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On the Other Hand: Ioannidis's Critique of the Lockdown vs. My Response: LET'S GET the DATA
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Update: Here is Gregory Cochran’s response to Professor Ioannidis’s prediction of only 1% infected in the U.S.

From STAT:

A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data

By JOHN P.A. IOANNIDIS MARCH 17, 2020

Ioannidis is the highly respected Stanford epidemiologist / statistician whose 2005 paper “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False” has been immensely influential on what is now known as the Replication Crisis.

The current coronavirus disease, Covid-19, has been called a once-in-a-century pandemic. But it may also be a once-in-a-century evidence fiasco.

At a time when everyone needs better information, from disease modelers and governments to people quarantined or just social distancing, we lack reliable evidence on how many people have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 or who continue to become infected. Better information is needed to guide decisions and actions of monumental significance and to monitor their impact.

Draconian countermeasures have been adopted in many countries. If the pandemic dissipates — either on its own or because of these measures — short-term extreme social distancing and lockdowns may be bearable. How long, though, should measures like these be continued if the pandemic churns across the globe unabated? How can policymakers tell if they are doing more good than harm?

Vaccines or affordable treatments take many months (or even years) to develop and test properly. Given such timelines, the consequences of long-term lockdowns are entirely unknown.

The data collected so far on how many people are infected and how the epidemic is evolving are utterly unreliable. Given the limited testing to date, some deaths and probably the vast majority of infections due to SARS-CoV-2 are being missed. We don’t know if we are failing to capture infections by a factor of three or 300. Three months after the outbreak emerged, most countries, including the U.S., lack the ability to test a large number of people and no countries have reliable data on the prevalence of the virus in a representative random sample of the general population.

Emil O W Kirkegaard asks: “Why don’t they do random sampling tests for Corona? Same as they do polls for elections. Do them every day, 1000 representative people. Why not? Surely, the governments of the world can figure out how to do random sampling and get those 1000 tests done.”

Everyday in my neighborhood, for example, there are lots of families out on the sidewalks during the day. People are carrying on cheerful conversations from 10 feet apart.Community feeling is strong. Publicize on neighborhood websites like Nextdoor.com that an official survey will be done by testers in white coats walking door to door on Saturday. They’ll do the test on your front porch without coming into your house. Each survey person was tested on Friday and proved negative. You could quickly get a local fairly random sample (say 10 people in each of 100 neighborhoods — or do we need 10,000 people?

It could be that the virus is more widespread than assumed, which would suggest the death rate is lower. Or it could be that it’s still rare, which would be useful to know.

Let’s make this random testing happen.

Here’s computer guru Danny Hillis saying the same thing.

Let’s test in the Seattle area this weekend. Seattle is not lacking in high-profile billionaires, such as Gates, Bezos, or Schulz, who can write a check to cover it.

We can do this.

This evidence fiasco creates tremendous uncertainty about the risk of dying from Covid-19. Reported case fatality rates, like the official 3.4% rate from the World Health Organization, cause horror — and are meaningless. Patients who have been tested for SARS-CoV-2 are disproportionately those with severe symptoms and bad outcomes. As most health systems have limited testing capacity, selection bias may even worsen in the near future.

The one situation where an entire, closed population was tested was the Diamond Princess cruise ship and its quarantine passengers. The case fatality rate there was 1.0%, but this was a largely elderly population, in which the death rate from Covid-19 is much higher.

Projecting the Diamond Princess mortality rate onto the age structure of the U.S. population, the death rate among people infected with Covid-19 would be 0.125%. But since this estimate is based on extremely thin data — there were just seven deaths among the 700 infected passengers and crew — the real death rate could stretch from five times lower (0.025%) to five times higher (0.625%).

Perhaps. Or it could turn out that the Diamond Princess was a fortuitous environment and an Italian scenario is more common. Or it could turn out that one of these new treatments works and the death rate a month from now is even lower. Or many other possibilities. At this point, the future is unwritten.

A big issue is what we might call Data Hygiene. For example, Italy has a high death rate while, so far, Germany has a low death rate. Is that due to actual differences or due to methodological differences in how numbers are reported? I don’t have a clue, but somebody out there has a clue, so we should listen to them.

… Adding these extra sources of uncertainty, reasonable estimates for the case fatality ratio in the general U.S. population vary from 0.05% to 1%.

1% case fatality rate of 60% infected is about 2 million deaths.

On the other hand, another way to measure this is years lost. For example, I’m 61. I don’t have all that many years left, and I’ve enjoyed a fine life. It’s not that big of a tragedy if this thing takes me down. (On the other hand, personally speaking, I’m very much against that outcome, so I’m washing/sanitizing my hands 60 times per day and turning on and off light switches with my elbow.)

If this is only going to kill or maim us old folks, well, that’s not so bad. But … how much statistical confidence we can have in the age structure of the effects is vague. Moreover, would this novel disease condemn many people in the prime of life to major lung problems from this point onward? At present, who knows?

That huge range markedly affects how severe the pandemic is and what should be done. A population-wide case fatality rate of 0.05% is lower than seasonal influenza. If that is the true rate, locking down the world with potentially tremendous social and financial consequences may be totally irrational. …

… If we assume that case fatality rate among individuals infected by SARS-CoV-2 is 0.3% in the general population — a mid-range guess from my Diamond Princess analysis — and that 1% of the U.S. population gets infected (about 3.3 million people), this would translate to about 10,000 deaths. This sounds like a huge number, but it is buried within the noise of the estimate of deaths from “influenza-like illness.”

On the other hand, other estimates have been a 60% infection rate before herd immunity kicks in.

It’s hard to say.

Some worry that the 68 deaths from Covid-19 in the U.S. as of March 16 will increase exponentially to 680, 6,800, 68,000, 680,000 … along with similar catastrophic patterns around the globe. Is that a realistic scenario, or bad science fiction? How can we tell at what point such a curve might stop?

The most valuable piece of information for answering those questions would be to know the current prevalence of the infection in a random sample of a population and to repeat this exercise at regular time intervals to estimate the incidence of new infections. Sadly, that’s information we don’t have.

Let’s get that information.

The U.S. has been shamefully behind in testing capacity, but we have immense resources to catch up with.

For example, a couple of days ago, I heard 4th hand that a lady had made her own COVID-19 PCR test to test her kids and their friends on her block. Granted, she works on CRISPR bioengineering projects, but still …

Similarly, the immensely well-funded Broad Institute, a Harvard-MIT joint venture that is home, among much else, to the famous paleogenomics lab of David Reich and Nick Patterson, will be processing a 1,000 COVID tests per day next week, and can ramp up to much more than that in the future. I’m a huge fan of paleogenomics, but I can live without new papers on the subject for the next year or so if these world class brains devote themselves to The Effort for The Duration.

In the absence of data, prepare-for-the-worst reasoning leads to extreme measures of social distancing and lockdowns. Unfortunately, we do not know if these measures work. School closures, for example, may reduce transmission rates. But they may also backfire if children socialize anyhow, if school closure leads children to spend more time with susceptible elderly family members, if children at home disrupt their parents ability to work, and more. School closures may also diminish the chances of developing herd immunity in an age group that is spared serious disease.

The good news about school closures is that if this turns out to be a fiasco, we can just extend the school year into summer vacation. While a lot of businesses are likely to default on debts due to lockdowns, the only U.S. students likely to be permanently greatly hurt are high school seniors on the verge of not graduating who have been slacking off so far this semester but who would do just enough in the second half of their final semester to graduate. For high school seniors who have already applied to college, this semester is trivial.

In contrast, businesses, the self-employed, and the newly unemployed are in danger of suffering severe consequences due to default provisions on loans. So my impression is that schools are safer to engage in an abundance of caution with than businesses. But your impressions may differ.

This has been the perspective behind the different stance of the United Kingdom keeping schools open, at least until as I write this.

The UK just shut its schools, although health care workers can still drop their kids off at school as daycare, which seems wise.

It could be that shutting schools is an over-reaction due to the unusual age profile of this virus, but … schools get shut down all the time: for teacher strikes, snow days, smoke days, etc. It’s not the end of the world. Good students will study online and bad students won’t, much like in the classrooms.

Of course, the exact age-profile of who is at risk is even more uncertain than the overall death rate.

In the absence of data on the real course of the epidemic, we don’t know whether this perspective was brilliant or catastrophic.

Flattening the curve to avoid overwhelming the health system is conceptually sound — in theory. A visual that has become viral in media and social media shows how flattening the curve reduces the volume of the epidemic that is above the threshold of what the health system can handle at any moment.

Yet if the health system does become overwhelmed, the majority of the extra deaths may not be due to coronavirus but to other common diseases and conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, trauma, bleeding, and the like that are not adequately treated.

Indeed.

If the level of the epidemic does overwhelm the health system and extreme measures have only modest effectiveness, then flattening the curve may make things worse: Instead of being overwhelmed during a short, acute phase, the health system will remain overwhelmed for a more protracted period. That’s another reason we need data about the exact level of the epidemic activity.

Indeed.

One of the bottom lines is that we don’t know how long social distancing measures and lockdowns can be maintained without major consequences to the economy, society, and mental health. Unpredictable evolutions may ensue, including financial crisis, unrest, civil strife, war, and a meltdown of the social fabric. At a minimum, we need unbiased prevalence and incidence data for the evolving infectious load to guide decision-making.

Indeed.

In the most pessimistic scenario, which I do not espouse, if the new coronavirus infects 60% of the global population and 1% of the infected people die, that will translate into more than 40 million deaths globally, matching the 1918 influenza pandemic.

Which was bad.

The vast majority of this hecatomb would be people with limited life expectancies. That’s in contrast to 1918, when many young people died.

We hope.

Look here, Jack, we are the United States of America, the most kick-ass country ever. Running a scientifically valid random sample survey is not beyond our national capabilities. So …

LET’S GET THE DATA.

 
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  1. Charon says:

    One of several problems with a true random sampling is that it would have to be forcible, and we have legal protections against that sort of thing. I’ll leave the more pedestrian issues of how to achieve a true representative sample to the ‘spectrum’ contributors here.

  2. LondonBob says:

    CFR of one percent is not 3.3 million, that would assume everyone in the US got infected?

    Ferguson’s worst case scenario is 0.9% with eighty percent infected.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Luke Lea
  3. LondonBob says:

    There are many times the number of people on earth than in 1918 so matching the number of deaths of the Spanish Flu is not same. It does need to be emphasised more that the great tragedy of the Spanish Flu was that it killed the young and healthy, I read pregnant women were the worst hit.

  4. The people running this hoax most definitely do not want a bunch of data to get in the way of their propaganda operation. It is necessary that everyone be vaguely and deeply scared, and separated from people with whom they might begin to lose their fear. The people (a great lot of them remember your waiters and bartenders!!) have to be both afraid of what comes next (the job I was working at McGuffin’s Bar and Grille, which was mostly cash, and just enough to keep me going, is gone. How am I going to pay the rent??) and make them dependent on the powers-that-be all at once. So McGuffins’ is closed, Uncle Sam (in the person of Trump or Pelosi, take your pick) is going to ensure that I do not have to move into the homeless encampment. This is the almost instantaneous manufacture of dependency in a huge number of people. It is, in it’s own way, an awesome sight. Will the dependents be a reliable shock force, if called upon, sort of like Antifa in Portland? I wonder.

    Test schmest. I am all in favor of reasonable precautions against and treatments for public health menaces. Coronovirus® is not such a thing. Real testing would reveal that, so real testing as Steve describes will not be allowed.

    • Disagree: 415 reasons
    • LOL: El Dato
  5. Ed says:

    I saw my first rescission order, mayor of Mt. Vernon reopens salons. The mayor of Las Vegas, just one day after Nevada’s governor shut down everything, has demanded Vegas be reopened. These shutdowns cannot last, tanking our economy to potentially save a fraction of 80+ year olds is insane.

    https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/politics-and-government/las-vegas/cannot-survive-las-vegas-mayor-asks-governor-to-shorten-business-shutdown-1984653/

  6. I still don’t agree with this. I’ve built a lot of stuff and know how to get things done.

    You can’t let projected difficulties discourage you from taking the first step. Once you act, your actions will set the system in motion. After one iteration, the system will have changed. Then you step back, reassess and modify your approach. The way forward will make itself plain to you. What is cloudy now will be clear then.

    These guys are stuck because a matrix of equations will not run until given some data–but you never have all the data! If you did, you wouldn’t need to run a simulation. You would be God.

    So, to initiate the program you must introduce some initial unbalance to the system. This seems odd but that’s how things work. Your initial trial will not be perfect! Accept that.

    How did the Zen Master put it?

    “Bow is broken
    Arrows are all gone
    No fainting heart hesitate
    Shoot with no delay!.”

    • Agree: utu, El Dato, Kylie
  7. B36 says:

    So we are flying blind and have decided to condemn the economy to a likely depression from which it will take years to recover. The trade off may be gaining a few quality adjusted life years for some old people vs general immiseration for everyone else.

  8. Enochian says:

    The figure I keep not seeing is what percentage of the infected will die without treatment. I’ve seen up to 20% needing to be hospitalized, and if a lot of them won’t make it without medical treatment, well, 20% of a country the size of America is a lot of people.

  9. Perhaps. Or it could turn out that the Diamond Princess was a fortuitous environment and an Italian scenario is more common.

    But Ionnidis’s point is that we don’t know what the Italian scenario is. We don’t know if the verified 35,713 cases is roughly accurate, low by an order of magnitude, or low by two or more orders of magnitude. That it’s low seems obvious to even the most pessimistic, but there is currently no way of having any idea of how low (your support of random testing is a good idea).

    The Diamond Princess was a perfect real-life lab experiment. 712 of the 3,711 passengers and crew became infected (19%). On a crowded ship packed with oldsters, with recirculating air and no one taking particular precautions. The fatality rate of those infected is 1%, 7 dead. The mortality rate is 0.019%.

    That would still translate to 622,000 dead Americans, if 19% of the populace contracted Covid-19 and 1% of the 19% died. Though with the population density of the US being thousands of times lower than the density on the ship (of course crowded cities like NYC and Seattle will see their mileage vary), people now taking precautions, and the age profile of the US not at all resembling the age profile of a cruise ship, half a million or more fatalities is not remotely likely. 10,000 isn’t even likely.

    • Replies: @Polynikes
    , @FPD72
  10. anon[407] • Disclaimer says:

    I must say, as I approach 40, fit as a fiddle and smart as a whip, the prospect of inheriting my boss’s job and my parent’s money sounds like a win. If we assume the death toll skews towards the jet-setters of the world, ~3 million scions similarly leveling up sounds like progress to me. Sorry, oldsters, you’re holding up the freakshow.

    • Agree: Redneck farmer
    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  11. Altai says:

    Same places were doing population testing, though often only in hospitals. The problem is simply the availability of tests, some places had enough or had enough at a particular stage of the outbreak but no longer. You need to priortise likely cases with symptoms and those with severe symptoms if you don’t have enough testing kits or don’t have enough capacity to process them.

    We haven’t seen this virus truly spreading without controls for very long, it’s potential numbers of infected and the cohorts most likely to in situations of maximum spread (Children, adolescents and young adults) tend to the exactly those who fail to develop noticeable symptoms. The ‘disease is worse than the cure’ mentality has the advantage of the ‘disease’ not appearing in full form yet. We should all be reassured by the setting of a precedent for pandemic outbreaks so strong. Indeed, some of this may even be an attempt to test such measures with a virus with low (At least in Western countries, I’m still interested in how IFITM3 variants might influence disease course) stakes.

    But broader than discussions of how appropriate some of the measures are, is the question, in our neoliberal age, we question the cost to Goldman Sachs of every government decision. We’ve seen an admirable display of collectivism, social cohesion and acceptance of a purpose beyond money. People aren’t groaning or complaining and they’re not doing it because they think they will die, they’re doing it because they’re concerned about the old and sick dying. This time something other than money won. That’s at least something worth celebrating.

    • Agree: utu
    • Thanks: ChrisZ
    • Replies: @XYZ (no Mr.)
  12. Up with this sort if thing.

    • LOL: Lurker
  13. @Ed

    I saw my first rescission order, mayor of Mt. Vernon reopens salons.

    I bet his wife made him do it.

  14. ferd says:

    Thanks Steve, let’s get another great idea seed into public discourse.

    What I’d like to hear people starting to discuss is how we can put capitalism into a dormant state for some amount of time while money stops flowing. How can we keep our institutions in a coma without killing them?

    We see reports from Italy of the suspension of rents. What sort of other democratic accommodations will be negotiated as the great shut down continues?

    I am a prof at a small private college. Refunding room and board for the rest of the year blows a huge hole in our budget that won’t be filled. Do we lay off now in anticipation of a small incoming class in the Fall, or cut salaries deeply immediately?

    There will be a strong differential consequences for essential vs. non-essential industries. How do we keep the non-essential institutions allive? Restaurants, education, entertainment, travel, services. Does everyone get half salaries for four months to keep the institutions in a coma?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @vhrm
  15. guest007 says:

    The issue with testing is not the technical process. The issue is getting a health care provider to put a swab up your nose and doing the logistics to get the swab analyzed. LabCorp and Quest Diagnostic have had commercial tests available to any physician or clinic that has an account with them (virtually all of them) for at least a week. However, the providers are reluctant to provide the test due to the danger to putting a swab up the nose of someone who is potentially positive and due to the issue of what to do with the person if they turn up positive. That is why the urgent care clinics are not offering the tests even though they are capable of doing it.

    A good example of the issues of testing are the 73 firemen and ems workers in Washington, DC who were potentially exposed. Why have them quarantine for two weeks rather than test them after a couple of days.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/73-dc-firefighters-and-first-responders-under-quarantine-union-says/2020/03/18/50106074-6948-11ea-b313-df458622c2cc_story.html

    What is also shocking is how many people are at higher risk due to recent travel. Did none of those idiots pay attention to the news for the last two months?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  16. In the absence of information from widespread testing, the number of cases isn’t the best measure. Rather, the number of deaths per day is a better measure.

    Using number of deaths per day, the US is well behind Italy, although some experts contend that we won’t know for sure until the US reaches a higher number of total deaths, such as 200.

    The following is Italy’s death count from 1 to 200:
    1 2 3 7 11 12 17 21 29 41 52 79 107 148 197 (15 days)

    The following is the US death count from 1 to 200 (not there yet):
    1 6 9 11 12 15 19 22 26 30 38 41 49 57 68 86 109 125 (18 days)

    So, it took Italy 15 days to get to 200 deaths, while it took the US 18 days to get to 125.

    US deaths per active cases (with the exception of one spike) is lower than Italy’s and declining. Italy’s deaths per active cases continues to increase. Inasmuch as Italy is currently testing more than the US, that’s another encouraging signal.

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
    , @Kratoklastes
  17. ” we can just extend the school year into summer vacation”

    Not without paying a shit ton of money. That’s why we’re pretending that we can educate the kids remotely now–well, not “pretending” so much as hopefully engaging. But teachers and all government workers will be paid without interruption now. So if you extend school into summer, you have to pay them again. Ain’t gonna happen.

    “While a lot of businesses are likely to default on debts due to lockdowns, the only U.S. students likely to be permanently greatly hurt are high school seniors on the verge of not graduating who have been slacking off so far this semester but who would do just enough in the second half of their final semester to graduate. ”

    No. Seniors will be fine because colleges will overlook any gaps. The screwed groups are todays college bound juniors, most of all, with sophomores close behind. Junior year is the most important year for college admissions. GPA–they have to hope that teachers are generous–and generosity may vary by SES and school. Juniors are losing opportunities to take the SAT, which isn’t great, but they are permanently losing this years AP tests. And believe it or not, as I think tests will show, schools actually do impart learning.

    At this point, it’s hard to disagree with the guy at Arnold Kling’s blog who said:

    “Net, I guess this is the heirs going into debt to buy medical care to save the retired. Don’t say they never did anything for you. If I thought they understood what they were doing, I could admire it more.”

    • Replies: @AnotherDad
  18. @guest007

    Thanks. OK, but that’s something that can be solved. I don’t know how to collect nasal swabs of random people without infecting the sample taker, but somebody out there does. People have thought this through before.

  19. @ferd

    Somebody is proposing just stopping the clock at May 19, 2019 or thereabouts:

  20. duncsbaby says:

    At this point, the future is unwritten.

  21. Ano says:

    If random tests are carried out, I don’t know what will be the data; but since this is America and it’s 2020, I do know what will be the narrative (and, as you know, narrative trumps data):

    First, the people with the megaphone will not be interested in test results, but in who is tested…

    If the megaphone-holders find out minorities are not properly proportionally represented in the sample sizes, the narrative will be racist Donald Katrina Trump doesn’t care about their welfare and health, homophobic Donald AIDS Trump wants them to just die off, trannies invisible-ized by Donald Military Ban Trump etc etc etc….

    But if the megaphone-holders find out minorities are over-represented, the narrative will be racist Donald Stop and Frisk Trump, racist Donald Baltimore Rats Trump, etc etc etc etc…..

    Disparate impact either way baby. Reach for your lawyers.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  22. @Ano

    OK. But then you spend more money to pay testers in ornery Compton than you spend in cooperative Valley Village.

    We can do this.

    • Replies: @Hemid
    , @BenKenobi
  23. charlie says:

    Politicians are all rushing to emulate China, and ignoring what happened in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea as well as Japan.

    The chinese did what they did because 1) they can; 2) they wanted to show party over everything else; and 3) they had 450 million people moving around due to the holidays.

    The madness we are driving into will kill millions more than a virus.

  24. @Tom Kirkendall

    And those ever increasing numbers are despite the fact that both have not exceeded their hospital’s capacity to provide ventilation for extreme patients.

  25. unit472 says:

    The Diamond Princess is unique in that we know the start date, number of people, their ages and outcomes under optimum conditions. Leaves Yokohama on January 20 with about 3700 passengers and crew.

    3700 people, 2666 passengers ( half over age 70) and 1045 crew return on February 3rd. Ship notified on January 30 that a sole passenger who disembarked on January 25 in Hong Kong for medical reasons had been infected with the virus. Curiously, 13 passengers and crew disembark during a sightseeing stop in Okinawa on February 1 and fly home. Sometime between February 1 and 3 passengers are confined to cabins. Quarantine continues once reaching Yokohama. Daily medical examinations of those aboard begin February 4. Those testing positive are removed and hospitalized.
    This is the gold standard for medical screening and treatment. Cannot be replicated anywhere else.

    What have we learned? 20% became infected (715), 7 have died with 15 still in serious condition. This is the most valuable data we will ever get on Covid-19 and, because the passengers and crew received the most intensive screening and best medical treatment it is possible to deliver, the optimum outcome. Its all downhill, save for age distribution, in the real world.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @anon
    , @Erik L
  26. fenster says:

    I understand we need to know way more on the case/infection side. But don’t we now know, or at least have access to the data for, deaths? Granted we cannot know mortality rate without a good denominator. But if the age distribution of deaths worldwide is similar to the experience in China might that not tell us something useful?

  27. @unit472

    What about the San Francisco cruise ship? What are the numbers on that?

    • Replies: @HA
    , @LondonBob
    , @unit472
    , @George
  28. MEH 0910 says:

    • Replies: @Sean
    , @MEH 0910
  29. MEH 0910 says:

    Amy Harmon Retweeted:

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
  30. Steve’s comment on Compton reminds me that one word we’re not hearing a lot is black. We are getting very little demographic info on this, other than age, for the predictable reasons of PC and “stigma avoidance.” What if it turns out that people of East Asian ancestry are more susceptible than Europeans, south Asians, and middle Easterners, and that sub-Saharan blacks are the least susceptible of all? We will never know it if there are racial differences because that is the sort of data we can’t be trusted to know. Just like how in the 1980s we had to pretend that 50 year-old suburban white women were at equal risk of contracting HIV as 25 year-old gay heroin users in San Francisco.

    What we do know is that of the big three outbreaks, in Wuhan, Lombardy, and Qom, Chinese who had recently been in Wuhan were present in high numbers. What we don’t know is what the Chinese percentage of the Italian cases and deaths are. Or of the American cases.

    • Replies: @Peter Lund
  31. Sean says:

    [F]or example, I’m 61. I don’t have all that many years left,

    My dad is 84 and in the last decade he has had lower bowel cancer, a knee replacement, developed Type II diabetes, and paid for extensive dental work. He had a minor stroke type event a couple of years ago after doing a DIY task (though that a week was after he collapsed drunk in the street and lay in the pouring rain after a night out with his pal). He’s fine, drives and plays bowls most mornings and watches his firestick equipped big telly in his big front room. My mum (hustled the cancer operation forward considerably for my dad with phone calls) is 80 and so far has had nothing much except 4 children, she goes walking for several miles with her rambling group and was one of the few at church the other day. But then her mother was almost a centenarian when she passed away.

    If older people suddenly die off the hospitals will have to close for twenty years and MDs become cab drivers, because medical professionals will have lost 99 % of their regular bread and butter patients and be unable to feed their families doing what they trained for. Young people will not go into the profession. Germany has the oldest population in Europe, and as a result the best medical services, which came in handy already, and surely will again. So you see the elderly are performing a vital function in keeping a society’s health services topped up and under pressure to grow. It isn’t good to be too lean and punch about your weight, so to speak, because efficiency is to a stipulated end and thus one dimensional and when unexpected demands pop op you don’t have uncommitted reserves handy.

    The financial asset stripping and offshoring/deindustrialization of Western productive capacity, so that when huge numbers of masks are suddenly needed we cannot make them fast enough, is why countries like Germany with their far less laissez faire outlook are like fat individuals who survive catastrophe, while the apparently fit ones find they are dangerously low on resources to call on. Of course if someone like Hitler gets control of this latent strength and exerts it to one end, it is bad news. By the way, it was a good thing that young men were hardest hit in 1918, it stopped Germany winning WW1.

  32. @Enochian

    Lose the sickest 20% of the population?
    The term for that outcome is economic miracle!

  33. JR Ewing says:

    Everyone is saying how “deadly” this thing is by pointing at the CFR…. but we have no idea how many people actually have it.

    The selection bias is breathtaking given that the only people being tested are those who are already sick or who have been exposed to another positive test.

    We have no idea how widespread this is and therefore we have no idea how dangerous this really is, yet we are wrecking the economy and people’s lives out of “prudence”.

    This is ridiculous.

    • Replies: @415 reasons
  34. Steve, I know you’re rich beyond your wildest dreams of avarice
    From raking in donations from your fanboys
    And the rich are more susceptible to catching coronavirus,
    So take this good suggestion if you can, boy …

    He dies a thousand deaths before the real one does the coward—
    Not a doctor, sure as hell I ain’t a nurse—
    But I advise be heedless till you’re covered with a flowered
    Wreath inside the rectum of a hearse.

  35. Anonymous[190] • Disclaimer says:

    How does Ioannidis not know about the best sample so far? The Chinese tested 320,000(!) people at fever clinics in Guangdong, one of the heavier affected provinces. Only .15 percent of *sick* people were positive. Remember a quick and dirty diagnostic test will have a false positive rate so even that might be an overestimate. That’s why the WHO team is confident they are picking up most cases by brute force contact tracing. There’s no evidence for the tip of the asymptomatic iceberg theory.

    Outside observers seem quite confident in China’s data. They have been crushing their economy for a reason.

    If nothing else Iran is a stark warning for the perils of just letting it rip. There are videos of people collapsing in the street. MEK, the best organized opposition group, reported 2,500 deaths already in Qom on Sunday.

    https://english.mojahedin.org/i/iran-coronavirus-outbreak-news-20200317

    • Replies: @ben tillman
  36. Anon[675] • Disclaimer says:

    I personally would not agree to be tested for a random sample. I don’t give blood either, nor will I answer political pollster’s questions, nor sign any petition, whether or not I agree with it. I’m funny that way. What’s in it for me? There are some of us around, which borks the randomness.

    Anyway, for a reasonably random sample for a country with the number of adults in the U.S. you need about 7,500 samples, chosen by zip code correlated with census demographic data, done within a fairly short period of time. And you need no more than 5 percent refusals. Ain’t gonna happen. Pre-cell phone, land line RDD phone surveys by name brand pollsters could achieve this level of accuracy in polls. But in-person medical tests by a government so many distrust?

    • Agree: Alice
    • Disagree: James Speaks
    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  37. UK says:
    @Brian Reilly

    Omg. It isn’t a hoax, it is a panic. Those who truck in such conspiracy theories are Dunning-Krugering it. They think that if they were in charge they would never mess things up as badly as the response to this virus has been messed up. They are too ignorant and stupid to even begin to release how complicated a problem this and others are.

    • Replies: @Brian Reilly
  38. @education realist

    But teachers and all government workers will be paid without interruption now. So if you extend school into summer, you have to pay them again.

    Hell no you don’t.

    Where my kids went to school, the teachers are paid year round. I believe that’s the norm. And expected to work X number of school days.

    I have no idea what exactly the contracts say–it’s ridiculous to even have contracts with government employees. But regardless send them back to work. I’m sick of hearing these bleating teachers–and worse apparatchiks–as is. (Whining about cushy government employment is the bottom.) And i think that attitude will spread to everyone if the teachers don’t get their asses back to work in the wake of this crisis … if that’s what school boards decide. They don’t want to work–fire ’em.

    • Replies: @education realist
  39. George says:
    @Charon

    One way to get a random-ish sample, famous people. It seems people are issuing press releases when they get a positive test. For example Mr and Mrs Hanks seem to have contracted the disease but are not suffering in any way.

    Conspiracy theorists will enjoy this, Wikipedia deleted the running list of notable people who got coronavirus positive tests with no discussion permitted. Does the NWO fear people will see coronavirus is not that big a deal?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Deletion_review/Log/2020_March_19#List_of_people_with_coronavirus_disease_2019

  40. Standard sampling plans are readily available if there is a will to implement them. True random sampling can give an accurate assessment of a large quantity based on a relatively small sample size.

    Are there any figures available which compares the average number of deaths in a given population during this epidemic cmpared with the same period last year in order to determine the contribution of this virus to currenty reported death rates?

  41. Hemid says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Nerd competence and logical gotchas have no power here, Stevestarcodex.

    “We” have BPD, not autism. We can’t do anything.

    We can punch ourselves and show our black eye on Instagram and refuse to say what happened.

  42. Travis says:
    @Enochian

    this is why those over the age of 70 will not receive treatment, just as in Italy those who are over the age of 65 are denied treatment today…They will withhold treatment of the obese who are over the age of 40, because a 40 year-old obese man will have the same survivability of a 70 year old healthy male.

    The elderly will be denied ventilators because they are less likely to survive even if we put them on a ventilator. Better to save the hospital beds for those who have a greater than 50% chance of surviving. Most of the elderly (60%-80%) who are put on ventilators will die within a few days, so why waste our resources on them ?

    It is not a pleasant experience to be ventilated. My father was put on a ventilator when he had pneumonia at the age of 51. After the experience he told the family to let him die and do not send him to the hospital the next time he had pneumonia. He died of pneumonia at the age of 60, as he refused to be put on a ventilator again.

    • Replies: @vhrm
  43. LondonBob says:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-18/99-of-those-who-died-from-virus-had-other-illness-italy-says

    Interesting data from Italy, is this an efficient killer of just the elderly and poorly, and no one else, or is it just an efficient killer of the poorly, most of whom are elderly?

  44. Anonymous[367] • Disclaimer says:

    “For example, Italy has a high death rate while, so far, Germany has a low death rate. Is that due to actual differences or due to methodological differences in how numbers are reported? “

    It’s cultural. In the end we will realize the more stoic Northern European cultures already practice social distancing. Shy Finnish people will survive in tact.

    At the end of this debacle we will realize it was spread more easily in cultures that live on top of one another, eat Sunday dinner together, live multi-generationally in one abode together, and who greet each other more frequently with hugs, kisses, being in one another’s personal space.

    Germans, Irish and Cold Climate folks with dysfunctional families will have much lower mortality rates.

  45. Sean says:
    @MEH 0910

    Good bit just after.

    … as a possibility. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 was hammered into submission by intense public health measures in many places, which were effective because transmission was mainly from very sick people. Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which emerged in 2012, is a weakly transmissible infection that causes outbreaks in hospitals, but is otherwise much less contagious than Covid-19.

    There are two options for Covid-19 at the moment: long-term social distancing or overwhelmed health care systems.

    That is a key point about not obviously ill people spreading it. It was made in Sean Carroll’s podcast with Tara Smith yesterday. I found it helpful that she is not a virus expert, because it helps to listen to someone who has to think a little when she is talking about details such as RNA viruses like influenza mutating, DNA ones like measles remaining the the same, and coronavirus being in the middle. Interesting about droplets too.

    https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/16/coronavirus-can-become-aerosol-doesnt-mean-doomed/
    The reason the measles is so, well, viral, is that the microbe is so small and hardy that it is able to stay suspended in the air where an infected person coughed or sneezed for up to two hours, making it one of the only viruses that can exist as a true aerosol. […] The weight of the evidence suggests that the new coronavirus can exist as an aerosol — a physics term meaning a liquid or solid (the virus) suspended in a gas (like air) — only under very limited conditions, and that this transmission route is not driving the pandemic.

    Still, if you would walk along behind someone who is smoking you can see it clouds that you can avoid and yet still smell it as you walk through a dissipated fringe that is invisible.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  46. Jack D says:
    @B36

    Ironically, tanking the economy is good for public health in general and not just old people. People drive less – fewer auto accidents. Industry is shut down – less air pollution. People have less money to spend on drugs and alcohol and fattening food. Etc.

    Now this doesn’t mean that we should tank the economy but the idea that has taken hold that what we are doing will only benefit Boomers is wrong. Now Boomers may be selfish but the glee I have seen from some at the thought that they are all going to die is unseemly. This shows the danger of dismissing any group – you go quickly and seamlessly from “OK, Boomer” to “Die, Boomer, Die!”. This goes with the idea that (especially older) whites, especially men, are the only group that it is OK to publicly hate on. If this plague was especially striking blacks, no one would dare say, “Let’s not tank the whole economy to help the 13% of the population that is black.”

  47. Lugash says:

    Steve, personal question here. Did your cancer treatments leave you with a weakened immune system?

  48. I tend to side with Ioannidis.

    I have had a career in health care and health care administration and have plenty of health care professionals in my family, for what it is worth.

    There is no doubt in my mind that putting the whole of the US in quarantine and shutting down every place where people meet other people will probably slow the spread of the virus, but the question is all about whether the cure is worse than the disease.

    In any herd of wildebeest, the cattle that are carried off and eaten by the lions are the weak, the sick, and those least able to mount resistance. Viruses, like lions, tend to pick on the vulnerable, particularly those who are likely to die soon from other causes. Hence if you are very old, weak, have poorly functioning lungs, are on oxygen, have COPD, are on kidney dialysis, are bedridden, wheelchair-bound, are a cigarette smoker, or have any combination of these, the corona virus is more likely to kill you before the saber-toothed tigers pick your carcass off the forest floor.

    How much sacrifice the young and the healthy should make to prolong the life of the elderly and the sick is a moot point.

    Americans are a superstitious and conformist people and are easily influenced, but what we need is mature, well-informed, responsible adults making decisions based on the best information and research, not the rantings of congressional clowns in the three-ring-circus of Washington.

  49. sflicht says:

    Random testing is such an obvious idea that I’d shocked if the Chinese haven’t done it. So it may already have been done elsewhere too. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the general public gets to see the results (for whatever reason).

  50. @Jack D

    Ironically, tanking the economy is good for public health in general and not just old people. People drive less – fewer auto accidents. Industry is shut down – less air pollution. People have less money to spend on drugs and alcohol and fattening food. Etc.

    E-X-A-C-T-L-Y !!!

    The corona virus will probably be gone back to virus land within a few weeks, but what does this bode for the future? If health trumps everything, does that mean the end of the whole idea of growing the economy?

  51. A population-wide case fatality rate of 0.05% is lower than seasonal influenza.

    How accurate are our statistics on seasonal influenza? Are there randomized tests?

    We keep hearing figures about the spread and mortality of flu, but we have similar issues with flu statistics as we do with CoVid-19. The only ones who get tested are the ones who are sick enough to go to the doctors. And even then, they don’t always test.

    For example, I think I had the flu in 2018. All the symptoms. I spoke with my doctor over the phone. He said it was probably the flu. No test, though.

    Did my doctor forward my case information, such as it was, to the CDC causing the count of flu cases to go up by one for that season? Or some fraction of one when factoring in some probability? I don’t think so.

    • Agree: ben tillman
  52. Jack D says:
    @Sean

    While it is not statistically or physically impossible to get Chinese Virus from the air or from touching your mail, etc. that is not the most likely route of transmission. In most cases, victims have been in close proximity with someone who has the virus. It’s like getting VD from a toilet seat – maybe you can hypothetically get it that way but most people get it the old fashioned way. If you get sidetracked worrying about the remote risks you won’t concentrate on the big risks, which is where you should really focus your efforts. Which for now should be to stay 6 feet away from everyone who is not in isolation with you, regular hand washing, no face touching, etc.

  53. El Dato says:
    @Ed

    Close Las Vegas. 15kT should do it.

  54. Emil O W Kirkegaard asks: “Why don’t they do random sampling tests for Corona? Same as they do polls for elections. Do them every day, 1000 representative people. Why not? Surely, the governments of the world can figure out how to do random sampling and get those 1000 tests done.”

    ***

    It could be that the virus is more widespread than assumed, which would suggest the death rate is lower. Or it could be that it’s still rare, which would be useful to know.

    Let’s make this random testing happen.

    Exactly right. But I mentioned this to my mom a couple days ago (my random sample in that proposal would have been schoolteachers), and she reacted as if the idea were crazy.

    • Replies: @Alice
  55. epebble says:

    At this time, this is an interesting thought experiment since tests are available only for those reliably sick. By the time, the test infrastructure is geared up for on demand test for anyone (i.e. “wasting” precious test kit/bandwidth on likely non-infected), we are likely to be near or past the peak (blue curve with luck, red without). At that point, the data will be useful mainly for research rather than policy.

  56. Or it could turn out that the Diamond Princess was a fortuitous environment

    How do you figure?

    But … how much statistical confidence we can have in the age structure of the effects is vague.

    So if the data tended to support your own personal beliefs of the widespread severity of the virus (because it doesn’t) – would you hold this same skepticism? I seriously doubt it.

    The good news about school closures is that if this turns out to be a fiasco, we can just extend the school year into summer vacation.

    Good luck getting the teachers’ unions on board with that. And even though it is a more trivial matter, people with school aged children probably aren’t feeling as nonchalant about extending the school year into the summer months for obvious reasons.

    In contrast, businesses, the self-employed, and the newly unemployed are in danger of suffering severe consequences due to default provisions on loans. So my impression is that schools are safer to engage in an abundance of caution with than businesses. But your impressions may differ.

    At least tens of thousands of people are currently out of work and not getting paid in Illinois alone. Those people and the mom and pop shops that employ them are going to lose their livelihoods.

    LET’S GET THE DATA

    .

    This would have been a good idea before bringing the nation’s economy to a halt.

  57. Jack D says:
    @Enochian

    Sure if this was going to kill 20% of the population it would be really bad. But 20% of those infected needing hospitalization is a long way from 20% of the population dying. In order for that to be true, you would need a whole bunch of assumptions that are obviously wrong – 100% of the population being infected, zero hospital beds being available, 100% of those requiring hospitalization dying unless they get it, and so on.

    Even the absolute worst case scenarios (which there is a very high probability we will fall well short of) have the number of deaths in the US on the order of magnitude of millions and not tens of millions.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  58. @Jack D

    I’ve seen that Boomer talk and it’s very weird and (surprise!) innumerate. The US death toll will be concentrated in Silents (~1927-1945), not Boomers (1946-1964). In fact, the dwindling WW2 aka Greatest Generation will be the hardest hit proportionately, though their sheer numbers of deaths can’t be huge. Still, people in the 90s and above (oldest Silents plus remaining Greatest) are accounting for significant gross numbers of US deaths, not just higher percents.

  59. That NYT hed — “Some Ask a Taboo Question: Is America Overreacting?” is what jumps out at me. I don’t think it’s been taboo at all, it’s precisely what many rank-and-file people have been discussing. While the media is busy asking “Are We All Going to Die?” and “How Can We Pin This on Trump?” after ignoring the threat until the impeachment farce was dead and buried

  60. @Ed

    [the] mayor of Mt. Vernon reopens salons

    Not sure if he, she, or they, but the Mount Vernon mayor has high-maintenance hair and nail care needs. The salons must remain open!

    And don’t bitch about no Kung Fluey, or “Shawyn” gonna call for backup:

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/police-commissioner-outlaw-inlaws-her-favorite-nail-polish-in-opening-salvo-of-world-war-nails/#comment-3718245

    “Acetone of yo voice that got me buggin’! You think you bein’ cuticle? I ain’t enameled of any y’all bullshit!”

  61. HA says:
    @Steve Sailer

    “What about the San Francisco cruise ship?”

    Also, won’t there already be several strains of this thing going around by now, given how fast coronaviruses mutate?

    Generally, viruses tend to evolve in a milder direction, given that more severe strains are typically easier to recognize and isolate. (Yes, the “extra-sneaky-extra-smart” variants that have especially long or calm periods of asymptomatic transmission also don’t get weeded out, and therefore are also selected for, but they are rarer to begin with.)

    Do we know yet whether the Diamond Princess strain was more or less lethal than the others?

    Lastly, while it may be unlikely that the US will turn into Italy, I’m guessing parts of the US — especially those where diabetes/smoking/obesity/meth/etc. are rampant, but also perhaps a few unlucky upper-crust areas with lots of jetsetting skiers — might become just as bad. At least, there’s a significant probability that that happens. And I’m not sure that Utah will look kindly should Colorado attempt to export its excess coronavirus caseload there, so Colorado (or wherever) will be in a real jam.

  62. Alice says:
    @ben tillman

    But so what? we sample and find… hundreds of thousands have it? and we do what with that info? try to tell people “see? we’ve got the denominator wrong, go back to work?”

    that IS NOT what will happen. What will happen is it will be used to put every town on lockdown.

    better would be to ramp up Antibodies tests who has already had it, and let them get back to their lives.

  63. @Jonathan Mason

    Before this is all over, nobody will even remember what Covid-19 was. The liquidation of the 11-year Everything Bubble had to happen at some point. The virus was the pin that pricked the bubble, but the absolute disproportionate insanity of the response is all due to the internal dynamics of our societal dysfunction. We have an extremely artificial economy that is levered to the hilt, fragile global supply chains, incompetent leadership, an unruly and restive population of unproductive moochers, zombie corporations, and the eldering Boomers as the pig in the demographic python. This situation was certain to blow up.

    We have already destroyed 30% of the notional value of the US stock market, shuttered thousands of businesses and plunged the world into a depression, and the virus hasn’t even done anything remotely devastating yet. We can’t keep doing this every time a new respiratory infection is making the rounds; there just isn’t that much cushion left in the system. When the millions of furloughed waitresses and bartenders can’t pay their rent or buy groceries, there will be enormous pressure to put a stop to all the otiose emergency theater. Nobody really cares if a few thousand 80-year-olds die now of corona instead of a year or two from now of something else. The few lives saved thus far have been literally purchased at the cost of billions of dollars apiece, and that is manifestly not fair. Remember, the Millennials are the generation the grew up playing Halo. You old folks had better hope that they don’t just decide to “activate the rings” and stop the pathogen by destroying its hosts.

    What I find most depressing at the moment is the companies that are benefitting from the emergency theater. Amazon, because people cannot find basic necessities at stores and do not want to shop anyway; Uber, because restaurants are closed and drivers are carrying out meals; Netflix, because people are shut in with nothing to do and want to watch the tube. These companies were the very worst of the exploitative, wealth-extracting, rentseeking scumbags during the boom times and now they are enjoying an Indian summer of revenue in the opening phases of the decline, bolstered by hideously low oil prices and buoyed by the non-realisation on the part of the multitude that the good times aren’t coming back.

    The American century is over. This is it. It will take a decade and a half to play out and by the time the decline is over everything we’ve taken for granted in the post-war era will seem like ancient history. Take a picture, for you will not see its like again.

  64. anon[146] • Disclaimer says:

    To be picky, we need to use more representative samples. Elections polls use stratified random sampling. They are able to squeeze pretty good results out of surprisingly small samples. The major difference is the testers pick the sample, rather than the subjects. Or a medical treatment process.

    Random sampling is inefficient, requiring much larger numbers. All this is well known and people know how to do this.

    No one is going to agree to waiting around months while pretending we only have 1918 era NPI tools.

  65. Elli says:
    @Enochian

    I know nursing homes in my area are on lockdown, no visitors, temperature checks everyone entering, deliveries to vestibule. But staff have no masks. Same with health aides going house to house. Well, give them masks, and reduce silent transmission! Better to reuse, than have nothing. Hello, FEMA? Prevention is a good use of resources.

    My agency can’t or won’t go beyond CDC requirements. They do not acknowledge the existence of silent transmission because CDC communications do not.

    The people who run health businesses and health departments have an enormous tolerance for paperwork, boredom, bureaucracy, routine, policy, procedure, getting the forms filed on time. They are not proactive; they do not look ahead or take decisive measures independently.

    A hospital in the north of the state reported using nearly 800 N95 masks in one day taking care of 6 ICU Covid19 patients plus probably some non critical. If you make a sealed ward, staff 20 people in bunny suits and N95s for four hour shifts, changing only outer gloves patient to patient, than you use 80 masks per day. But regs say change and don new PPE each patient.

    The problem isn’t so much what percentage of cases are severe, it’s how many severe cases there will be.

    A run the course plan would accept the accelerated deaths of millions of elderly, and the deaths of some substantial number of non elderly.

    It would also wreck our hospitals and nursing homes, the health and spirit of our physicians and nurses. It would make their services unavailable for other sick and injured people.

    Run the course: don’t treat the critically ill Covid19 patients over a certain age? Let their families care for them without expertise or protective gear, becoming sick in turn?

    Or terminally sedate them, because it is the only way to relieve the pain and terror of suffocation? Outright euthanasia would be more efficient at preventing new infections and conserving resources from a pure utilitarian view.

    What if we treated high risk patients early with a hydroxychloroquine cocktail? Would that prevent progression to severe/critical illness and hospitalization? That would be a good use of resources. How much HCQ do we have, how fast can we make it?

  66. @Jack D

    I agree with you. The boomer hate is evil and disturbing. I’ve noticed a vicious hatred of older people has become a trademark of the dissident right. Over and over I see posts that shrug off the deaths of older people and even cheer it on.

    The boomer blaming/bashing splits young whites from older whites, and it also lets the actual nation wreckers off the hook.

    Some of the most vocal boomer bashers are TRS and The Daily Stormer, but there is plenty of boomer bashing here on Unz as well.

    Boomer bashing is divisive and stupid. Boomers didn’t vote for open borders……it was forced on us. Boomers did not vote for globalism…..it was forced on us.

    Very sad and disturbing to hear people say, “The virus will kill the boomers and this is a blessing.”
    This kind of thinking is for psychos and small hats.

  67. “Let’s make this random testing happen.”

    No. Let’s preserve freedom of movement and association for young people and let’s encourage oldsters and bedwetters to self-quarantine for The Duration.

    Don’t participate in hoaxes.

  68. If it weren’t too close in time, random testing could be worked into the upcoming Census.

    Publicize on neighborhood websites like Nextdoor.com that an official survey will be done by testers in white coats walking door to door on Saturday.

    White coats?

  69. @B36

    “So we are flying blind and have decided to condemn the economy to a likely depression from which it will take years to recover. The trade off may be gaining a few quality adjusted life years for some old people vs general immiseration for everyone else.”

    The tragedy is we can (could have at this point) achieve both: maintain the Trump Miracle AND gain years for decrepit oldsters. It’s super simples: oldsters self-quarantine until summer. It is a win-win. Modern tech allows geezer-Americans to see and hear their chillens and grand chillens during The Duration.

    But coronahoax is in reality Joe Biden’s election gambit, where Democratic governors have assembled an enormous excrement sammich and forced us all to take a bite.

    • Troll: Corvinus
  70. Lot says:

    The DP is now our best data. They’re an older population but probably not many sickly 80+ people going on long international cruises.

    When the Nets tested all players, 4 had it. Only 1 had symptoms.

    The first Scottish case, a man in his 50s, was tested because of travel exposure. He tested positive, but only had mild cold symptoms for a few days and fully recovered.

    Lots of other young untested people report having very unusual but mild cold-like symptoms. Like a hacking cough but zero runny nose and brief mild fever.

    Gay Filipino Republican David Lat reported he was unable to get tested despite severe classic symptoms that had him at an ER, because he hadn’t traveled. He’s extremely ill, but his husband was infected too and had brief mild symptoms then fully recovered in a week.

    All these anecdotes suggest they are far more infected people with little to no symptoms who are spreading, and that death rates are overstated by about 5, possibly 10.

  71. Polynikes says:
    @Patrick Sullivan

    Agreed. I posted this article yesterday in the comments section, and I’m afraid Steve isn’t giving it its full due.

    He estimates a much lower likely CFR. His high end of the CFR range is lower than most of the numbers used by the doomsday folks. He also at least gives passing mention to the fact that there are trade offs. Economic depression has its own negative health consequences associated with it.

    • Agree: Patrick Sullivan
  72. Jack D says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    If we assume that the virus will cull mostly those who are old and sick, then after this is over, the remaining population should be younger and more healthy and life expectancy will actually go up after a temporary blip and then settle back down after the time when those who died too soon would have died anyway. What the virus is mostly doing is moving up (by a relatively few years) the expiration date of people who were going to expire pretty soon anyway.

    BUT if the person in question is you or a friend or a family member, the thought of having your meter run out early is not a pleasant one. Maybe you have a good 5 or 10 years of cruising or playing bridge at the retirement community left in you despite your age and conditions. Maybe longer – God only knows. Modern medicine is pretty good at prolonging life when it comes to known diseases. Yesterday I saw an ad for a local retirement community in which they featured a guy who was 102 and who had had a career writing advertising jingles – he wrote the “Good and Plenty” song. Now he formed a jazz band from among the other seniors and he writes songs for it. He seemed like he was enjoying his life as much as people who are a lot younger.

    We are taught that every human life is sacred. If there are reasonable and temporary public health measures that will prevent millions or even thousands of our fellow citizens from being carried off early, we should take them. It’s all a question of line drawing. Suppose I told you that if everyone stayed home for one day, 60 million lives could be saved? You’d do that, right? Now if I told you that if we shut down our entire economy, one old geezer would live another six weeks, you’d say no, not worth it. What we have is somewhere in between and we are going to have to feel our way into a reasonable cost/benefit balance. This is admittedly hard to do in a panic/ ghouls trying to seek political advantage out of tragedy situation.

  73. The problem with random sampling is the number of tests that would have to be performed. 1000 gives you pretty good data for political preferences because you get 1000 positive responses. However, the poll accuracy more or less scales as the square root of positives.
    In other words, if 10% tested positive, you’d need 100 times larger a sample (100,000) to get polling level accuracy.

    Granted we don’t need +/- 5%, but you see the problem in the early stages. All the methodological problems quickly get out of hand.

    The problems with counting bodies are the small numbers, the incubation lag, and the R_0 factor. You don’t start to get reliable data from counting bodies until the bodies pile up, at which point it is too late to intervene.

    I’m seeing a lot of snarky articles about how this or that portion of the government has failed us, but none of them seem to appreciate just how much a data free zone this has been. Looking around the world, it’s hard to find examples of swift government action that can be replicated on US scale.

  74. For example, a couple of days ago, I heard 4th hand that a lady had made her own COVID-19 PCR test to test her kids and their friends on her block. Granted, she works on CRISPR bioengineering projects, but still …

    A brilliant candidate for that screenplay you were talking about. The lady is almost certainly white or Asian, but in the movie she will be black, with a long pre-story of racism and discrimination. She ramps up her testing facilities and saves the country, personally chasing down the last infected person to a prepper stockade in Charlottesville. Dodging nooses, and in the midst of a shootout, she administers the life-saving serum. (In the Director’s Cut, the medical treatment will be replaced with a wooden stake through the heart.)

    • Replies: @sorengard
  75. I too have passed from the ‘cautiously cautious’ phase to the ‘is this whole thing a scam?’ phase, for two basic reasons.

    1) Most of our information is oddly ‘rumoristic,’ in spite of the widespread existence of real data. The virus consequences are like bigfoot: people believe, and people say they believe, yet why don’t we have any pictures?
    The most dramatic information out of Italy is an anonymous blog post from an emergency doctor, describing current triage (no healthcare based on age, preexistence of cancer and diabetes, etc), describing a shortage of hospital beds, of bodies being stacked like cordwood. Yet, literally everone on the planet has a cellphone with a camera. Where is this hospital? Northern Italy is not the deepest Congo, where westerners fear to tread. Neither is it China, behind an Iron Curtain. It is part of the developed world. If bodies were stacked like cordwood, CNN would be there, or nurses’ cell phone photos would be all over the place. Where are they?
    Similarly (at least at Rod Dreher’s site-he’s quoting a doctor from, of all places, Wyoming): we have anecdotal doctor’s posts of overwhelmed hospitals, shortages of PPE, overworked medical staff, untested patients with symptoms long before the government (and, of course, TRUMP!) acknowledged it.

    [MORE]

    Again: where are the bodies? Couldn’t a newscrew from Wyoming tour a hospital and show us the chaos?
    Anecdotal essays in the media tell us how straining the situation is, and how life will never be the same. But those anecdotes all seem to describe the strain of…living under quarantine (which my family is doing, and frankly, its not that bad). It is odd, and it is odd to not go out, but its really not that bad. No ‘give us your dead’ wheelbarrows in the neighborhood yet-just kids doing online school work and spending the other half of the day playing video games.
    The anecdotes I am familiar with (with a close family member working in an academic hospital) all suggest the stress and chaos is caused by the response to the virus, and not the virus itself. Medical students are not working anymore-because there isn’t any PPE for them. Why isn’t there any PPE? Becuase its being hoarded-NOT because its being used up (my state has very few coronavirus cases). Regular or routine medical procedures are being cancelled. Not because there isn’t time for them: because resources are being saved for coronavirus victims that don’t yet exist. The response to the fear of the pandemic has caused the problems-not the response to the virus itself.
    Who is dying? I have the vague sense it is basically older people. New articles insist that isn’t the case, but then don’t describe the health of the young who are stricken (pre-existing conditions?). Information that would help us understand is not there-probably intentionally.
    And finally (and most importantly, frankly): China. China has had the virus since either November (first case?) or about January 1st (significant, recognized situation). They had it before it was recognized as a pandemic. They have it in a densely crowded place. They have it in an unhealthy, polluted population. They are two months ahead of us. It appears (if you google China and new cases) that they have peaked in terms of new cases. And they have…..3,200 deaths.

    I guess we will find out in the next two weeks.

    I do anticipate an odd situation in 6 or 8 months, though. The media, and the Democratic Party, trying to turn this into a ‘Trump failed’ situation, are going to be stuck.

    The CDC predicted 1-2 million deaths (worst case).
    If they are right, it is a world pandemic, and nothing Trump did or didn’t do is going to impact that: the US response has been reasonably consistent with the rest of the Western World.
    If they are wrong (and there are say 5,00-10,000 deaths): either their prediction was absurd to begin with, and Trump was right to delay destroying the economy, or they were right, but the US (and by extension, Trump’s) response did remarkably well in holding deaths well below 2 million.

    joe

    • Replies: @ferd
    , @epebble
  76. anon[146] • Disclaimer says:
    @unit472

    The media, etc has stopped reporting on the non recovered. The last data I saw was from March 3, with 35 seriously ill. It’s a good data set and it should be finished (with final totals of dead/recovered) and re validated number and ages of passengers and crew. There was some question of whether the crew was in the age distribution figures.

  77. CCZ says:

    A very interesting story from NJ poses questions about degree / length / type of contact and perhaps the severity of viral strains.

    3 of 5 of NJ’s and Pennsylvania’s only Wuhan Covid-19 deaths are linked to a single family dinner and subsequent contact with a non-family member.

    “Grace Fusco was the mother of 11 children and grandmother of 27. She was unaware that two of her children had already died of the illness before her own death, the Times reported.”

    “Four other children who contracted the coronavirus remained hospitalized at CentraState on Wednesday night, three of them in critical condition, the article said.”

    “Fusco, of Freehold, died after spending Wednesday “gravely ill” and breathing with help from a ventilator, Paradiso Fodera told the Times.”

    “A person who had contact with a man who became New Jersey’s first victim of COVID-19, had attended a recent Fusco family gathering, the Times reported.”

    “John Brennan, a 69-year-old Little Ferry horse trainer and mainstay in the New York racing community, was the first victim of the virus in New Jersey.”

    “Paradiso Fodera told the Times that the gathering was a routine Tuesday dinner.”

    https://www.app.com/story/news/local/western-monmouth-county/freehold-township/2020/03/18/coronavirus-nj-freehold-mother-dies-covid-19-four-children-fighting-lives/2872949001/

  78. Erik L says:
    @unit472

    I don’t think it is all down hill. If hospitals become overwhelmed, which I doubt will happen in the US as in that region in Italy, then mortality among those in danger goes up. On the other hand the US is not a cruise ship with tight quarters and recirculating air and buffets and activities. As the season goes on new cases will likely drop unless this is the one mutant respiratory virus that has a summer workaround. As the virus spreads it mutates. If it becomes deadlier transmission goes down. If it becomes less severe transmission goes up.

    7 out of 3700 died and 15 in serious condition is not at all scary. If this were before social media and rapid viral genome sequencing days the pubic and politicians would barely have noticed. The president would fall asleep during his CDC briefing on it. Then doctors across the nation would be telling each other “wow, bad flu season, right?”

  79. @Jenner Ickham Errican

    [email protected] Chinese can snap australia in two with one snap of its fingers

  80. @Jack D

    Well, yes. I suppose it is a tribute to what an affluent society we are that we can make these choices. In third world countries like Haiti, every day is a struggle for survival, and they do not have the luxury of deciding to tank the economy and close the schools for a few months to prolong the lives of some seniors, because if they did, the death rates through starvation and crime would rocket.

    In the US it is unlikely that people who lose their jobs will starve to death. They will get food or shelter from somewhere. Maybe families will be living in more crowded conditions, with someone sleeping on the sofa or three in a bed. The number of the homeless may increase a bit, but probably they will take the plane to San Francisco and not bother us too much. People who planned to retire may have to work a few more years. Old cars will be repaired once again instead of being replaced. A few more homes will be repossessed.

    These are small adjustments that do not mean the end of civilization.

  81. anon[193] • Disclaimer says:

    On the other hand, an N95 mask company I’d never heard of in the Dallas-Fort Worth area got burned by overordering during SARS. The owner said “I told you so” back in February. This article from the Bezos blog actually has some facts, but then it’s from the business section rather than the “news” section.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20200215214026/https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/02/15/coronavirus-mask-shortage-texas-manufacturing/

    The production lines exist

    Routine annual production in the United States has been estimated to be 1.5 billion N95 respirators and 3.6 billion surgical masks, according to a 2017 report in the journal Health Security. The report estimated that 1.7 billion to 3.5 billion N95 respirators and 100 million to 400 million surgical masks would be needed to protect health-care workers in the event of a severe influenza pandemic.

    But…

    One reason there aren’t more U.S. firms that manufacture medical masks: The profit margin is low, and imports from Mexico and China are much cheaper (this has been a particular focus of Bannon and Peter Navarro, one of Trump’s top trade advisers).

    Bowen said he had pushed policymakers to encourage the American health-care system to buy domestic, but his overtures often fell flat. Bowen estimates that his masks cost 10 percent more than ones made in Mexico, and he said prices on Chinese goods can be less than the cost of raw materials.

  82. @Altai

    Collectivism? Besides necessary and basic countermeasures like travel bans, self quarantine, and social distancing, there has been a huge overreaction in the United States.

    ‘Money’ did win. Or rather, the salaried clerisy won. Who will continue to get paid — unlike many other workers affected by shelter in place orders.

    It’s real easy to feel good about yourself, and being obscenely cautious about public health, when you aren’t the one making the sacrifices. Life and society are always risk and benefit balancing among many groups.

    Wuhan virus has shown me lots of groups, like conservatives or libertarians in at risk demographics (60+), will gladly throw the under 40 under the bus, or cheer doing so.

    In conservative circles, the fallout from this event will end up more divisive than the election of President Trump in 2016.

  83. 128 says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    Sorry not trying to be judgemental, but maybe this has to do with the way that Western societies do not value old people at all and treat them like crap socially? Hence your attitude as a Westerner? In Confucian societies where elderly are revered, this type attitude would be unnaceptable.

  84. Luke Lea says:
    @LondonBob

    Speaking of testing, why are we not hearing more about the need for a test to identify those who have been recently infected, say since January, but are now completely recovered and presumably immune? If the number is large wouldn’t it be good to know?

    The Seattle area would be a good place to start. Not sure what such a test would look like — drawing serum & looking for antibodies? — but it ought to be a priority.

    • Replies: @epebble
    , @Luke Lea
  85. @128

    Older Americans are certainly acting Confucian, in respect for respect for elders, themselves.

    When I buy a 35K car and give 5K to Saint Jude (that’s a cancer hospital for kids — you know, kids, the future), instead of buying a 30K car and giving 10K to Saint Jude, I am making a value judgement.

    The saints among us — and my have they not all popped up lately — would claim I need to give all my money to Saint Jude. I will not, I do care about others in society, but also look out for myself.

    But if I had given that extra 5K, and others, multiplied by enough people, more kids’ lives would have been saved.

    For some reason this simple cost/benefit analysis is not considered an issue in America.

    However, when I think precaution is in order regarding Wuhan virus, social distancing yes, people should work from home if possible, yes, if not possible, then work should continue as normal.
    Schools should continue as normal.

    This indeed would cause more infections than a complete lockdown, and more deaths, but certainly less than no caution. And society would continue along.

    That is a cost/benefit analysis that is somehow considered now beyond the pale by many Americans. And most that think that are being quite hypocritical.

  86. JimB says:

    An iSteve commenter should plot by state the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases vs the number of Chinese residents. Those data would be interesting to see.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  87. Data for the Wuhan virus indicates it to be lethal only to the old and sickly and to younger but not young people afflicted with one or more serious, chronic diseases.

    So the current approach in the U.S. to fighting the virus, as I understand it, even were it to be successful, might at best extend the lives a little of some thousands who already have one foot in the grave, at the expense of the livelihood and well-being and liberty of tens of millions, if not more.

  88. That’s why the WHO team is confident they are picking up most cases by brute force contact tracing

    Some AI genius somewhere needs to write algorithms that do this automatically, then cross match against random samples of 1,000.

    We. Need. More. Information.

  89. Travis says:

    Need to start using an anti-body test to determine how many Americans have had COVID-19 and recovered. This will also indicate that some Americans already have immunity to this coronavirus.

    The test detects antibodies that people produce after they’ve become infected a virus. Those antibodies can appear in the blood one to three weeks after infection, and they’re part of the immune system’s response to infection. The antibody-based tests can identify people who were not known to be infected either because they never developed symptoms, or they had symptoms that were never correctly diagnosed. The test will also help identify people who have immunity to the virus.

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/615379/antibody-test-how-widespread-coronavirus-covid-19-really-is/

    the test can identify silent infections, as well as identifying people who were once sick but have recovered. If it turns out that many people got infected with the novel coronavirus but didn’t get sick, that means the virus is less likely to be fatal than it now appears. That’s just one insight the test could bring.

    • Agree: Alice
  90. FPD72 says:
    @Patrick Sullivan

    “The mortality rate is 0.019%.”

    7/3711 = .00188

    That would round to .19%. You are off by a factor of 10.

    • Replies: @jsm
  91. @Robert Dolan

    “The boomer hate is evil and disturbing.”

    Agreed on that. But, the Boomers are in charge. To put what they have decided (ok, Pelosi is a bit older) in stark terms: they’re willing to spend over 1trillion dollars at the Federal Level (based on bad or no data) to save a few years of life for people mostly over 65. It’s a continuation of a pattern of a gerontocracy that pours billions of dollars into elder healthcare, with money paid for that healthcare by being mulcted from the young, who are also the poorest segment of the population. Absurdly, a 22yo earning minimum wage is paying into the Medicare system for people like Warren Buffett at the most extreme.

    Now, we do have a high infant mortality rate: 5.8 versus a global developed average of about 3.4. Thats 2.4 excess deaths per 1000 births. Given about 3.8mm births in 2018, that’s 3800×2.4 excess deaths, or about 9120. Given that each of those babies had a life expectancy of about 80, that’s 730k years of excess human life snuffed out. If the extreme measures put in place add five years of life on average, we would need to save 146k extra Coronavirus victims; if 10 years, 73K. Of course, we have no idea of the effectiveness of Coronavirus interventions, while the infant mortality rate we have hard facts about.

    All that having been said: for a young person whose whole life has meant living in a society that steers the majority of its healthcare monies to the voting and wealthy aged, there’s been just cause to wish ill towards the Boomers, who haven’t done much to close the gap (though Boomer and Silent Dems [and Millennial Buttigieg] did promise to pay for healthcare for young illegal aliens). Now the reaction to this virus will have a direct and negative impact on the young and working poor to save the older and wealthier.

    That’s going to increase the strain on the system further. The young have stopped having babies because they cannot afford it. Directing more money and attention to the old (who are our ruling class) could cause it to blow. I hope they keep up the Ok, Boomer, and use that as a relief valve to let off steam, because the alternative reaction to the screwing they’ve been getting is far worse.

  92. we don’t need anymore data. we already know for sure this was the biggest overreaction in the history of the world. overreaction to the point of idiocy. like making ownership of cars punishable by 1 year prison sentences, to reduce traffic fatalities from 38,000 per year towards 0 per year, then accepting it only went down to like 2000 per year while eliminating all vehicles from society.

    major global recession incoming, possible depression, depending on how long Anthony Fauci keeps going on television and talking about maybe needing to shut down everything for a year.

    oh, and going by all going by all historical data, Joe Biden will be elected President. so the travel bans will end and the border will open right up. so everything being done now will immediately be undone by the Democrats in January.

    don’t forget the introduction of UBI, the worse idea EVER in the HISTORY of politics. if it’s a one time payment, probably no big deal. a 300 billion dollar expenditure, something the government does every year. if it goes out maybe 3 times though, that’s all she wrote. once it starts, it won’t stop. well, not voluntarily. Biden will promise to keep it going. oh, but only for people who don’t file a tax return above $50,000. you see, people who make a lot money don’t need that UBI. only the useless Democrat voters will be getting it. we’ll be taking that money from the productive tax filers and transferring it to the people who don’t make enough to even pay taxes. maybe illegal aliens will even get it. Biden is big on that.

    we might as well have been hit by an asteroid. the situation is potentially THAT bad.

    • Agree: vhrm
  93. utu says:
    @Robert Dolan

    “Boomer bashing is divisive and stupid. ” – And a sign the the basher have no original vision for the world except that they want the same world as boomers have. The bashers are not a threat to the system. They affirm the system. And obviously it is simplistic as you may expect from libertarians and social Darwinists. Anyway, the bashers are the useful idiots for oligarchy.

  94. anonymous[400] • Disclaimer says:

    Lack of good information is really a problem right now. It’s all hysteria and fear-mongering crowding out everything else. Tens of thousands die every year from the flu and no one bats an eye: it’s business as usual. 2017-18 appears to have been a particularly bad season. Had this not been identified and named it would just have passed through as another bad flu with higher numbers this time around. Why this time? What’s so different now? More seems to be going on and it’s not purely public health.

  95. ferd says:
    @joeyjoejoe

    joe, I felt the same way: Where’s the journalism in Northern Italy?

    It’s getting there:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/every-day-you-lose-the-contagion-gets-worse-lessons-from-italys-hospital-meltdown-11584455470?st=3qj58xwuhd6d68z&mod=pkt_fr2&utm_source=pocket-newtab

    Would everywhere be this hot without restrictions? Will there continue to be differential results in different countries?

  96. @Jenner Ickham Errican

    The tranny in that top picture reminds me that there is one upside to this current donnybrook: Drag Queen Story hour is canceled.

  97. UK says:

    There’s another great case study which suggests that the mortality rates are calculated from extremely unrepresentative samples.

    In one Italian village they had 2 cases and a population of 3000. They then tested the whole village and locked it down. They found 66 more during the testing. They now have no further cases.

    I don’t think that it is a huge leap to therefore assert that only a very small fraction of actual cases are later marked into the column as “confirmed cases”.

  98. epebble says:
    @Luke Lea

    Tests are precious now; not enough of them to go around for information (or even knowledge) collection. What few are available are being used to diagnose suspects with high probability of infection.

    • Replies: @Alice
  99. @JR Ewing

    That would only be true if we couldn’t learn from the rest of the world. They looked for cases in China and South Korea outside of contacts… did millions of tests. They didn’t find many totally asymptomatic cases. A plausible number might be twice or three times as many infections as cases. 10x or 100x (a true nothing burger) is not plausible. This is a novel zoonosis quite similar to SARS. The IFR might be less than 1%, but not that much less. We don’t know everything but we know this thing will sweep to a huge fraction of the population and collapse the hospitals without drastic action. We need technological countermeasures (testing, monoclonal antibodies) to get back to normal life sooner rather than later.

  100. @Charon

    Make the testing random and optionally anonymous (i.e. if you want the results give your contact info). If a few people refuse it won’t hurt the statistical significance.

  101. @Robert Dolan

    Bullshit I don’t hate boomers- but the problem is right wing boomers so often lapse into this kind of responsibility ducking BS endemic to black people. The boomer right was extremely adept at implementing measures that help with 401Ks and property values and completely capitulated on social issues.

    Just own it- you don’t deserve to die but compared to the average millennial right winger you were far more amenable to 40 pieces of silver and not rocking the boat respectability. It’s like my extremely old right mom says-she hated what was coming but didn’t fight hard enough against because my family could afford private schools. And she end pissed my MBA-RNC dad off by canvassing for Pat B and giving him a max donation in 1992. A lot of the resentment comes from the fact boomers don’t acknowledge their fecklessness on this and instead sneer about liberal arts degrees.

  102. Let’s test in the Seattle area this weekend. Seattle is not lacking in high-profile billionaires, such as Gates, Bezos, or Schulz, who can write a check to cover it.

    Your hopes of those fellows helping in any way that might hurt their profits are likely naive. I would not bet on it. Last I read they contributed 2.5 millions to the effort between them. “ONE MILLION DOLLARS” and stuff.

    On the other hand, another way to measure this is years lost. For example, I’m 61. I don’t have all that many years left, and I’ve enjoyed a fine life. It’s not that big of a tragedy if this thing takes me down. (On the other hand, personally speaking, I’m very much against that outcome, so I’m washing/sanitizing my hands 60 times per day and turning on and off light switches with my elbow.)

    This might be in jest, but you, Sailer, have a very low risk of being infected, as for all anyone knows you only currently share your house with your wife and aren’t getting out much, and if infected, you very probably won’t die or even need hospitalization, as you aren’t obese, diabetic, or a smoker, and you have have survived cancer a few decades ago and it hasn’t come back. Anything can happen, but your doctor might agree. You might want to give him a call, if you haven’t already, and ask him how likely, in his informed view, you are to die from Covid-19. I’d almost wager the chances are minuscle. You might be more likely to scrape the skin of your hands off.

  103. Corvinus says:

    Wow, Mr. Sailer, another solid post, and without your patented snark.

    So, this week, more GREAT iSteve content here.

    1. When Trump or Kellyanne Conway or one of his officials try to popularize the phrase “Chinese virus”, understand it is government propaganda. I wonder if they ever heard of the phrase “Kansas Flu”…”

    https://www.kansascity.com/news/business/health-care/article241058181.html

    2. On Wednesday, March 18, the White House has issued a “temporary pause” on congressional testimony for senior officials involved in the coronavirus response. Why? Should there not be transparency?

    3. “Leadership: Whatever happens, you’re responsible. If it doesn’t happen, you’re responsible”. Donald Trump Nov 8, 2013

    “I don’t take responsibility at all”–Donald Trump March 14, 2020

    4. Sentiment among Republicans is shifting because there is zero justification to give no-strings-attached cash to industries like the airlines that had the chance to use massive profits and tax cuts to build a rainy day fund, but instead used the money to pad investor returns and executive pay.

    5. The Dow has now erased ALL gains since Trump took office. Remember, Trump told us to judge him by the stock market.

    6. This nugget from anchor baby Michelle Malkin–“Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that all these “limited government” Republicans in the House, Senate, Trump cabinet and conservative media were up on stage at the ‘Conservative’ Political Action Conference performing conga-line warnings about the scourge of Bernie Sanders-style interventions in the capitalist marketplace?”

    7. And the icing on the cake…

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/18/us/trump-coronavirus-statements-timeline.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimes

    • Replies: @Sam Haysom
  104. Corvinus says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    “We have already destroyed 30% of the notional value of the US stock market, shuttered thousands of businesses and plunged the world into a depression, and the virus hasn’t even done anything remotely devastating yet.”

    You really need to re-read Mr. Sailer’s post and his latest from Taki’s to fully comprehend the severity of the situation.

    “Before this is all over, nobody will even remember what Covid-19 was.”

    You are utterly clueless.

  105. @Tom Kirkendall

    Italy’s death count from 1 to 200 [1,…,197]

    vs

    US death count from 1 to 200 [1,…,125]

    Those two series are statistically identical – by which I mean, if you’re modelling the early-stage spread of a pathogen and use a ‘pure’ exponential function, the estimated coefficient for the US is within the 99% CI for the estimate for Italy.

    However the critical thing is to look at what is taking people off – i.e., whether people are dying of it, or simply with it.

    For example the first ‘covid19’ death in South Florida a day or so ago, was a 95 year old who died of bacterial pneumonia. He also had heart disease, diabetes and lung disease – all chronic.

    So the very first covid19 death in South Florida had not much to do with coronavirus per se: it had to do with a fragile elderly man whose system got one shock more than it could cope with. His unconditional age-sex cohort mortality rate is pretty high (in samples of people with his level of underlying chronic illness, it’s over 75%[1]).

    So despite this chap’s unfortunate demise, his contribution to the South Florida covid19 death toll was actually zero.

    Similarly, a recent ‘cluster’ of 9 deaths included 7 deaths from stroke, cardiac arrest, and kidney failure, in patients whose underlying conditions included recent histories of stroke, heart attack and kidney disease.

    So that’s 8 deaths out of 9 – in an overall US dead’uns sample of a hundred or so – which have been attributed to, but are absolutely not caused by or the direct result of, this weak-ass pathogen.

    And for this, the political class – globally – is prepared to stop the heart of the economic system, as if it can be turned back on like a light switch.

    Do some estimates of the economic loss that will be caused by the excess deaths of the victims: it’s literally fuck-all.

    Let’s say that the less-histrionic Chicken Littles are correct, and the overall effect is to drop ~0.5% of the healthy 50+ population, Pareto-style – i.e., 20% of the population gets it; 20% of of that gets it bad; 20% of those die.

    [inb4: 20% cubed is 0.8%, you monster]

    Getting it down to 0.005 from 0.008 is just a back-of-the-envelope approach to excluding chronic health problems – we’re only concerned with healthy 50+ people, who are the most productive and whose death contributes disproportionately to system-wide productivity losses. On nett, the chronically-ill are a net drag on output (they divert resources from productive use to ‘keep this person alive just because‘ use).

    Anyhow.. 0.5% is almost certainly an order of magnitude too high.

    It still results in a big number in person terms (0.005 × 0.34 × 330m = 561,000), but it’s fuck-all in terms of output since labour force participation of the 50+ cohort is low (it follows a kind-of Weibull distribution).

    It seems like a cold-hearted calculus, but the ‘correct’ amount to spend on mitigation ought to be the economic loss multiplied by two things:
    • a penalty (< 1) to account for the probability that the mitigation works;
    • a factor (> 1) to account for the form of Jensen’s Inequality used in economics to account for risk-aversion in utility functionals – viz., E(u(μ)) > u(E(μ))

    Think of it as the insurance premium required to reduce the death risk of 0.4% of the workforce back to its virus-free level, using a mechanism that is not guaranteed to work.

    As with Y2K, terrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrism – and all politically-promulgated public hysterias going all the way back to witches – the actual cost imposed for proposed mitigation is at least 2 orders of magnitude greater than the actuarially-fair amount.

    All based on selective, biased data that is guaranteed to overestimate the costs of doing nothing, and overestimate the benefits (and underestimate the costs) of the proposed policy.

    In almost 30 years of analysing policy, that last paragraph has never ever been shown to be a bad premise.

    .

    [1] Lee et al., “Chronic Conditions and Mortality Among the Oldest OldAm J Public Health. 2008 July; 98(7): 1209–1214

    • Thanks: vhrm, TomSchmidt
    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
    , @HA
  106. 40 million deaths of old folks like me in a population of 7 billion does not compare to 40 million deaths of young people in a populaiton of one billion.

  107. vhrm says:
    @ferd

    This is what unemployment insurance is for. Just like getting laid off at the steel mill or the shipyards.

    Maybe bring people back one week a month (or some fraction) to keep the lights on and the insurance going. Another way to think about it is “job sharing”.

    It would be a challenge for HR but it’s better than just eating the costs, imo.

  108. @Charon

    Didn’t Wuhan already serve as a test tube for measuring the infection and mortality rates during an unconstrained ramp up, and a controlled ramp down of the virus?

    Were the Chinese unable to properly collect this data? Or do we simply not trust them to tell us what they found?

    • Replies: @Prosa123
  109. @128

    In Confucian societies where elderly are revered

    … society misattributes age for knowledge.

    FIFYA.

    Reverence for people because the lived longer than you did, is as retarded as reverence for people because they squirted out offspring at their physical capacity.

    Neither is a priori worthy of reverence.

    ‘Respect the elders’ is a strategy that gets embedded in cultures when old people are a key source of information – i.e., societies with poorly-developed information-retention systems.

    It should be discarded once information-systems are developed enough to ensure near-complete, accurate, low-cost information repositories… retaining it for longer than that is fucking stupid. (It’s actually even worse than the military idea ‘respect the rank, not the man‘).

    Let’s look at corner cases…

    • a 90 year old paedophile priest who spent 60 years raping children;
    • a woman who squirts out 10 welfare recipients (or worse: 10 bureaucrats… same deleterious economic as welfare recipients, but 5x more so).

    Neither deserves the slightest iota of respect.

    Work your way from there until you get a set of outcomes that merit respect.

    .

    Revere (or rather ‘respect’) meaningful outcomes.

    Getting old is not a meaningful outcome; the important thing is what happens on the way.

    Likewise, having offspring is not a meaningful outcome: the important thing is what happens thereafter.

    Now, if the woman had instead squirted out 10 kiddies who went on to generate value in excess of the social cost of raising them… I’ll “revere” the fuck out of that woman; her kids are top-decile which makes them pretty special.

    Likewise, if a 90 year old had spent a lifetime as a net contributor – i.e., spent an entire working life generating private-sector value added, and was funding their own twilight years (including being able to claw back the real value of their forced SS contributions – plus accrued interest). That guy has my respect.

    .

    People need to learn to respect their betters – and to be highly discriminating (and merciless to themselves) in determining who those ‘betters‘ are.

    (FWIW: In my taxonomy, no lifetime net-recipient of government policy tilts is my ‘better’ – those whose lifetime household income derives mostly from taxes or legislated privilege).

  110. @Anon

    But in-person medical tests by a government so many distrust?

    The govt wastes so much more time, money, effort, and political capital for far more trivial matters. It’s worth a try.

    • Agree: ben tillman
  111. @128

    Sorry not trying to be judgemental, but maybe this has to do with the way that Western societies do not value old people at all and treat them like crap socially? Hence your attitude as a Westerner? In Confucian societies where elderly are revered, this type attitude would be unnaceptable.

    So in Confucian countries they shut down all social activity every year for flu season or when any viral bug is on the loose? I did not know that. Hats off to Confucian countries.

    • Replies: @128
  112. vhrm says:
    @Travis

    Maybe we could/should look into some modern day iron lungs. They’re not good if your doing surgery, but probably a heck of a lot more comfortable than having a plastic tube down your throat inflating you like a balloon if all you need is breathing support.

    (note: i haven’t researched if this is feasible for covid-19 sufferers, but seems like it would be)

    • Replies: @James Forrestal
  113. @Corvinus

    Trump will be re-elected with a mandate to punish China. Irony is business cycle was near its end anyways you could have had a September dip or a Dow explosion before mid terms. Instead coronavirus popped the bubble and Trump gets a reset.

    Get ready to hear the Obama pig (No not Moochelle) starting in May. Gives Trump and an excellent comparison as this isn’t going to kill even half of the swine flu. You guys did your best but Trump’s luck is gonna prevail again. Obama dithered on swine flu and killed 12K that’s all trump needs. All you had to do was not pick Obama’s VP. Lmao.

    • Replies: @Polynikes
  114. duh says:

    A university in Italy has tested everyone in the town Vo where the first case was found.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/18/scientists-say-mass-tests-in-italian-town-have-halted-covid-19

  115. Prosa123 says:
    @Ed

    Mt. Vernon is a predominantly black city, and as our site host has pointed out many times, beauty salons and barber shops can be de facto community centers in some black communities.

  116. What this inquiring mind would like to know is, if we don’t get at least a million deaths before year end, do we get to top off the death toll with public executions of the politicians and oligarchs who condemned us to this not-so-brave world?

  117. @Intelligent Dasein

    We can’t keep doing this every time a new respiratory infection is making the rounds; there just isn’t that much cushion left in the system.

    What an inhumane attitude!

    You appear to be ignoring the fact that there has been a coup d’etat by the infection control nurses and germophobes who have taken over the Three Ring Circus, formerly known as the US Congress and Administration.

    Of course this will be standard procedure every flu season from now on. The school year will now be from June to Thanksgiving only and airline flights will only be available during the school year. Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day have already been canceled.

    The US will be activating sanctions against any foreign person or company that breaches infection control rules during the interdicted period and will shoot down incoming airliners trying to land at Orlando Disney Airport, JFK Jr. airport New York, Donald Trump Nationalist Airport at Washington, Atlanta Kardashian Airport (AKA), or Miami Domestic Airport airport (MAD), during Spring Break.

    The Supreme Court will announce that the original text of the First Amendment had some very small writing at the bottom that had never been noticed so, that it now actually reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances unless the President says there is a virus in the land, in which case the above is null and void and the penalty for breach thereof shall be excommunication and/or death.”

    Excuse me a moment, there is someone with a walkie-talkie kicking my front door and my dog is barking. I will be right ba…

  118. Prosa123 says:
    @Hypnotoad666

    Early estimates out of Wuhan showed a 2.4% to 3.0% death rate among those infected. Now that things have calmed down, the actual rate looks more like 1.4%. I would presume, though I don’t know for sure, that people whose symptoms were so mild that they didn’t seek medical care were not counted, so the true death rate among the infected is even lower than 1.4%.
    Separately, the health authorities in Italy looked at a random sample (about 19%) of that country’s deaths and determined that almost all were among people who were not merely old, but old with other major preexisting conditions like heart disease and emphysema.

  119. @Patrick Sullivan

    One of the first 4 deaths in Denmark was a 62-year-old African bearing the very African name Kwabena Sarfo-Maanu. He had had blood clots in his heart and lungs in December, followed by heart arrest and (artificial?) coma. While in coma, he contracted pneumonia. He was just about recovered from that when he got the virus.

    Did he die of the virus? Hard to say, really. But he was definitely African. He fled from Ghana’s military dictatorship to Denmark as a young man because he had connections: his brother was Ghana’s ambassador in Denmark.

    The first death here was an 80-year-old man with heart problems. He died of a heart attack. Did he die of the virus? Maybe. Maybe not.

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  120. ATBOTL says:

    I think the problem here is largely about the culture and ideology of our medical system. The American medical industry is oriented around rationing treatment and making patients who are not from favored groups jump through numerous bureaucratic hoops to get anything. The system is designed to be intimidating in many ways so people don’t seek treatment. Doctors care far more about rigidly enforcing their own power and privilege than they care about treating patients. The system wants patients to pay as much money as possible, while also having no power or ability to get treatment on their own, so most doctors in America have a deep attitude of hostility towards low tech solutions like wearing masks or using old, cheap drugs that work.

    • Replies: @jsm
  121. @AnotherDad

    “Where my kids went to school, the teachers are paid year round. I believe that’s the norm. And expected to work X number of school days.”

    They are paid on the X number of school days, and can choose how to be paid.

    Most states, by law, pay teachers in the event of a pandemic. So the only choice is to pay them to try and teach kids remotely, or pay them to sit at home and them pay them again to work summers.

    Besides, it’s not just teachers–it’s custodial staff, nurses, attendance clerks, and everything else. Federal workers, too. We all get paid.

  122. Look here, Jack, we are the United States of America, the most kick-ass country ever. Running a scientifically valid random sample survey is not beyond our national capabilities.

    Yes it is.

    You don’t have the tests. Physically.

    You don’t have the money for the tests, which thanks to free enterprise will cost a fortune. Yay Big Pharma!

    You don’t have a legal framework to compel people to take the tests. Your people in certain places have a long history of hatred for and noncompliacnce with the federal government. And swathes of your biggest cities are no-go areas for earnest people with clipboards and medical equipment. Any test you do will not be truly random.

    Your country has distrusted and hated its government for so long that the only organ of governmant that kinda-sorta works is the military. The only way to accomplish this testing would be to send the army in. This would be illegal under you own laws, and in general a military does not do very well when addressing civilian problems and populations (which is why every military dictatorship is a shithole).

    But most importantly – testing will do nothing, nothing, nothing at all to forestall the spread of the disease. It would accomplish nothing.

  123. @Kratoklastes

    Fuck’s sake… in my haste to fix a fuckup caused by the way WordPress is parsing stuff between singleton < and the next singleton > (which excised everything from “to account for” to “a factor”) in 5 minutes or less, I replaced the sole remaining ‘<' (which was in the inequality) with the HTML entity "&gt;” FFS.

    It should read E(u(μ)) < u(E(μ)) – for concave utility functionals ; arguments that there is any other kind of utility functional are largely specious.

    Obviously the parser excises any plaintext between opening and closing “triangle-brackets” that is not part of a set of permitted HTML tags; that’s not a reliable way to do tag selection.

  124. @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    Ironic that you have been dubbed a troll by the likes of Corvinus.

  125. botazefa says:

    The US response to SARS CoV-2 may have the effect of erecting a southern border wall.

    Mexico may end up paying for it after all because the restaurant/bar jobs just evaporated, presumably sending all the workers back home.

  126. This is like lowering the speed limit to 10 mph because we suddenly discover that an average of 100 people die every day in the US in traffic accidents. Maybe a better analogy would be if we banned driving altogether. Even with the data, the problem is that most people – especially progressives – are empathizers rather than systematizers when it comes to public policy.

    There’s a speed limit that optimizes the amount and quality of human life, and at this point in time the coronavirus response is well below that limit (ie too cautious). We need to get moving, even if some people have to die.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  127. @Anonymous

    How does Ioannidis not know about the best sample so far? The Chinese tested 320,000(!) people at fever clinics in Guangdong, one of the heavier affected provinces. Only .15 percent of *sick* people were positive.

    Only one in 700 sick people tested positive? That can’t be right.

    • Replies: @UK
  128. @128

    Western societies do not value old people at all

    Hmmm…

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/06/07/report-federal-government-spends-more-elderly-than-kids/677011002/

    Spending on kids fell from $405 billion in 2010, or 10.7% percent of the budget, to $377 billion in 2016, or 9.8% of the budget.
    The elderly are gettingmore of the pie ($1.4 trillion, or 37%), while children are getting less ($377 billion, or 9.8%).

    Yeah, the USA doesn’t value old people at all.

  129. ATBOTL says:
    @Robert Dolan

    Boomers didn’t vote for open borders……it was forced on us. Boomers did not vote for globalism…..it was forced on us.

    Sadly, that’s not true. Most ideological conservative Boomers were eager supporters of globalism. Look at the Reagan/Dubya worship. There was much more skepticism from both the Silents and the Xers about the wisdom of free trade, outsourcing, high immigration and wars in the Middle East. There really is a peak for support of the current order among the generation of white men who are now in their 60’s and 70’s. I’ve have seen this IRL for 30 years.

    Part of what is driving anger towards boomers on the dissident right is the “I don’t see race” type rhetoric from these people. Another factor is the over the top philosemitism. You go on Free Republic, where the boomers are and you see many of these people genuinely care more about Israel than America. Boomers like that need to be confronted and called out more, not less.

    Since Trump, we have an influx of boomer conservatives into alt-right online spaces. They tend to be very obnoxious, coming into our spaces with no contrition about being wrong in the past. They show up and start pushing their confused nonsense about “it’s not really about race, it’s just culture” and “why are you guys so mad at Jews, they are God’s chosen people who must be worshipped.” They generally have a hard time getting the alt-right zeitgeist. They especially struggle with being critical towards American style capitalism and militarism. Most of us Xers and younger would like our own spaces without boomers.

    Also, for many of us, this personal. We had parents, teachers, pastors, bosses etc. who were boomer type conservatives who called us “racists” for not wanting mass immigration and things like that. What goes around comes around. Boomer conservatives had no pity on the younger white people whose lives were destroyed by immigration and minority worship. We were told to “suck it up, we don’t care about your suffering,” and “stop blaming immigrants, who are better than you anyway.” When the whip is in our hand, we will repay them and nothing will stop it.

    I’m not sure why you brought up “small hats.” Small hats are modern Orthodox Jews.

    • Replies: @jsm
  130. @Peter Lund

    Did he die of the virus?

    No.

    If you think the answer is ‘Yes’, then the correct apples-to-apples death rate for normal seasonal flu increases dramatically – it makes covid19 look even shittier (as a pathogen) by comparison.

    .

    Currently, any death from “respiratory illness + seasonal flu“, gets counted as a death from seasonal flu.

    So if someone dies of bacterial pneumonia, and they also have the ‘flu, it’s a ‘flu death‘.

    That way of counting deaths amounts to ~45,000 a year (in the US alone) – that means 10,000 deaths a week in ‘peak’ ‘flu season.

    Flu season is canonically 13 weeks; the peak is only 2-3 weeks – see CDC’s weekly tallies for how the thing evolves during the season.

    In the last week for which the data has been prepared, 7.1% of all deaths were due to ‘P&I’ (Pneumonia and (actually or) Influenza)).

    A lot of people object to that method, saying that it overstates the extent of seasonal flu deaths in a bid to encourage people to get flu shots.

    The ‘something else + flu‘ deaths are seasonal flu’s RBIs – but flu will not get credited for RBIs where the actual cause of death was a non-respiratory comorbidity: the CDC uses data based on ICD-10, and there’s no way ‘flu is on the death certificate as a CoD when some 65yo guy with a history of heart disease dies after a massive heart attack.

    Add in ‘heart attack + seasonal flu‘, ‘stroke + seasonal flu‘, ‘anything else + seasonal flu‘, and the number of deaths from normal flu will be even larger.

  131. Anon[186] • Disclaimer says:

    Study from Italy shows that a whopping 99% of a sample of *2,500* Chinese virus deaths had at least one existing illness, with 75% having at least two illnesses:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-18/99-of-those-who-died-from-virus-had-other-illness-italy-says

    Average age of death: 79.5

    Number of deaths under age 50: 17

  132. @Brian Reilly

    Will the dependents be a reliable shock force, if called upon, sort of like Antifa in Portland? I wonder.

    Maybe.

    My thought was that the new dependent class will suddenly be offered jobs by the military.

    Then, the US will suddenly be in a major war with Iran. Or China.

  133. jsm says:
    @FPD72

    “The mortality rate is 0.019%.”

    7/3711 = .00188

    That would round to .19%. You are off by a factor of 10.”

    Wut?

    .00188 rounds to .0019. He’s off by a factor of 10, all right, but you’re off by a factor of 100.

  134. @Jonathan Mason

    “Excuse me a moment, there is someone with a walkie-talkie kicking my front door and my dog is barking. I will be right ba…”

    Ah Ha! Another naive cell phone user.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
  135. @anon

    True. Just think what a die off of the 60+ crowd would do for the solvency of SS and Medicare!

    OK, boomer. Time to go.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
  136. jsm says:
    @ATBOTL

    “They show up and start pushing their confused nonsense about “it’s not really about race, it’s just culture” and “why are you guys so mad at Jews, they are God’s chosen people who must be worshipped.”

    This is correct. They (we — I’m technically a boomer, born in ’63, but in truth I’m an early Gen X’er. We got hit in the face with all the crap our much older brothers and sisters rolled down at us) were SO EAGER to be seen as “colorblind conservatives” so they could strut around and get lots of Virtue Signaling headpats from their hippie buddies.
    They also bought into the hooey that the likes of Hal Lindsay (“Late Great Planet Earth) peddled, to wit, that the establishment of the political entity known as State of Israel with Jews in it in the Middle East in ’48 meant that Jesus was coming back Any Day Now. THAT meant they’d not have to go through all that tedious business of dying, and since they’re Boomers and they’re special, of COURSE they’d be the generation that doesn’t have to face mortality. I mean, natch.
    Now, OTOH, if Israel were to cease to exist, that would blow up Hal Lindsay’s whole theory, which would mean mortality for them after all, and everybody knows THAT would be just unacceptable. So, “Stand with Israel,” send them my tax money, worship Jews as God’s Chosen, it is.

    … I know all this. I watched my older siblings do exactly this stuff.

  137. Alice says:
    @epebble

    and in my state, NC, they have tested over 1500, presumably those they thought would test positive after ruling out flu, and they have found less than 150 cases (and at least 15 of the 122 got it in Israel and came home with it, so they werent actually “here”.)

    So we test and even then, can only find that less than 10% of suspected respiratory illnesses with some possible contact to Corona have it. 90% have Something else that isn’t even flu!

    But we’ve destroyed the economy, let thr commies control our movements, entered a depression and all activties are cancelled, and if I say this out loud, I’m murdering my parents.

  138. George says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Diamond Princess
    Total 712
    Dead 7
    Recovered 527
    Active 178
    Serious 14

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

  139. jsm says:
    @ATBOTL

    Absolutely true.
    Why do we import doctors due to “doctor shortage”? Because AMA very carefully assures that American Medical School is a good in very short supply.

  140. UK says:
    @ben tillman

    Yes, you’re right.

    Everyone who is sick be careful! Were running out of hospital beds. One in seven hundred of you could have avoided being a bit sick if only we’d locked everyone in the country in their homes for an undefined length of time!

  141. UK says:

    The Prince of Monaco has it. The Head of EU negotiations has it. It is truly a disease of the rich and powerful…or it is only then getting tested? I think it is really quite safe to bet on the latter.

  142. @UK

    UK, It is a panic over a hoax. A hoax being used on purpose, for nefarious reasons by our corporate and governmental (but I repeat myself) rulers. This is a scam, a huge theft, an embezzlement, the biggest sting in the world, use any metaphor you like. What it is NOT is an uncommon lot of people dying from a virus that is going around.

    I would not do better if I were in charge, because I would never be associated with a global scam like this. I am a working class stiff and am reasonably honest, not given to theft or envy. The reaction to this small time virus has been to purposefully lie, prevaricate, obfuscate, and frighten, not to protect public health. The people that are participating in this scam better hope and pray that people like me stay small in number, or their days may be small in number. It is only a hoax, but it is damnably effective, thus far.

    • Replies: @UK
  143. FPD72 says:
    @jsm

    Do you understand percentages?

    Question: 1 is what percentage of 1?
    Answer: 100%.

    Quick and dirty converting simple quotients into percentages: move the decimal point over two places to the right. So if the quotient is .0019, the percentage is .19%.

  144. Anonymous[270] • Disclaimer says:

    There has to be a term for it if it does not exists: “an intellectual whore”. It goes like this:

    – A guy has a nice idea, enunciates it eloquently.
    – The guy is hailed as an intellectual messiah, a prophet of the enlightened age.
    – The guy loves the limelight. Really, really loves.
    – The guy is so in love with it, he is willing to say or do almost anything to keep it up.
    – Unfortunately, nice and original ideas are very hard to come by.
    – So the guy becomes “edgy”, “controversial” and “contrarian” – starting to spout all kinds of pure bullshit just to stay “relevant”.

    Many have gone down this tube, most recently Taleb and now Ioannidis. That in this latest case Ioannidis is full of shit should be obvious at the very least from two most recent observations:

    1. His claim that the current pandemics is no more than a noise in the regular flu season:

    “If we had not known about a new virus out there … at most, we might have casually noted that flu this season seems to be a bit worse than average”.

    – That is patently false because the numbers and rates of deaths in several locales is unprecedented.

    2. His evidence-free claim that COVID-19 is not very infectious and should not be feared if you are under conditions that maximize your chances to be infected by either aerosols or fomites route:

    “you shouldn’t worry if the subway is your only option right now. The risk would be extremely low with pubic transportation or rideshares”

    – alas, folks in NY have learned how false that is in the past two weeks…

    One might even adopt the term “intellectual yet idiot” (IYI) for the phenomenon – except for the fact that the guy who coined it (Taleb) is no different from other opportunist hacks.

  145. @jsm

    .00188 rounds to .0019. He’s off by a factor of 10, all right, but you’re off by a factor of 100.

    No, he’s not. .0019 is the same as .19%.

  146. Polynikes says:
    @Sam Haysom

    12k that summer and fall of 2009. The same publication did a ten year retrospective and estimated a 75k death toll in total. https://www.statnews.com/2019/06/11/h1n1-swine-flu-10-years-later/

    So if Trump is comparing himself to Obama, he’s got a little room for error.

  147. @Robert Dolan

    Boomer bashing is divisive and stupid. Boomers didn’t vote for open borders……it was forced on us. Boomers did not vote for globalism…..it was forced on us.

    No, every generation needs to own up to the role it played in forever cheating future White generations. NO exceptions.

    It’s especially important because the cuckish traits that let it happens are alive and well. Forget coronavirus, we need to nuke the cuck curve!

    Forgiveness is possible, but not until people ‘fess up.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  148. @Jack D

    Suppose I told you that if everyone stayed home for one day, 60 million lives could be saved? You’d do that, right? Now if I told you that if we shut down our entire economy, one old geezer would live another six weeks, you’d say no, not worth it. What we have is somewhere in between and we are going to have to feel our way into a reasonable cost/benefit balance. This is admittedly hard to do in a panic/ ghouls trying to seek political advantage out of tragedy situation.

    Yes, I can agree with that.

  149. @jsm

    And you’re off by a parenthesis. And a factor of 100. Be careful when you’re correcting someone.

  150. vhrm says:

    Another negative aspect of this (imo) overreaction is that it’ll possibly kill untold numbers 5 or 10 years from now when the next, possibly more dangerous, health threat comes around and everyone will regard epidemiologists as Chicken Littles.

    We’ll see… maybe I’m wrong and they will have saved us all. Or 1 of every 1000 of us at least.

  151. Cardano says:

    Estimating coronavirus’s US toll

    BY DOUGLAS CARR, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 03/19/20 08:30 PM EDT

    An article pointing out that two key parameters in estimating the spread of an infectious disease are R_0, and CFR (case fatality rate). There are good models for projection, but these parameters in the case Covid-19 are very poorly known. He comes up with some back-of-the-envelope calculations based on the examples from countries which started earlier.

    https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/488494-estimating-coronaviruss-us-toll

    All models which project the future show error propagation or growth over time, i.e., errors either in the model itself or in the parameters in the model cause the error to grow over time.

    One of my thoughts is that the underlying phenomenon on which all the models are based experiences exponential growth, and this means that the propagation of error will be much worse than is the case when the growth is much less than exponential.

  152. Cardano says:

    I’ve been looking for data on the demographics of this virus, particularly recent and non-Chinese data. So far I’ve found this:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://arc-anglerfish-washpost-prod-washpost.s3.amazonaws.com/public/7SIRXCEIENFW3JYGVU4MNGVY24.png&w=1440

    See the article for the many caveats about this sample:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/19/younger-adults-are-large-percentage-coronavirus-hospitalizations-united-states-according-new-cdc-data/

    It’s early days yet to get good data (one of the things I mean by good data is data without too much sample bias.

  153. Cardano says:

    Chart of age distribution:

    Taken from this site:

    https://www.statista.com/chart/21134/age-distribution-coronavirus-italy-south-korea/

    This is a chart which shows distribution across age groups, while I’m more interested in knowing what the prevalence is in each age group. Of course, this can be calculated by combining this data with the distribution of age groups in the population, but it’s tedious.

  154. @Robert Dolan

    The boomer blaming/bashing splits young whites from older whites, and it also lets the actual nation wreckers off the hook.

    Add “boomer” to white, male, Christian, straight, etc., as yet another Demographic You Are Permitted Encouraged to Blame for All the World’s Ills. I approach such birthdate-based analyses with the same attitude as with the others. It’s basically astrology.

    Timeline Timecolumn

    Jan. 1946 Big Brother Boomer born
    July 1946 The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care published
    Dec. 1953 First issue of Playboy, with Marilyn
    May 1954 Brown v Board decided
    Late 1950s:

    Nov. 1960 Summerhill published
    Mar. 1961 Twenty-Third Amendment ratified
    June 1963 Abington School District v. Schempp decided
    Jan. 1964 Big Brother could vote in Georgia and Kentucky
    Nov. 1964 Landslide in favor of never questioning Social Security, Medicare, and the restratifiec

    Dec. 1964 Baby Brother Boomer born
    Jan. 1965 Big Brother could vote in Alaska
    Jan. 1966 Big Brother could vote in Hawaii
    Jan. 1967 Big Brother could finally vote in the other 46 states
    Dec. 1982 Baby Brother could vote in every state

    • Agree: ben tillman
  155. @RichardTaylor

    No, every generation needs to own up to the role it played in forever cheating future White generations. NO exceptions.

    Cheating future whites has been going on for 400 years. That’s a lot of owning up to do. Mostly by the dead.

    • Replies: @RichardTaylor
  156. @Reg Cæsar

    Cheating future whites has been going on for 400 years. That’s a lot of owning up to do. Mostly by the dead.

    True. All we can do is take down their statues and stop worshipping them.

  157. vhrm says:

    Another thing that i dislike about the current “shelter-in-place” shutdown, is that , in addition to being overly-broad, it’s also moved the focus off of other possibly necessary (or useful) actions:
    – we’ve covered masks at some length, but even in my heavily Asian immigrant /Asian-American area, maybe only 20% of cashiers , chefs, etc are wearing masks.

    – ventilation (of buildings) : basically “more is better”. (both exhaust fans and recirculation type)

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6072925/

    So guidance for places still open prob. should be to turn fans to “on” and/or “higher than normal if not annoying”

    — HEPA filters definitely help, but how about some ozone injection, is that helpful? Perhaps run them for a few hours overnight in stores or pump it into buses and trains at the end of every run? (yes i know it’s considered a pollutant, but that’s context dependent)

    the wuhan style “mist the streets with disinfectant” was maybe a bit much, but afaict we’re doing close to nothing other than the halfh hearted but still highly damaging “stay home” …

    — also another thing about masks: shortage. got it. where’s the discussion (and crash protocol development) for disinfecting and reusing the masks; esp respirator types?

    Some area nurses are protesting on the streets today because they’re FINALLY been told to reuse stuff and they don’t want to.

    If you’ve been to a doctor recently or had any procedures (or looked into it) you know how much of the equipment nowaday is disposable be being cleaned, disinfected and reused.
    Generally, that’s reasonably cost and time effective, and there’s a lot of “out of an abundance of caution”.
    Well, that’s fine when you have infinite resources … but less so when cut off from your suppliers on the other side of the Pacific. (<- who would have guessed 70 years ago in which direction those supplies would be following? )

  158. @epebble

    epebble-

    I too saw that article, and as with every article, it utterly fails to explain what is going on.
    15 trucks (and 50 soldiers) showed up at Bergamo (google says population of 122,000) to move bodies.
    How many bodies? (5, 15, 30, 45, 150?) we don’t know. (perhaps of those 15 trucks, 7 carried either soldiers or equipment-only 8 bodies were recovered, as one hypothetical).
    Immediately, we learn that Italy as a whole lost 450, but don’t know how many were from Bergamo-only that trucks showed up.
    Bergamo is a city in Lombardi (google says population of 10 million-1/5th of the population of Italy), and the article says Lombardi was among the hardest hit, with a total of 300 deaths.

    So is Bergamo the home of the Trauma 1 center for the region, so has collected victims, and thus bodies, from 1/5th of Italy? Or are those bodies all residents of that one relatively small town?

    Once again: we have a striking picture (trucks lined up on a road at night), but don’t know what is really going on-in one of the most advanced regions on the planet.

    joe

  159. Well think I heard the online Yale professor on epidemics in history say that flue viruses tend to be highly mutational. They come in phases of virulence The great flue pandemic of 1918 had an initial soft landing in the Spring, disappeared in the summer warmth and then, after everybody went back to work or the war, reappeared in the fall to kill more Americans than died in both world wars,
    Is this relevant to Corona? Will it not be over when we think it is over? Even if this is just a panic, will we panic again?

  160. @Joe Stalin

    Heh. “Israel is a Democracy” the man starts out.

    You know right there trouble is close behind.

  161. @Jim Don Bob

    Right! We stand to save many billions and it’ll only cost us many trillions.

  162. 128 says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    What I remember off the top of my head is that traditionally in East Asia. the state does not spend welfare on old people because taking care of your elderly parents is supposed to be the job of their children and grandchildren, not the state, according to the Confucian social order, but that works well when the TFR was still around 5 or so, so you have a lot of children to share the labour of elderly care, rather than 1, and East Asians (particularly mainland Chinese) are considerably Westernized now, and so they tend to balk at taking care of their parents and grandparents like their ancestors used to, and also the 1 child policy has made the dependency ratio very lopsided, and the Communists have also done a lot to degrade traditional Confucian values as well in China.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  163. Anon[368] • Disclaimer says:
    @Robert Dolan

    Boomer Fragility in action. Very rarely will you see any sense of culpability from Boomers. They instantly go into victim mode when called out.

  164. Anonymous[716] • Disclaimer says:
    @JimB

    Nobody knows how many Chinese are in the country due to illegal immigration. Anecdotes suggest that the illegal Chinese population is huge.

    • Replies: @JimB
  165. @128

    What I remember off the top of my head is that traditionally in East Asia. the state does not spend welfare on old people because taking care of your elderly parents is supposed to be the job of their children and grandchildren, not the state, according to the Confucian social order

    Here is the US we have Medicare, which is government subsidized medical care for everyone over the age of 65.

    In addition any sick old person can live the last years of their life free of charge in a nursing home under the auspices of Medicaid.

    The catch, however, is that the person who moves into the nursing home under Medicaid must liquidate all their assets except for a small deductible and hand them over to the government, which would mean selling their homes, for example, and using up all retirement account funds.

    In many cases the old person has younger members of the family living in their home, so if the home has to be liquidated, then the younger family members may lose the place where they live rent free. This provides a strong incentive to keep elderly persons at home with support from Medicare, not Medicaid, so that perhaps if they pass away the heirs will inherit their homes and assets, if there are any left.

  166. JimB says:
    @Anonymous

    Nobody knows how many Chinese are in the country due to illegal immigration. Anecdotes suggest that the illegal Chinese population is huge.

    Yes, but they accrete onto the legal population, providing exploitable cheap labor for legal Chinese who traffic them. I posted maps showing good correspondence between the distribution of Asian immigrants and coronavirus cases in the US, showing they are likely the main spreaders. We are reaping the whirlwind for our mass immigration and open borders policies engineered for the benefit of rich leftists.

  167. HA says:
    @Kratoklastes

    “So the very first covid19 death in South Florida had not much to do with coronavirus per se…”

    That’s not true. Similar questions arise in AIDS, which might not kill you directly, but weakens your immunity so that something else can kill you. Coronavirus also causes cytokine storms:

    But in extreme cases, the immune system goes berserk, causing more damage than the actual virus. For example, blood vessels might open up to allow defensive cells to reach the site of an infection; that’s great, but if the vessels become too leaky, the lungs fill even more with fluid…During a cytokine storm, the immune system isn’t just going berserk but is also generally off its game, attacking at will without hitting the right targets. When this happens, people become more susceptible to infectious bacteria.

    So yeah, the bacterial pneumonia might have done him in, but that doesn’t mean coronavirus wasn’t a co-conspirator, so to speak, and it’s not deceptive to include him in the count. Presumably, at some point they may break out coronavirus-related deaths from coronavirus deaths. (The usual turn of phrase in AIDS is “died of AIDS-related causes”.)

    Moreover, if all the respirators (and hospital beds and nurses and doctors) are being used up and are unavailable, as is happening in Italy, patients will die for all sorts of reasons that are nominally unrelated to coronavirus, but it still played a role.

    Admittedly, there’s always some arbitrariness as to how you attribute death, especially if other morbidities are present (and there will be plenty of deaths directly or indirectly related to the anti-coronavirus measures now in place) but at some point, this becomes a lot like playing holocaust counting games and saying the inmates in the poorly-run poorly-maintained camp who died of typhus or malnutrition aren’t Nazi victims at all. I mean, come on.

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  168. @HA

    A 95 year old man whose hand is a JQK straight in high-morbidity existing medical conditions, will have his switch tripped by a half-decent draught.

    Pr(that guy makes it through each month) might be (roughly) 95%, but Pr(that guy makes it through the year) is less than 25%.

    More to the point: anyone who advocates for counting covid19’s any-cause RBIs, has to do the same for seasonal ‘flu… which makes covid19’s numbers look even more like a nothingburger.

    The thing people don’t get right, is ensuring apples-to-apples comparisons.

    Hence we have been inundated with innumerate fucktards braying about confirmed-case numbers “growing exponentially”, when the thing that’s driving most of the ‘growth’ is the increase in the number of people tested… the proportion testing positive is about 10%.

    • Replies: @HA
  169. UK says:
    @Brian Reilly

    It isn’t a hoax. I know plenty of people who talk to Britain’s leading experts in this field. None of those experts think it is a hoax. They simply don’t have enough data and are going with the general feeling.

    On the other hand, you know very little about organising anything and so you think this would be something that could be organised as a hoax.

    This is why people like you will never take power. By definition you know nothing about anything relevant. It ia a sort of tragedy – if you were the hero that is, rather than just a clueless bystander advertising his ignorance.

    How do you think this could ever be pulled off as a hoax?

  170. @vhrm

    Maybe we could/should look into some modern day iron lungs.

    Nope. Iron lungs worked for polio because the issue is one of muscle weakness — the lungs themselves are fine.
    But you can’t adequately oxygenate someone with significant ARDS from any cause with negative pressure. You need positive end-expiratory pressure, which requires intubation to get a proper seal. Or, in less serious cases, BIPAP is an option.

    See also.

  171. vhrm says:

    Hmm. thanks for the pointers. I was not aware of using external PEEP to keep the lungs more inflated between breaths.

    Why can’t this be achieved with negative ventilation though? Just keep the pressure on the IL a few mm below ambient even on the exhale, no?

    Earlier i found this paper
    https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/23/3/419

    ^ a small (n=40) RCT comparing iron lung to intubation in “acute on chronic” episodes in COPD sufferers. Iron lungs had lower pneumonia and considerably shorter ventilation days.

    Adding this PEEP concept also led to this:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3681349/

    Six patients ARDS in crossover study (2 hours each) in a tank negative pressure ventilator vs positive pressure.

    If i understand it correctly they report possibly better aveolar recruitment with the negative pressure system.

    Anyway, bipap with those helmet systems seems like a fairly tolerable non-invasive system.

  172. HA says:
    @Kratoklastes

    “Pr(that guy makes it through each month) might be (roughly) 95%, but Pr(that guy makes it through the year) is less than 25%.”

    This is basically a variation of the “boomers were at death’s door anyway” which is a separate issue. If I’m shot to death in a cancer ward, the cause of death is still hot lead, regardless of how much time I had left.

    Basically, this shifting of goalposts is your tacit admission that Florida man did indeed partly die from coronavirus.

    “More to the point: anyone who advocates for counting covid19’s any-cause RBIs, has to do the same for seasonal ‘flu…”

    Are you confident that not what they do in accounting for flu deaths? Aren’t many or most of those deaths likewise coinciding with other morbidities and doesn’t it, too, strike down primarily the elderly?

    How about adjusting the other way to get that apples-apples comparison, as in, how much worse would the flu season be if no one at all were vaccinated against it and every single individual were naive to it? I suspect those would be some serious numbers. Yeah, you can brush all those projected dead off like they did in the good old days when infant mortality was 50% and a quarter of women died in childburth — or whatever other golden age you hanker for — but as I understand, those people were pretty stiff-uper-lip when it came to economic downturns as well as plagues and diseases. As bad as it’s going to get, I suspect the people enduring the London Blitz or the firebombing of Dresden might similarly laugh at the wusses who are now wetting their breeches about their stock holdings. Same goes for all the people who lost jobs back when they had to shut down cinemas and pools during all those polio/smallpox scares going back decades.

    “… the proportion testing positive is about 10%.”

    Again, what is the number of false positives in the case of flu? Similar? Or do you not even know and are just throwing stuff at the wall at this point hoping something sticks? A standard Bayesian statistics quiz questi0n is based on the fact that most diagnoses of AIDS result from false positives. That doesn’t mean AIDS is a total nothingburger.

    I suspect they’ll do a more careful count at some point when the dust settles, but don’t be so sure that it’ll be in your favor. Russia is seeing a jump in “pneumonia” cases that some locals are claiming are actually coronavirus cases. The recent swine flu epidemic is now regarded as being ten times worse precisely because many of its deaths were tallied as regular flu.

  173. sorengard says:
    @James N. Kennett

    Thanks. Holed up in NYC waiting for the plague to take us all down. Needed a good laugh.

  174. MEH 0910 says:
    @MEH 0910

  175. MEH 0910 says:
    @MEH 0910


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