[ExI] Is the USA doing too much to prevent COVID-19? Message-ID:

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Fri May 1 04:51:03 UTC 2020

On Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 8:11 PM Keith Henson via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> If you assume no vaccine and no treatments then the integrated death
> total will be the same for a fast or a slow pandemic.  A fast one
> would mean a total collapse of the medical establishment and people
> dying in the streets.

### The concern about overwhelming the medical system was based on
erroneous assumptions about IFR. Since the true IFR is at least an order of
magnitude lower than the initial estimates there is no need to flatten the
curve to protect ICUs from being overwhelmed. The fact that the initial IFR
was vastly overestimated became known a long time ago, even prior to the
lockdowns in the US, so lockdowns happened because actual science was
ignored in the storm of hype and propaganda.

However, it is not true that a slow epidemic has the same integral of
morbidity and mortality as a fast epidemic. Slowing an epidemic lowers R0
and thus lowers incidence rate (i.e. the fraction of people who eventually
get infected, or the integral of morbidity over a period of time). There is
no doubt that reducing transmission by lockdowns will reduce overall
mortality from the Wuhan virus - however, that is not a sufficient argument
to recommend lockdowns. Standard infection control measures, including use
of PPE, hand washing, isolation of known cases, tracing of infectious
contacts, isolation of most vulnerable persons, and others, are very
effective at controlling epidemics and their economic and social costs are
literally orders of magnitude lower than lockdowns.

Lockdowns are the stupidest solution to an exaggerated problem one can
imagine, short of just killing everybody.


> Does such a world view leave any room for public health?

### I am all for public health but not when it's politicized by an insane,
partisan media and by an insane elite who would see the country burn if it
could help them bring down Trump.

Also, looks like our public health authorities have been badly damaged by
political correctness and racist hiring practices.

> > If you buy into the virus doom hype, by all means cower at home. Give up
> on
> most of your life in the hope of avoiding a 1:1000 to 1:100,000,000 chance
> of dying, depending on your demographic.
> Given my age and other factors, it is more like 1:10 for me.

### This is not plausible. Are you 85 years old, obese, diabetic with COPD,
severe CHF and dependent on oxygen at 2l/min?

The true IFR for the very elderly might be on the range of 1 - 2%, which is
not low and some level of social isolation is reasonable - wear N95 mask in
the grocery store, don't go to indoor meetings with many people, disinfect
hands often while shopping, don't touch your face while shopping, don't use
mass transit, go for walks on the beach rather than indoor gym, etc.
Cowering at home won't bring much added benefit on top of these control
measures but it will make you miserable. Unless you are a homebody to begin


>   If you
> use the expected, 70% infected before herd immunity kicks in, then
> around 240 million folks in the US will be infected.  Using 1% as the
> case fatality rate, that means about 2.4 million will die

### These numbers are way off. IFR is probably about 0.2% and the incidence
rate is unlikely to exceed 25%, based on comparisons to influenza, which
has similar R0:


In another article see figure 2 for relationship between R0 and incidence
rate (simplified model, there are other models):


Remember, the initial estimates of incidence rate and mortality were based
on incorrect assumptions and false information. Chicom interference with
data sharing and their suppression of information gave an erroneous
estimate of the doubling rate of the infection, the huge number of
asymptomatic and unaccounted-for cases threw off IFR estimates and the
garbage information was uncritically fed into standard models for
predicting incidence rate.


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