[ExI] extropy-chat Digest, Vol 198, Issue 16

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Fri Mar 13 09:27:57 UTC 2020

On 10/03/2020 17:10, Dylan Distasio wrote:
> we have zero idea of how bad the outbreak is in the US, and now need 
> to depend on hoping we get lucky which I'm not a fan of.
> For the amount of tax I pay, I do expect some kind of proper response 
> in this relatively unlikely scenario where a centralized, coordinated 
> effort is helpful.

Short of having a superabundance of test kits (and perhaps not even 
then, given how a test is likely to work (detecting antibodies, which 
take time to develop in an infected person)), I doubt if there is any 
way anyone can know how widespread this virus is. The thing that no-one 
seems to be talking about is the significance of the 14-day latency 
period. How can you track something when you're always 14 days behind it?

Waiting until someone shows any symptoms before they are advised to 
isolate themselves is waaaay too late. They've already had two entire 
weeks to spread the damn thing. How many people does the average 
commuter get within a few feet of in two weeks? Hundreds? A thousand?

There is no proper response, except to tell everyone to isolate 
themselves immediately, regardless of whether they have symptoms or have 
been in a 'high-risk area' (which is probably a meaningless phrase, by 
now). While that may be a proper response in medical terms, it's totally 
impractical, and would wreck the economy. So, there is no solution 
except to let it play out, and get a vaccine out asap.

I reckon it will continue to spread until everyone has it, and millions 
of people will probably die from it. Then it will fade into the 
background. The survivors will survive because they have immunity, not 
because they're never been exposed to it. 'Getting lucky' in this case 
means having a good immune system (which usually means not being old).

Until a vaccine becomes available, the only thing you can do is make 
sure your background health is as high as possible, and don't do 
anything that could weaken your immune system. If you don't have to 
travel, don't. If you don't have to socialise, don't. Maybe that can 
slow the spread down enough to allow time for a vaccine to be developed 
and made widely available. But I fully expect that we're all going to 
get the virus. We can thank Darwin that the fatality rate isn't higher. 
We might not be so lucky next time.

Prove me wrong, please, somebody?

Ben Zaiboc

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