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Total Posts: 74
Joined: Nov 2013
Posted: 2020-11-14 21:22
>> I think we Westerners need to do a post-mortem. I think we became a bunch of whiny and undisciplined egomaniacs.

And we have a bunch of kindergarten teachers 'running' the show.

Good thing this isn't Twatter, the Woke Matrix would pile on this thread and bring the ban hammer Hammertime

"How be caught up in a game and have no idea of the rules." - C.S.


Total Posts: 5
Joined: May 2011
Posted: 2020-11-15 00:25
Polio vs Covid? Polio peaked at 57K cases in the US in 1952 with 3K fatalities. Polio was around for at least a century at that point. Covid went from unknown to >250K deaths and 10M infections in the US in less than a year. And the spread of Covid is despite an array of aggressive lockdowns in the hardest hit locations.

Covid is just incredibly efficient at propagating itself. Left unchecked, it will show you the meaning of exponential growth in the span of months, not years or decades.

Founding Member

Total Posts: 5180
Joined: Mar 2004
Posted: 2020-11-15 01:12
Sloppy, your comment - and I agree - reminds me of this idea I've discussed numerous times recently. Million different ways to say it, but the simplest, is around the cognitive biases that color expected loss. It's annoying because it sound Talebian like this, but you have your frequentists: "Why are you worried about flying, there's basically no chance of the plane crashing?". OK. But the severity of the outcome is inf. So nada times inf equals inf. That's the psychology, and it's not terribly interesting. What's a little interesting is that the same people will undergo some phase transition to being an anti-frequentist with COVID, and say "Nobody is dying but older people and the sick..." They aren't symmetrical in saying it's inf times nada = nada times inf = inf. So it's kinda like asymmetric risk preference a la Tversky and Kahneman.

Now this has nothing to do with the "how to handle it" question. Close the economy, etc. I just mean that I know very intelligent people, with PhDs, that say this is a hoax and bullshit, yet they will not leave their house without a spacesuit on.

Just another datapoint that the game is not rational.

Nonius is Satoshi Nakamoto. 物の哀れ


Total Posts: 1670
Joined: Jun 2004
Posted: 2020-11-15 06:39
"Covid went from unknown to >250K deaths and 10M infections in the US in less than a year."

250k deaths from comorbidities mostly, which is an important point. As I said before, it would be interesting to see the excess mortality when it's all said and done. Actually, I guess it's possible to back-of-envelope it by looking at the pre-existing conditions and taking average death rates pre-covid.

You can go through the history of pandemics (including fairly recent ones) and find ample comparisons. The best one that comes to mind is HIV/AIDS - at the peak (1995) the US had about 40k deaths per year. Total mortality in the US (and in case of AIDS, it's all excess mortality) is at least 700 thousand and could be as high as several million. Yet in the first years of the pandemic policymakers did not give a fuck because the vulnerable population was not politically important.

'Progress just means bad things happen faster.’


Total Posts: 1226
Joined: Feb 2007
Posted: 2020-11-16 13:20
> it would be interesting to see the excess mortality when it's all said and done

I did the calculation for 2020 (a few months ago); basically taking the all-deaths figure for 2020, subtracting off the average pro-rated last 4-5 years of all deaths. The CDC figures are in the ballpark. I would have assumed they're overcounting Covid morbidity due to certain financial incentives, but it looks like they're not.

The most apt comparison is probably 2017-2018. Remember that massive pandemic (killed about 80k in the US)? Yeah me neither. Probably would have been worse if you terrified people into not visiting the doctor or hooked people up to lethal vents for .... reasons.

My speculation is the disease tops out in lethality at 20-40% infection rate based on the Swedish and NYC numbers. Basically it burns off the dry tinder of people who have severe arteriosclerosis (mostly olds; but also Amerifats). After that it will be endemic and basically just raise the risk of dying of heart disease. BTW that's the most interesting thing about it: the heart disease connection. The other corona viruses probably also contributed to heart disease fatalities; we know various other lung-butters do, but nobody talks about it because we're not experiencing mass hysteria about those. That, and vitamin-D, which in double blind trials is still the best treatment for it. Go to the beach, dummies; barring that, take the pills.

Either way: acting as if it's pneumonic plague is not helpful. It's not, and locking your country down is just putting off the inevitable. It will eventually get in and kill off those who are susceptible to it. The vaccines won't help any more than they did with the flu. Everyone in this forum should understand that "success stories" in this matter are simply a point in time. Like countries that put off buying cell phones.

"Learning, n. The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious."


Total Posts: 1670
Joined: Jun 2004
Posted: 2020-11-29 21:19

CDC actually has an excess mortality study , broken down by week of the year as well as by ethnicity and by age group.

I find some of the data pretty puzzling (e.g. excess deaths almost fully fall into black and hispanic population) and some is less surprising.

'Progress just means bad things happen faster.’
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