is worth spending some time on. Notice how much k affects the probability of containment with no interventions at all (disease dying out on its own). Then notice how much less control needs to be applied for targeted individual-specific control (dashed lines) compared to random individual-specific (dotted lines) or population-wide (solid lines) controls. The figure captions have more detail, but this comment is long enough already.

    Supplementary Fig 1. Prediction of SSE frequency
    Has an interesting look at the proportion of cases expected to cause super spreading events versus R and the dispersion parameter k.

    Supplementary Figure 3. Impact of control measures.
    Gives a look at the issues in Figure 3 from other perspectives.

    Supplementary Table 1. Summary of model selection and parameter estimation for transmission data from uncontrolled outbreaks
    Gives numerical values for the negative binomial parameters (e.g. R0 and k) for each disease studied.

    Have you engaged with Lloyd-Smith et al. in detail? I think it would be worthwhile to spend some time discussing it further if you are interested.

    Thanks again!

    • Thanks: ic1000
    • Replies: @res
  135. res says:
    @res

    I looked into this a bit more. Some notes.

    People use two different parameterizations for the negative binomial distribution. Some excerpts from the R help page for the distribution.

    The negative binomial distribution with size = n and prob = p …
    The mean is μ = n(1-p)/p and variance n(1-p)/p^2.

    An alternative parametrization (often used in ecology) is by the mean mu (see above), and size, the dispersion parameter, where prob = size/(size+mu). The variance is mu + mu^2/size in this parametrization.

    The paper you referenced used the second (ecology) parameterization.
    Lloyd-Smith et al. 2005
    Superspreading and the effect of individual variation on disease emergence.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/nature04153

    (3) in a more general formulation, we let n be gamma-distributed with mean R0
    and dispersion parameter k, yielding Z ~ negative binomial(R0,k) (ref. 23). The negative binomial model includes the conventional Poisson (k -> infinity) and geometric (k = 1) models as special cases. It has variance R0(1 + R0/k), so smaller values of k indicate greater heterogeneity.

    More on the different parameterizations.
    https://wiki.analytica.com/index.php?title=Negative_binomial_distribution

    Here is an analysis of COVID-19 spread using this distribution.
    Estimating the overdispersion in COVID-19 transmission using outbreak sizes outside China
    https://cmmid.github.io/topics/covid19/overdispersion-from-outbreaksize.html
    https://akira-endo.github.io/COVID19_clustersize/COVID19_clustersize.html

    They conclude:

    For the likely range of R0>2 , the overdispersion parameter k was estimated to be around 0.1, suggesting that the majority of secondary transmission is caused by a very small fraction of individuals (80% of transmissions caused by ~10% of the total cases) (Liu et al.30462-1)). This suggests that the effective reproduction number could be drastically reduced by interventions targeting potential superspreading events.

    0.1 is a significantly larger (less heterogeneity) k than the 0.02 we see in Figure 1c of Lloyd-Smith et al. 2005 for SARS. I will use this as the k estimate going forward since I consider it more conservative. I use the CDC center estimate of R0 = 2.5 for the mean.

    I looked at an example distribution in R. The tail is not as fat as a power law by a significant margin.

    data1 <- dnbinom(0:100,0.1,mu=2.5)
    # Look at on log-log plot to compare to power law (which would be a straight line)
    plot(data1, type="b", log="xy")

    That said, it is probably better to use the negative binomial distribution for the following reasons.
    – The variance of the distribution does not blow up.
    – More conservative estimate of heterogeneity than a power law.
    – Theoretical justification as discussed in Lloyd-Smith et al. 2005.
    – Used by others in epidemiology.

    You can visualize the distribution in Wolfram Alpha, but it uses the other parameterization so conversion is necessary.
    n = r = size = dispersion = 0.1
    p = size/(size+mu) = 0.1 / (0.1 + 2.5) = 0.03846

    https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=negative+binomial+distribution+with+n%3D0.1+p%3D0.03846

    One thing I think worth mentioning. Both this distribution and the empirical results from Lloyd-Smith et al. 2005 for SARS indicate about 70% of infected individuals don’t infect anyone else.

    Anyone have any thoughts on any of this?

    • Thanks: ic1000
    • Replies: @ic1000
  136. ic1000 says:
    @res

    res, I am embarrassed to say that most of this math is over my head. But there are a few things that struck me.

    > [Cohen et al.’s] procedure [for efficient/partial contact tracing] is based on the realization that one’s contacts will on average be more highly connected within a contact network than oneself, simply by virtue of being a contact. Thus, highly connected individuals can be identified for intervention by first picking individuals at random, and then selecting randomly among their acquaintances. In this way, highly connected individuals are identified with minimal effort. Moreover, this procedure can be carried out either before or after an outbreak.

    This is indeed paradoxical — that insight into the applicability of a power-law (or negative-binomial) distribution could lead to this random/random guide for identifying key nodes, as a substitute for old-fashioned shoe-leather contact tracing. If I’m understanding this and Fig 3c right.

    As to the relative importance of “social connectivity” and “viral shedding,” the biology has to be a major determinant. If the shedding by an infected individual varies over six orders of magnitude, as appears to be the case, how can this be relatively insignificant? (In a more science-driven society, this issue would attract more intention, given the practicality of developing cheap, fast, insensitive POC tests.)

    Appreciate the link to Wolfram Alpha for similar reasons. If that distribution is true for SARS-Cov-2, and ~70% of infected people are not contagious, while 10% cause 80%… can we ID those 10%? Duh!

    Though here in Blue State Rust Belt City, I don’t see much interest in contact tracing. Get tested if you’re sick or if you’re a worrier.

    Also points out the sorts of clinical experiments that are needed to verify and parameterize the model for this disease. E.g. “how consistent is the time course of viral shedding?” If the pattern is more or less stable and more or less the same from patient to patient, care can be improved while expending fewer resources.

    A related shedding issue is that PCR tests quantitate viral genomes, while viable viruses are what’s important for contagion. Early on, the assumption was that the two are more or less the same, but that no longer seems to be the case. Understanding of the time course and patient-to-patient variability would be helpful… and perhaps a better “contagion” test could be developed.

  137. Anon87 says:
    @Mr McKenna

    Botox and filler. I’ve heard women break it down, and I ask how they can tell; “look at her forehead, it’s like glass!” They also get bitchy about her wine paunch. Women can certainly be cruel.

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