[ExI] perspective on covid

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Sun Mar 8 15:57:08 UTC 2020



From: spike at rainier66.com <spike at rainier66.com> 


>…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?  spike



This turns into a really cool math model.  We can figure out what is the break-even point, what price-factor we would pay in order to get a lower error rate kit, assuming both kinds are available.


But wait, there’s more.  Suppose next week there are Chinese kits available, South Korean kits, test kits made in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mexico, New York, London, Paris, Madrid, Capetown, Tehran, and several other kits where you don’t know where they were made or by whom, all made to different standards and tolerances, all at different prices.  


Now suppose the US government gives up on even trying to evaluate those kits for reliability, because it is an emergency dontchaknow, so in an emergency you do with what you have, and screw the regulations.  These test kits become like the vitamin industry: mostly unregulated because there is no practical means of regulating it.


But some of these kits might be counterfeit, cheapy fakes that return negative always, perhaps manufactured by some bad actor who realizes she can screw the USA and make a buttload of money at the same time.  These covid-carriers get their false negative, go out and infect others, the infidel capitalists perish, double score.


OK, now what is the right move?  I am not talking about government, for I don’t see what they can do really and that is a different question.  In our times, anything the government does or does not do is wrong by definition in this case, so there is no point in even asking that question.  I am asking what do you do.  How much more do you pay for what you think might be a better more-accurate kit?



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