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

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Sat May 2 20:30:46 UTC 2020

Sorry, math error fixed below.


On Fri, May 1, 2020 at 6:20 PM Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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?
>  https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/04/20/838746457/covid-19-numbers-are-bad-in-ecuador-the-president-says-the-real-story-is-even-wo
> > 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
> contacts,
> 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 to put cryonics patients on cardiac
> bypass.
> > 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 evolutionary past and not hard
> to explain.  I have done it several times 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 pubic 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
> this old usually have a long list of problems.
> snip
> >   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

60,000 deaths.

> 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 anitibody 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,

60,000 x 8 or 480,000

> which is 50 times less than my off the cuff worse case estimation of

5 times less

Rough as the numbers are, a factor of 5 puts us close.

> 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?
> Keith

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