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

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Sat May 2 01:20:39 UTC 2020

Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:

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.

I think this reports an overwhelmed medical system.  What do you think?


> 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.

"New report says coronavirus pandemic could last for two years – and
may not subside until 70% of the population has immunity"

> 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).

That may or may not be true.  If it really takes a 70% rate of immune
people, and the case fatality rate stays constant, the only difference
between a fast and a slow pandemic is how many people medical
assistance can save.  So far that does not seem like a lot, but I
expect (or at least hope) the medical profession will get better at
treating this virus over time.  At this point, the effects of the
virus are not well understood.  For example, venious blool of COVID
cases is close to black.  Why?

On the other hand, a medical profession preoccupied with COVID-19 for
two years may let a lot of people die who could otherwise be saved.
It would take running a model, but under some circumstances (no
vaccine, no treatments), it might be that doing nothing and letting
the virus run a fast course would cost less in total casualties.
Equador is providing an example.

> 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

If the facts had been understood and acted upon back in January,
perhaps, but this ship has long since sailed.  There isn't enough PPE
for example.  I am using and recycling a surgical mask I had from
Alcor 25 years ago when I used toi put cryonics patients on cardiac

> 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.

Trump isn't the problem, it's the people who elected him.  Why do such
people support him?  It's rooted in our evelutionary past and not hard
to explain.  I have done it several time on this list.

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

That's a new one on me.  Got a URL for it?  (

> > 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?

It's pubkc knowledge that I am almost 78.  If you want me to talk
about medical conditions, perhaps off list would be a good idea.
However, yesterday I got an injection into one eye.  Those who get
tthis old usually have a long list of problems.


>   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:

You might be right on both these numbers.  Using your numbers, about
82 million in the US will be infected and 165,000 will die.  The US is
at around a million cases and 6,000 deaths.  That would put the US
about 1/3rd though the pandemic by deaths.  As the states open up, I
expect another wave to hit, perhaps even worse than the first one
since there are a vast number of infected cases out there to start
infection chains.

>From anitbody testing, we might be at around ~3% of the population has
already had it (ten million).  That would put the US about one part in
8 through the pandemic using your number of ~82 million to be
infected.  If that's in the ballpark, then the number of deaths in the
US to the end of the pandemic will be around 6,000 times 8 or 48,000,
which is 50 times less than my off the cuff worse case estimation of
2.4 million.  It's still a lot of deaths, but given that it is mostly
old people (like me) who are not very productive, it may not hurt the
economy too much.

Long URL failed to connect.

> 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.

Don't we have better data from Italy, Spain and Germany now?


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