[ExI] perspective on covid

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Sun Mar 8 15:42:48 UTC 2020



From: extropy-chat <extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org> On Behalf Of John Clark via extropy-chat


>> or do not comply with FDA regulations.


>…And what branch of government runs the FDA? The Executive Branch. And who runs the Executive Branch? Our dear leader…



John I don’t think you are advocating that FDA rules be set aside.  Even if they were, the manufacturing of medical stuff in the USA isn’t set up for high volume.  It isn’t at all clear to me that POTUS could set aside FDA regulations, and even if he did, that would be advisable.  Our system is set up the way it is for a reason.


>…And now I want to ask you something, would you have this same forgiving attitude toward incompetence and gross mistakes if Obama or Hillary Clinton had made them?  John K Clark


Who is that?  Never heard of them.  Oh wait, a long time ago, sure.  I am not forgiving any gross mistakes: the USA has different standards for medical stuff than other countries.  We choose that.  Of course it drives up prices.  Do explain what gross mistake is that.  But this really isn’t about politics: it was just an excuse to play still more politics.  Never let a good crisis go to waste.


Do let us drill down a bit, shall we?  


Suppose we have covid test kits manufactured to different standards with regard to error rate.  The lower error rate kits cost more (a lot more) and are in shorter supply (because wealthier people opt for them (and because the manufacturer of the higher-priced kits are set up for lower volume.))  Suppose the higher error-rate kits are made in high volume in South Korea or China and the expensive lower error kits made in USA.  How do we choose which kind of kit to buy?


But wait, there’s more.  There are two kinds of errors: false negatives and false positives.  Each has their own numbers.  US medical instruments are generally geared toward preventing the false negative, for those are really bad news.  False positive?  Eh, the hapless victim fills out her will, begs forgiveness of her sins to her favorite deity, misses some work or school, not that big a deal.  False negative: that endangers the community.


So now this whole question becomes very complicated.  The US government cannot dictate into existence high-volume manufacturing and no one would invest in it even if it did: the US government has been at war with itself for years, and there is no indication of a truce anywhere in the immediately foreseeable.  Any investor knows that putting money into manufacturing covid test kits is a shot in the dark.  Would you invest in that?  Neither would I.



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