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  1. - Top - End - #601
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    Default Re: The Corona Virus

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Eradication seems like a remarkably lofty goal. Few diseases have been eradicated. Many more have been eliminated in most countries (like polio, for example). Eradication is better, but I'll settle for elimination for now.
    Totally agree. It may be mostly semantics - but the actual discontinuation of the viral strain is not going to happen (to my thinking). It also seems largely superfluous, since covid-19 really isn't that dangerous. Sure, it's serious, but it's not an airborne ebola. And with the possible emergence of a seemingly effective counter - well, we just might soon have heard the last of it.

    {Scrubbed}
    Last edited by Pirate ninja; 2020-05-23 at 11:45 PM.

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    Default Re: The Corona Virus

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    Totally agree. It may be mostly semantics - but the actual discontinuation of the viral strain is not going to happen (to my thinking). It also seems largely superfluous, since covid-19 really isn't that dangerous. Sure, it's serious, but it's not an airborne ebola. And with the possible emergence of a seemingly effective counter - well, we just might soon have heard the last of it.

    Scrub the post, scrub the quote
    It's dangerous in the sense that it's overloading parts of the healthcare system - I'm going to use the fly as a stand-in here, but it is far from the only one We have roughly x cases of the flu each year, y% of which requires hospitalization. This is a known quantity, so we have our facilities set up to handle that. But a new disease comes in with a cases, b% of which need hospitalization, and those are previously unknown quantities so our facilities are not set up to handle that. Further, we cannot innoculate against like we can with the flu, so significantly more at-risk people will likely be infected, adding onto those numbers. In addition to the at-risk people, the healthcare workers - not being innoculated - are also susceptible to the new disease, again unlike the flu. So not only will they have a certain percent that are symptomatic, and thus unable to work, further stressing the system, and some will require care themselves or die - and, hopefully this will not come as a surprise, even further stress the system.

    It's like saying that a hole in the boat isn't a big deal because your bucket is big enough to dump out the water as it comes in, but when it's pouring rain and you were already dumping out water as fast as it came in before the hole appeared, then yeah, the hole is going to be a pretty major problem, even though it's a very similar problem with a very similar solution.
    Last edited by Pirate ninja; 2020-05-23 at 11:45 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Your bread looks like a rotary phone.
    This right here, is some prime quality culinary critique.

  3. - Top - End - #603
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    Default Re: Anonymouswizard's Random Banter #227 and Free Cup of Tea

    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    Clearly it isn't the scientific consensus if some scientists (like those where i am from) disagree. They are not outliers either - I note that WHO only recommends the use of masks in specific cases. The reason is (as I understand it - I am not an expert either) is that if masks are used improperly they can themselves become contaminated, increasing the risk of infection. They are recommended in certain situations (like by hospital staff) because they can be used in in the correct way and in conjunction with other protective equipment. You can read more at the attached link, or of course Zodiac could just explain it to us:
    https://www.sciencealert.com/this-is...t-so-confusing

    Thanks for your concern. The virus is on the decline where I'm from so while it's still a worry we are probably better placed in terms of health risk than most other countries.
    So, yeah, masks being used improperly is a risk, certainly, I think that this guidance is more about limited supply than anything else. Doing *anything* sufficiently wrong is, at minimum, unhelpful. But wearing a mask isn't incredibly difficult to teach, and used correctly, they certainly can be helpful.

    Likewise, "it'll give people a false sense of safety" could apply as a criticism to literally any measure.

    Countries that were quick to adopt mask use generally seem to have had better results. The usual caveats for incomplete data applies of course, but wearing masks seems like a generally good idea. It's one of the mitigation methods we at least have more data on because some cultures adopt mask wearing as a frequent anti-disease measure. I'm not against your 'let people choose' stance, but if local mask supply allows, I'd suggest that learning to use the mask properly is a very good choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Your logic is strange. There are healthy populations and sick ones. "All" that's required is to keep the two apart. That's certainly a big job, but it doesn't for a moment come anywhere close to "total isolation of every mammal".
    While that may technically be true, for prolific diseases with significant animal populations, like the flu, this has proved to be wildly impractical. So there's certainly a point where it isn't a viable strategy anymore, and covid may well be past this point. At the bare minimum, it would be very difficult to wipe out entirely.

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    I think maybe you've made an unlucky assumption? So far in this thread I've already been overvaluing the economic side compared to how it impacts me personally for sake of argument. I wasn't really kidding or being hypothetical that I'd take a 100% chance of losing my job to avoid a 0.5% yearly chance of dying, or even a 0.5% yearly chance of ending up in the hospital for a month and surviving.

    I can understand the side of this as seen by people where that hardship will put them in immediate risk, though I have to move away from my own personal valuations to do so. I don't find it compelling as a counter-argument though, because it's addressable via redistribution. So a failure to address it is a choice, not an inevitability.
    It isn't. No matter how much you redistribute, if overall production is lower(which it is), then redistribution may smooth out that pain among many people, but the overall loss still exists. For instance, there are already well sourced articles indicating that famine is likely to be a result in less wealthy countries. You can, perhaps, send them a stipend from a more wealthy country, but they probably do not have the infrastructure to adequately feed people, mask them, maintain social distancing and lockdowns. Money is helpful, but if adequate supply doesn't exist locally, it only gets you so far. There's some fairly unavoidable death and hardship involved in any sort of grand unified effort that can't be merely handwaved away.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    Scrub the post, scrub the quote
    Overall money spent or day to day medical proficiency may not correlate with ability to handle pandemics. The US is exceptionally well equipped to handle things like pandemics because we have a very high amount of ICU beds and ventilators. The most ventilators/population of any country, vastly exceeding what many have available. Other countries may decide to instead, prioritize preventative health care. For routine medical care, this is very cost effective, with early treatment preventing larger costs down the road, but that really doesn't apply to incidents such as this.

    I suspect that pandemics in general will gain more attention and probably more priority, but in most years, the boring, mundane stuff probably accounts for the vast majority of health care problems. Regearing too much to optimize for pandemics may actually be suboptimal overall. That's a hard point to pinpoint, though, because pandemics are infrequent, and can differ significantly from each other.
    Last edited by Pirate ninja; 2020-05-23 at 11:48 PM.
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  4. - Top - End - #604
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    Default Re: Anonymouswizard's Random Banter #227 and Free Cup of Tea

    Oh, that reminds me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    Clearly it isn't the scientific consensus if some scientists (like those where i am from) disagree.
    It is the scientific consensus. "Consensus" doesn't mean "unanimous agreement," it means "general agreement." The consensus is you can have around 75% agreement to have a consensus.

    The word of the day is not "consensus," but rather "semantic satiation".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Your bread looks like a rotary phone.
    This right here, is some prime quality culinary critique.

  5. - Top - End - #605
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    Default Re: The Corona Virus

    Something I think needs to be clarified here. There are two different things people are talking about when they refer to masks. The first is just a general face covering, and its what most countries have seen success using among the populace. It doesn't prevent you from inhaling the virus, but it catches particles and droplets that come out of your mouth when you do, well, anything that requires opening it, so it helps reduce the amount of infected surfaces people could come into contact with, as well as preventing people from touching their mouth or nose with their hands.

    The second kind is a proper medical mask, which DOES filter out the virus, on top of all the benefits of the other kind, and is not recommended for use outside of medical circumstances because of its relative rarity (they want supplies available for medical personnel) and the minimal risk to the general public of catching it by breathing it in.

    It is the former that most places are implementing, and the latter which is not recommended for general use outside of medical circumstances.
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  6. - Top - End - #606
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    Default Re: The Corona Virus

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    It's dangerous in the sense that it's overloading parts of the healthcare system - I'm going to use the fly as a stand-in here, but it is far from the only one We have roughly x cases of the flu each year, y% of which requires hospitalization. This is a known quantity, so we have our facilities set up to handle that. But a new disease comes in with a cases, b% of which need hospitalization, and those are previously unknown quantities so our facilities are not set up to handle that. Further, we cannot innoculate against like we can with the flu, so significantly more at-risk people will likely be infected, adding onto those numbers. In addition to the at-risk people, the healthcare workers - not being innoculated - are also susceptible to the new disease, again unlike the flu. So not only will they have a certain percent that are symptomatic, and thus unable to work, further stressing the system, and some will require care themselves or die - and, hopefully this will not come as a surprise, even further stress the system.

    It's like saying that a hole in the boat isn't a big deal because your bucket is big enough to dump out the water as it comes in, but when it's pouring rain and you were already dumping out water as fast as it came in before the hole appeared, then yeah, the hole is going to be a pretty major problem, even though it's a very similar problem with a very similar solution.
    Well ... ranking problems in order of severity places covid-19 very far down the list. Malaria kills something on the order of 435.000 a year, every year. An little known killer such as indoor cooking fires kills 2.000.000 ... a year ... every year. Traffic, world wide, kills 1.350.000 - not counting indirect deaths from pollution.

    So ... yes. I stand by my claim: Covid-19 is not a huge problem. That's not the same as saying we shouldn't fight it - of course we should.

    But then, as you say, a big part of the danger of covid-19 is the health care bottleneck. We weren't expecting it, and we weren't ready for it.

    If we want to understand - rather than fear and panic and gut react - then we need context and deliberation. I'm not trying to neglect the very real dangers of covid-19. But I will maintain that it's by no means our worst problem, and our reaction to it is .. debatably proportionate.

    {Scrubbed}

    There's a story in Denmark about a man walking around city square in Copenhagen, putting down little squiggles of folded paper - gobsenopses. When asked, he'd say 'they keep the lions away!' And when people would deny that, he'd answer 'well when was the last time you saw a lion.' Similar case here. {Scrubbed}

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Overall money spent or day to day medical proficiency may not correlate with ability to handle pandemics. The US is exceptionally well equipped to handle things like pandemics because we have a very high amount of ICU beds and ventilators. The most ventilators/population of any country, vastly exceeding what many have available. Other countries may decide to instead, prioritize preventative health care. For routine medical care, this is very cost effective, with early treatment preventing larger costs down the road, but that really doesn't apply to incidents such as this.

    I suspect that pandemics in general will gain more attention and probably more priority, but in most years, the boring, mundane stuff probably accounts for the vast majority of health care problems. Regearing too much to optimize for pandemics may actually be suboptimal overall. That's a hard point to pinpoint, though, because pandemics are infrequent, and can differ significantly from each other.
    Far be it from me to claim to know the inner workings of the US health care system - but judging primarily from tv shows and news media, I would assume all those world class quality facilities go primarily to those with the best health insurance .... not to those most in need. So that's another bottleneck right there, particularly since the disease is by no means fair. It hits lower classes much harder than higher. Well, according to the numbers I've seen - I've not delved deep.

    Speaking of something I do know, Denmark now has ... oh, quadruple, quintuple ... the number of ICU's of two months ago. Now, my suspicion is that all that gear is going to go into a basement somewhere, and be ready for next time.

    That .. is the good news. Next time, we'll be less poorly prepared (provided ICU's are part of the solution next time, though that does seem likely).
    Last edited by Pirate ninja; 2020-05-23 at 11:53 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #607
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    Default Re: The Corona Virus

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    Far be it from me to claim to know the inner workings of the US health care system - but judging primarily from tv shows and news media, I would assume all those world class quality facilities go primarily to those with the best health insurance .... not to those most in need. So that's another bottleneck right there, particularly since the disease is by no means fair. It hits lower classes much harder than higher. Well, according to the numbers I've seen - I've not delved deep.
    Lifesaving emergency room care isn't denied for financial reasons. It may, in rare cases, be denied because of overall shortage, but when triage is necessary, it happens for medical, not financial reasons. Our generally high cost of care means that in general, access to care is extremely high, with low ER wait times and actually overflowing facility capacity is very rare(though NYC did have some problems)

    If you are uninsured or have comparatively poor healthcare, you may receive a large bill after the fact. It's a problem, but primarily a problem of financial hardship after the fact, rather than access to care.

    This is not necessarily true with elective surgeries, but for covid, your financial status is almost entirely unconnected to your access to care.

    Speaking of something I do know, Denmark now has ... oh, quadruple, quintuple ... the number of ICU's of two months ago. Now, my suspicion is that all that gear is going to go into a basement somewhere, and be ready for next time.

    That .. is the good news. Next time, we'll be less poorly prepared (provided ICU's are part of the solution next time, though that does seem likely).
    The gear is certainly useful in general practice, even if it's relatively expensive. Ventilators, ICUs, etc...they are certainly good things to have. Very costly right now, but the money isn't wholly wasted, even if no pandemic crops up for some time. Having larger overflow capacity is generally good for all sorts of unforseen emergencies, but it's really hard to do a cost/benefit analysis when you don't know what'll appear, when, or how bad. We can sort of take a stab at it, but it's mostly a guess.
    Last edited by Tyndmyr; 2020-05-23 at 03:45 PM.
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  8. - Top - End - #608
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    Default Re: Anonymouswizard's Random Banter #227 and Free Cup of Tea

    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post
    Also, while I'm Statisticing - worldwide Covid deaths are currently 3.5 less than the number of traffic fatalities last year worldwide. And for another number worht looking at, currently the 338K reported Covid deaths are only 1.4% of the total number of deaths from every OTHER cause (of the reported 23,116K deaths); significant, but not the apocalypse. Obviously, all statistics cannot be treated as iron-clad law, because until such time the entire population of the planet can be permenantly under surveillance, this is only reported numbers, but it is still worth taking into account, because a statistic without context... Well, there's a reason the phrase is "lies, damned lies and statistics."

    This has been your Bleakbane Lectures for the day, I'll go back in my corner now.
    Our reaction to auto fatalities has been to require massively expensive safety gear installed in every car. Every single citizen who wants to drive has to register with the government and qualify as skilled, including relevant medical testing. Their cars are inspected on a regular basis. Regulations are in place regarding how people drive, where, etc, with punishments ranging from fines to jail time for people who willfully disregard the welfare of others, even when no fatalities result. My govt has not responded to Covid with anything resembling that level of attention and vigor.

    (Also, traffic fatalities over a year vs Covid fatalities over ~3 months, and that's the reported Covid numbers, which are much lower than the actual count)

  9. - Top - End - #609
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    Default Re: The Corona Virus

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Lifesaving emergency room care isn't denied for financial reasons. It may, in rare cases, be denied because of overall shortage, but when triage is necessary, it happens for medical, not financial reasons. Our generally high cost of care means that in general, access to care is extremely high, with low ER wait times and actually overflowing facility capacity is very rare(though NYC did have some problems)

    If you are uninsured or have comparatively poor healthcare, you may receive a large bill after the fact. It's a problem, but primarily a problem of financial hardship after the fact, rather than access to care.

    This is not necessarily true with elective surgeries, but for covid, your financial status is almost entirely unconnected to your access to care.

    The gear is certainly useful in general practice, even if it's relatively expensive. Ventilators, ICUs, etc...they are certainly good things to have. Very costly right now, but the money isn't wholly wasted, even if no pandemic crops up for some time. Having larger overflow capacity is generally good for all sorts of unforseen emergencies, but it's really hard to do a cost/benefit analysis when you don't know what'll appear, when, or how bad. We can sort of take a stab at it, but it's mostly a guess.
    I suppose health care insurance is good for dramatic drive, eh? Like I said, I don't know. I would still argue that if wait times begin to extend - the guy without health insurance waits longest. But I have no idea whether checks and balances are in place to prevent that. Or whether they work.

  10. - Top - End - #610
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    Default Re: The Corona Virus

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    Well ... ranking problems in order of severity places covid-19 very far down the list. Malaria kills something on the order of 435.000 a year, every year. An little known killer such as indoor cooking fires kills 2.000.000 ... a year ... every year. Traffic, world wide, kills 1.350.000 - not counting indirect deaths from pollution.
    I fail to see what relevance that has to what I said.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    So ... yes. I stand by my claim: Covid-19 is not a huge problem. That's not the same as saying we shouldn't fight it - of course we should.
    I have yet to see a single example of "fighting it" that you have not decried on here, so this confuses me somewhat.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    But then, as you say, a big part of the danger of covid-19 is the health care bottleneck. We weren't expecting it, and we weren't ready for it.
    Yes, and considering how contagious it is, along with the fact that it can re-infect, I would imagine the exact measures that have been taken by most countries would be obviously advantageous.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    If we want to understand - rather than fear and panic and gut react - then we need context and deliberation. I'm not trying to neglect the very real dangers of covid-19. But I will maintain that it's by no means our worst problem, and our reaction to it is .. debatably proportionate.
    Zero people have claimed it is our worst problem, as I have pointed out before. As to the proportionality of the solution, you'll forgive me if I do not think that you are more correct than the majority of world governments and the overall consensus of the entire worldwide scientific community.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    There's a story in Denmark about a man walking around city square in Copenhagen, putting down little squiggles of folded paper - gobsenopses. When asked, he'd say 'they keep the lions away!' And when people would deny that, he'd answer 'well when was the last time you saw a lion.' Similar case here.
    Similarly, I fail to see the applicability when you admit the lion exists, claim the lion isn't so bad since it's only eating one person per day, railing against any attempt at neutralizing the lion, and then saying that sure, the lion problem should probably be dealt with.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2020-05-23 at 06:44 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Your bread looks like a rotary phone.
    This right here, is some prime quality culinary critique.

  11. - Top - End - #611
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    Default Re: The Corona Virus

    If you think it’s a false over reaction you should look at countries where the govt either messed up in not quarantining and contact tracing (uk) or where there’s been a conflict between local and national messages (USA to an extent and Brazil especially)
    In both these cases, for different reasons, you see an effective spread into the wider community as a reserve of infection. As a result deaths and new infections have only stabilised at a low level.
    Partly this is because such loose methods/ messaging mean that people break the social distancing. In most countries we simply don’t have the culture, desire or tech to monitor people 24/7. So social distancing has mainly been voluntarily self enforced. Which means that you get some people constantly breaking it, which rises as people denigrate the need for it.
    As for saying some scientists don’t agree - there’s some anti vaccination scientists. That doesn’t invalidate the facts that vaccination has massively reduced smallpox, polio etc. The fact is there will always be people willing to pay experts to ignore the consensus and parrot what the payer wants to hear.
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    Default Re: The Corona Virus

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    I think maybe you've made an unlucky assumption? So far in this thread I've already been overvaluing the economic side compared to how it impacts me personally for sake of argument. I wasn't really kidding or being hypothetical that I'd take a 100% chance of losing my job to avoid a 0.5% yearly chance of dying, or even a 0.5% yearly chance of ending up in the hospital for a month and surviving.
    Sorry mate, not following. What is my unlucky assumption?

    You say you'd rather have 100% of being unemployed, but how would you live? If you are unemployed (which means not getting another job, or making money working for yourself) how would you buy food, how would you have somewhere to live? Are you relying on welfare (which may itself be risky depending on whether your country can afford to keep up its existing benefit payments) or do you have savings to fall back on?

    It may be that you are in the unusual situation where being unemployed for an extended period wouldn't effect you so much. I don't think that is the norm though. I think a huge number of people's lives would fall apart if they were unemployed for an extended period. Not as bad as dying of course, but catastrophic enough that it's not incomparable if the chance of losing your job is 100 times higher.

    I can understand the side of this as seen by people where that hardship will put them in immediate risk, though I have to move away from my own personal valuations to do so. I don't find it compelling as a counter-argument though, because it's addressable via redistribution. So a failure to address it is a choice, not an inevitability.
    I don't think it is addressable via redistribution at a practical level, and possibly not even theoretically possible depending on how deep the hole is. I think going to deeply into the why probably touches on the political. But we can look at the great depression as an example of how a big economic downturn effects people - in that governments borrowed heavily (USA doubled its national debt) to address to stimulate the economy and protect against depression, but that did little good, people starved in the richest countries in the world. Millions were homeless in USA and shanty towns were set up. Nowadays countries are less well placed, because debt levels coming into the crisis are much higher.

    I agree that individual decisions aren't directly effective here, because it's Prisoner's Dilemma and any individualized decisions will go to the Nash Equilibrium of worst-case responses. That's why the solution is to make an overarching structure that mediates between individuals. Of course I'm not going to mail you my paycheck if I want you to stay home, because just you alone staying home doesn't do anything - I'd only do that if I had some assurance in the form of that overarching structure that if I send my paycheck, so will enough other people that everyone ends up staying home.

    That sort of collective negotiation pool makes lying about values more like a game of chicken. If what I really value is reducing risk to my life, then pretending I don't value that to save a little bit of money might make sense if all my interactions are individual and pairwise. But if I'm playing that game with a collective that represents a single chance to either take the policy direction that values my life, or to take the policy direction that values my income, then lying bears the risk that I don't actually get what I want in the end. Especially if the payouts are based on broad categories and stratifications rather than individual claims - that means what I end up receiving at the end of the negotiation doesn't depend in detail on what I claimed my values were, it only depends on what my reported values do to shift the aggregate.
    I follow the theory, but I simply cannot say how any of this could actually happen in practice. What is it you actually suggest happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    So, yeah, masks being used improperly is a risk, certainly, I think that this guidance is more about limited supply than anything else. Doing *anything* sufficiently wrong is, at minimum, unhelpful. But wearing a mask isn't incredibly difficult to teach, and used correctly, they certainly can be helpful.
    It is not a matter of giving guidance. Guidance is given, and simply put, people don't follow it. It may differ depending on how much of a rule following culture you are in, but there are so many examples where guidance is simply not followed. You have to account for the fact that people not following guidance may mean that wearing masks may make the situation worse - you can't simply ignore that fact.

    Also, your last comment that "used correctly, they certainly can be helpful" probably isn't true. As discussed at length in a couple of previous post, there is significant evidence that using a mask correctly does not significantly reduce your chance of catching the illness in most circumstances.

    Likewise, "it'll give people a false sense of safety" could apply as a criticism to literally any measure.
    Perhaps to lots of measures. And if so it is a valid consideration deciding whether to implement the measure.

    Countries that were quick to adopt mask use generally seem to have had better results. The usual caveats for incomplete data applies of course, but wearing masks seems like a generally good idea. It's one of the mitigation methods we at least have more data on because some cultures adopt mask wearing as a frequent anti-disease measure. I'm not against your 'let people choose' stance, but if local mask supply allows, I'd suggest that learning to use the mask properly is a very good choice.
    Can you back that up that countries were quick to adopt mask use have better results? Here in New Zealand we have done pretty well at virus elimination, and here masks are not recommended, not even on public transport.

    Worth noting here, that I am not super-invested in the mask question. I just objected to being told that people who didn't advocate mask use were simply wrong, when the reality is that it is much less certain than that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Oh, that reminds me.

    It is the scientific consensus. "Consensus" doesn't mean "unanimous agreement," it means "general agreement." The consensus is you can have around 75% agreement to have a consensus.

    The word of the day is not "consensus," but rather "semantic satiation".
    No it is not the scientific consensus. Here is an article from the Washington Post that even uses the words "For another thing, there’s no scientific consensus on the value of wearing a mask in public".

    I appreciate that we have a natural inclination to trust the health officials in our own country over those in others. And there are a lot of americans on these boards, and the CDC currently does endorse the use of masks. But that does not make it a consensus. Others will be more inclined to trust their own local advice, and New Zealand and UK have already been given as examples of countries that do not recommend mask use.

    If we want to be more objective than simply relying on our own local advice, we are in luck. There is an international organisation set up to give advice drawing upon the scientific consensus across the world. The WHO (world health organisation) does not recommend mask use in most circumstances. WHO is not saying there is a consensus that masks are not useful (or are harmful), but in the absence of a consensus their assessment of scientific opinion is that it doesn't favour mask use.

    So I think it's safe to say there's no consensus if the threshold is 75%. It appears that there's probably not even 50% agreement.

    Also, where did you get the 75% figure from? I couldn't find it, all the definitions I found used non-specific wording like consensus meaning 'general agreement'.
    Last edited by Liquor Box; 2020-05-23 at 08:33 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NotASpiderSwarm View Post
    Our reaction to auto fatalities has been to require massively expensive safety gear installed in every car. Every single citizen who wants to drive has to register with the government and qualify as skilled, including relevant medical testing. Their cars are inspected on a regular basis. Regulations are in place regarding how people drive, where, etc, with punishments ranging from fines to jail time for people who willfully disregard the welfare of others, even when no fatalities result. My govt has not responded to Covid with anything resembling that level of attention and vigor.

    (Also, traffic fatalities over a year vs Covid fatalities over ~3 months, and that's the reported Covid numbers, which are much lower than the actual count)
    Very much this. We don't think about it, but there are a lot of restrictions on driving a car. You need a license which requires you to be in good health, to pass a test, and be past a certain age. You need to have your car registered and renewed yearly. You need insurance to pay for any damage you cause with your car. And we have an entire police department for traffic alone.

    The fact that traffic fatalities are still 3.5 times as much as Corvid-19 despite all of that really should nail in how dangerous cars can be. Not how harmless Corvid-19 is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post
    I will point out that, y'know, having significantly higher density than the rest of Europe (England has the second-highets density of coutnries larger than 1 million people and the UK overall is third)
    Turns out, that is really misleading. Spain is far more densely populated, if you don't include the large sections of the country that are literally empty (due to being unliveable mountains and badlands, would be my guess).

    TL;DR: there are 33 1-sq km locations with over 30000 people living in them in Western Europe. 23 are in Spain, the rest are in France. London only gets as high as a 20k pop square km (in West London), for comparison. Doesn't hold a candle to places like Dhaka (Bangladesh), which has a 1-sq km with 200k people living in it, but by European standards, England is densely populated, but is not "significantly higher density than the rest of Europe". It just has a lot of more usable surface as a percentage of total surface than Spain.

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    Default Re: The Corona Virus

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    I suppose health care insurance is good for dramatic drive, eh? Like I said, I don't know. I would still argue that if wait times begin to extend - the guy without health insurance waits longest. But I have no idea whether checks and balances are in place to prevent that. Or whether they work.
    I mean, the ludicrous cost is a thing, sure. And someone going bankrupt because of medical bills is a legitimate issue still.

    ERs prioritize care in order of urgency. If you come in looking bad enough, they do not worry about insurance information until after you have had stabilizing treatment. I can't see how wait times are affected. There's various laws and stuff to this effect, but it's also a matter of practicality. If someone's bleeding everywhere or unconscious, paperwork has to wait.

    The not being able to turn people away for urgent care does result in some problems. Homeless folks frequently come in complaining about problems in order to get a warm bed for a bit. They've got to at least check them out. So, I dunno that anything is really perfect, but when folks complain about medical care in the US, they are usually okay with the care itself, but are complaining about the high cost.

    Anyways, bringing this back to covid in particular, early, early identification and isolation is the ideal strategy for pandemics. Shut them down before they spread far, and, well, they never become a pandemic in the first place. This didn't really work out with Covid-19, but it might have. Better early information could have made a big difference, but the reactions mostly came too late to isolate it before it could spread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    It is not a matter of giving guidance. Guidance is given, and simply put, people don't follow it. It may differ depending on how much of a rule following culture you are in, but there are so many examples where guidance is simply not followed. You have to account for the fact that people not following guidance may mean that wearing masks may make the situation worse - you can't simply ignore that fact.

    Also, your last comment that "used correctly, they certainly can be helpful" probably isn't true. As discussed at length in a couple of previous post, there is significant evidence that using a mask correctly does not significantly reduce your chance of catching the illness in most circumstances.
    Some people will disregard any advice, yes. But justifying giving specific advice on the basis of "people don't follow advice" is...off. I see mask wearing suggestions as similar to hand washing suggestions. There will probably always be some people who do an inadequate job, but you can probably make some aware.

    Masks inhibit transmission if you are sick. Given that it is transmissible before you exhibit symptoms, you can only ensure sick people are masked by encouraging the unsymptomatic to mask.

    Perhaps to lots of measures. And if so it is a valid consideration deciding whether to implement the measure.
    And yet it is always framed as a supposition, without any data to justify that it will happen.

    We have several cultures that wear masks every time significant disease threatens. Are any of them noted for great deaths due to a false sense of safety?

    Can you back that up that countries were quick to adopt mask use have better results? Here in New Zealand we have done pretty well at virus elimination, and here masks are not recommended, not even on public transport.

    Worth noting here, that I am not super-invested in the mask question. I just objected to being told that people who didn't advocate mask use were simply wrong, when the reality is that it is much less certain than that.
    I don't think it's the only reasonable countermeasure, but data is, as of right now, still incomplete, so it's not wholly proven one way or the other. The CDC did change their guidance to recommend masks, and many countries do require or recommend masks, and some of them have had fairly good results.

    I do agree that uncertainty is fairly common. We're working with incomplete information, and so a lot of recommendations change over time. I'm sure looking back on this ten years hence, many things will seem like obvious errors. I also suspect that the utility of the mask varies strongly with the type. A loosely tied bandanna is probably not on par with a properly worn N95. I also suspect that whatever effectiveness masks have may be reduced by not wearing them early in the infection. So, a cultural affinity for masks may work better than countries who shift to wearing masks only after it is widespread. A lot of mitigation efforts work better when the infections are relatively few, because any slowing makes it easier to identify and isolate those who are sick.

    So, long story short, while it does look like consensus is shifting towards wearing masks as a good idea, the evidence does not seem sufficient to dismiss other viewpoints out of hand.

    If we want to be more objective than simply relying on our own local advice, we are in luck. There is an international organisation set up to give advice drawing upon the scientific consensus across the world. The WHO (world health organisation) does not recommend mask use in most circumstances. WHO is not saying there is a consensus that masks are not useful (or are harmful), but in the absence of a consensus their assessment of scientific opinion is that it doesn't favour mask use.
    The WHO has largely been behind the curve for this entire outbreak, refusing to, say, recommend travel bans or border closings over a month after the CDC embraced them as a good idea to prevent the travel of ill people. Or the information minimizing the threat of Covid-19 to humans, which aged terribly poorly. As a result, the advice of the latter is often preferred over the former. And, as a direction of where things are going, looking at groups who are quicker to change their decision making is probably instructive, even if some lag behind.

    That said, there's really no ultimate authority when it comes to science. It's not law, after all. We can look at and respect expert advice, but membership in a particular organization over another doesn't make a scientist inherently better.

    It also seems fairly open and shut that masks can prevent viruses. There's very sound data for that in the medical field. Certainly, general use isn't the same as medical use, but essentially everyone accepts that medical folks having insufficient supplies of PPE are at increased risk. Human biology not being special if you are a doctor, you will have the same reduction in risk if you follow the practices they do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    Sorry mate, not following. What is my unlucky assumption?

    You say you'd rather have 100% of being unemployed, but how would you live? If you are unemployed (which means not getting another job, or making money working for yourself) how would you buy food, how would you have somewhere to live? Are you relying on welfare (which may itself be risky depending on whether your country can afford to keep up its existing benefit payments) or do you have savings to fall back on?

    It may be that you are in the unusual situation where being unemployed for an extended period wouldn't effect you so much. I don't think that is the norm though. I think a huge number of people's lives would fall apart if they were unemployed for an extended period. Not as bad as dying of course, but catastrophic enough that it's not incomparable if the chance of losing your job is 100 times higher.
    Yeah, I don't think it's the norm, which is why I said it seems like you made an unlucky guess. It sounded like you were assuming that if I put those numbers into personal perspective rather than the abstract, it would increase the weight I gave to the economic considerations or would seem like an absurd trade-off. I also don't think that 'unemployment = risk of death' is the norm everywhere in the world. Where I am right now, I'm unsure if I'd risk it, but where I was planning to move to before Covid what I've heard is that you pretty much have to try to die from poverty - food, medical care, and shelter are provided for the poor.

    In my case I have savings and a secondary employer lined up that I could immediately switch to and work for remotely if I had to quit because of some policy of my current employer. It's still a bit complicated for me because if I don't have a local job then my visa ends within 3 months so I would have to move but that's something I'm budgeting for and it would be feasible if annoying.

    I don't think it is addressable via redistribution at a practical level, and possibly not even theoretically possible depending on how deep the hole is. I think going to deeply into the why probably touches on the political. But we can look at the great depression as an example of how a big economic downturn effects people - in that governments borrowed heavily (USA doubled its national debt) to address to stimulate the economy and protect against depression, but that did little good, people starved in the richest countries in the world. Millions were homeless in USA and shanty towns were set up. Nowadays countries are less well placed, because debt levels coming into the crisis are much higher.
    The Depression had a lower per-capita death rate than the years before it though...

    I think it's pretty hard for debt or lack of money to starve a country unless that country is such that it has no choice other than to import most of its food. Being deeply in debt doesn't inherently decrease the amount of labor that people can perform in a given interval of time.

    I follow the theory, but I simply cannot say how any of this could actually happen in practice. What is it you actually suggest happens?
    The obvious form of this is called a government, but here's a construction using a market to do a similar thing to keep it apolitical. Using a market will make this less equitable (you have less of a say if you have less leverage), but at least as a model system it should demonstrate the concept. Making it more equitable requires alternate forms of leverage than just raw money to be in play - e.g. withholding of labor, embargoes, threat of force, etc. But with currency it's easier to calculate with than if we're talking about abstract forms of leverage.

    Lets say I go and found some company called the Stay at Home Index. You can participate in this market by purchasing shares of 'stay at home' or virtually selling those shares short (voting 'go to work') as you like. If you purchase 'stay at home', you give actual money to the company to hold in escrow. If you sell short, you're registering that you are only willing to abide by the market's decision in exchange for at least that much recompense. We set a number of people whose behavior needs to be bought out to make this endeavor worthwhile - 60% of the population, perhaps.

    When the market pays out, it works by assuming that anyone buying 'stay at home' will comply for free, but 'sell short' will only comply if the payout is at least that size. So we can figure out many people will comply given a certain amount of money placed into the market at that time. If that number is sufficiently greater than the threshold for meaningful action to account for risk (decided when the market is formed), the market pays out an equal share to everyone who would agree to have their behavior be bought for that amount, under the condition that they comply and stay home.

    If after a period of time the market has too low of a participation to meet the target, then everyone's money is returned to them. Excess money from non-compliant cases is added to the proportional payout of those who comply.

    So in this system, if I'm reliant on my income to survive, I can sell short at that amount (or a bit higher) for the chance of receiving a payout to stay home. If it's worth something for me for people to stay home, I can bid into the 'stay home' side to enable this policy to happen, at a cost based on how much it's worth it to me. If at the end of all of this people can't agree, then I'm not out my money (modulo opportunity costs for the decision period). So I only pay if there's a functioning consensus.

    Anyhow, this is an example how I might try to do it purely with individuals existing in no other kind of surrounding context. It'd work a bit differently between governments.

  17. - Top - End - #617
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    Default Re: The Corona Virus

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    I fail to see what relevance that has to what I said.
    Ok, I'll explain: You mentioned the scope of the problem, and I mentioned a number of problems of greater scope. The point, really, is the lack of global panic over things that kill more people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    I have yet to see a single example of "fighting it" that you have not decried on here, so this confuses me somewhat.Yes, and considering how contagious it is, along with the fact that it can re-infect, I would imagine the exact measures that have been taken by most countries would be obviously advantageous.
    Decry? I disagree with how dangerous a lot of people think the disease is, and I disagree (somewhat) with the proportion of the response. That's hardly decrying anything. We (Denmark) are reopening society, and the infection pressure keep going down regardless.

    And please keep in mind, I don't claim to be right, or to know better. I've even stated a few times that when it comes to health advice, you really should only listen to doctors. That doesn't mean I'm not entitled to an opinion, and I comment more on the basis of statistics than any medical information or knowledge.

    What I try to do is argue from a substantially less alarmist point of view - because I think that's correct. I think we've reacted, globally and collectively, way out of proportion to the actual threat. Although I wont deny that in places - New York, Italy, Wuhan, I'm sure there are more - it has been really bad. We have reacted, perhaps sensibly, to try to avoid it becoming as bad, but without knowing what made it so bad in those places.

    I said early on that it would have been wiser to isolate only the most at-risk groups, and just let the rest of us get infected as the dice roll. I stand by that. That would have worked as well, and cost immeasurably less. Another option for a more measured response might be to isolate only city populations. There are regions of Denmark that have had zero cases. None. At all. Of course you could claim that that's because the isolation worked. I don't even particularly deny that - but a few wouldn't have been a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Zero people have claimed it is our worst problem, as I have pointed out before. As to the proportionality of the solution, you'll forgive me if I do not think that you are more correct than the majority of world governments and the overall consensus of the entire worldwide scientific community.
    Um. I don't really feel zero is correct. But anyways, as I said above - I don't expect you to ignore experts and world leaders on my account. But I do feel entitled to having an opinion - also one contrary to your. I feel entitled, as well, to voice it. And yes, you're well within your rights to either ignore it, or challenge it. And if you do so respectfully, I will pretty much never fail to answer. And I try to be civil too (although I have failed at times - to my shame).

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Similarly, I fail to see the applicability when you admit the lion exists, claim the lion isn't so bad since it's only eating one person per day, railing against any attempt at neutralizing the lion, and then saying that sure, the lion problem should probably be dealt with.
    Do I rail? Really? I certainly disagree. That's not quite the same thing.

    Anyways, the gobsenops thing was a comment on putting a spin on the whole thing, after the fact. Has nothing to do with the virus itself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Some people will disregard any advice, yes. But justifying giving specific advice on the basis of "people don't follow advice" is...off. I see mask wearing suggestions as similar to hand washing suggestions. There will probably always be some people who do an inadequate job, but you can probably make some aware.
    The point is that recommending masks and then giving guidance that some people will follow and some will not, may do more harm than good. It's not the giving of guidance that's a bad idea, it's the fact that we might be over-estimating howmuch it will mitigate the improper use of masks.

    Masks are not at all similar to hand-washing for two reasons:
    • There IS a consensus that hand-washing reduces the risk of getting the virus, there is NOT a consensus that masks do any good at all.
    • Hand-washing, whether done properly or not, does not increase the risk of getting the virus. Mask wearing, when not done properly, might increase the risk.


    So one is all upside, and one is questionable upside with the possibility of a downside.

    And yet it is always framed as a supposition, without any data to justify that it will happen.

    We have several cultures that wear masks every time significant disease threatens. Are any of them noted for great deaths due to a false sense of safety? I don't think it's the only reasonable countermeasure, but data is, as of right now, still incomplete, so it's not wholly proven one way or the other. The CDC did change their guidance to recommend masks, and many countries do require or recommend masks, and some of them have had fairly good results.
    You are right here - we have incomplete data. We don't know if the false sense of security increases the risk of the virus being communicated - so that is supposition. We don't know if, even where properly used, the masks do any good in reducing transmission - so that is also supposition.

    That leaves WHO, local authorities, and individuals having to weigh the relative risks with incomplete information. Some have weighed it in favour of wearing/recommending masks, some have weighed it in favour of not recommending/wearing masks.

    I do agree that uncertainty is fairly common. We're working with incomplete information, and so a lot of recommendations change over time. I'm sure looking back on this ten years hence, many things will seem like obvious errors. I also suspect that the utility of the mask varies strongly with the type. A loosely tied bandanna is probably not on par with a properly worn N95. I also suspect that whatever effectiveness masks have may be reduced by not wearing them early in the infection. So, a cultural affinity for masks may work better than countries who shift to wearing masks only after it is widespread. A lot of mitigation efforts work better when the infections are relatively few, because any slowing makes it easier to identify and isolate those who are sick.
    Maybe. I think it's worth pointing out that countries with a cultural affinity for mask wearing are not immune from the false security and even there there's no consensus that they work. This from the Japan Times:
    "“As self-protection, your mask is practically useless,” says Shukan Gendai magazine this month. Commercial face masks, medical authorities say, can block particles measuring 3 to 5 micrometers. Wear it against pollen, by all means. The coronavirus currently raging, however, measures 0.1 micrometer."

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/20.../#.Xsobbmgza70

    The WHO has largely been behind the curve for this entire outbreak, refusing to, say, recommend travel bans or border closings over a month after the CDC embraced them as a good idea to prevent the travel of ill people. Or the information minimizing the threat of Covid-19 to humans, which aged terribly poorly. As a result, the advice of the latter is often preferred over the former. And, as a direction of where things are going, looking at groups who are quicker to change their decision making is probably instructive, even if some lag behind.
    I'm sure it is preferred ..... in USA.

    I can point out things my own countries experts recommended earlier than the CDC, does that now make them a superior authority?

    No, WHO has plenty of expertise. So does the CDC, and so do the authorities of most developed countries' health agencies. You may (and probably should) prefer the advice of the one that is local to you, but that does not make it any more authoratative than any other.

    That said, there's really no ultimate authority when it comes to science. It's not law, after all. We can look at and respect expert advice, but membership in a particular organization over another doesn't make a scientist inherently better.
    Quite right.

    However, I think we can elevate the position of organisations like WHO, CDC, England's NHS etc over the opinion of individual doctors. Because first, we can assume the big organisations have a high level of expertise, whereas its not always apparent the extent of other experts expertise. Second, they have checks, so their view is not the view of one or a few outliers, its an opinion made in consultation with many.

    Of course that doesn't help us very much, when those organisations have different recommendations.

    It also seems fairly open and shut that masks can prevent viruses. There's very sound data for that in the medical field. Certainly, general use isn't the same as medical use, but essentially everyone accepts that medical folks having insufficient supplies of PPE are at increased risk. Human biology not being special if you are a doctor, you will have the same reduction in risk if you follow the practices they do.
    No, it is not open and shut that the masks that are generally available for purchase prevent this virus. Doctors have different PPE equipment than the sort of thing that are commonly worn by people on the street. One reason for this, is that we need to protect the eyes too, because the virus can enter through the eyes. This article that I posted on the previous page explains the conflicting evidence, and what conclusions can be drawn:
    https://www.sciencealert.com/this-is...t-so-confusing


    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Yeah, I don't think it's the norm, which is why I said it seems like you made an unlucky guess. It sounded like you were assuming that if I put those numbers into personal perspective rather than the abstract, it would increase the weight I gave to the economic considerations or would seem like an absurd trade-off. I also don't think that 'unemployment = risk of death' is the norm everywhere in the world. Where I am right now, I'm unsure if I'd risk it, but where I was planning to move to before Covid what I've heard is that you pretty much have to try to die from poverty - food, medical care, and shelter are provided for the poor.

    In my case I have savings and a secondary employer lined up that I could immediately switch to and work for remotely if I had to quit because of some policy of my current employer. It's still a bit complicated for me because if I don't have a local job then my visa ends within 3 months so I would have to move but that's something I'm budgeting for and it would be feasible if annoying.
    oh yes, gotcha.

    One point - a 20% increase in unemployment doesn't include people who lose their job and find another - it includes only people who lose their job and don't get another.

    The Depression had a lower per-capita death rate than the years before it though...

    I think it's pretty hard for debt or lack of money to starve a country unless that country is such that it has no choice other than to import most of its food. Being deeply in debt doesn't inherently decrease the amount of labor that people can perform in a given interval of time.
    I didn't know that - is that because the years before included WW1?

    Depression wouldn't realistically starve an entire country, but it would be expected to decrease food production.

    From the demand side, certain more expensive foods (like red meat) might become unprofitable to produce where the market shrinks due to people not being able to afford it. That therefore increases demand on cheaper food sources, which drives up the price.

    On the supply side, the problem is with the availability of money. Where a farmer needs funds because their milking shed needs replacing, it will be harder to source in times of depression. The government might seek to counteract that by looking to artificially increase funds for investment, but it is questionable whether that will be a priority in circumstances where revenue from taxes etc will be far reduced.

    But when I said people starved, I wasn't thinking it was caused by decreased national food production. I was thinking it was caused by a large number of individuals having no means of making money due to high unemployment.

    The obvious form of this is called a government, but here's a construction using a market to do a similar thing to keep it apolitical. Using a market will make this less equitable (you have less of a say if you have less leverage), but at least as a model system it should demonstrate the concept. Making it more equitable requires alternate forms of leverage than just raw money to be in play - e.g. withholding of labor, embargoes, threat of force, etc. But with currency it's easier to calculate with than if we're talking about abstract forms of leverage.

    Lets say I go and found some company called the Stay at Home Index. You can participate in this market by purchasing shares of 'stay at home' or virtually selling those shares short (voting 'go to work') as you like. If you purchase 'stay at home', you give actual money to the company to hold in escrow. If you sell short, you're registering that you are only willing to abide by the market's decision in exchange for at least that much recompense. We set a number of people whose behavior needs to be bought out to make this endeavor worthwhile - 60% of the population, perhaps.

    When the market pays out, it works by assuming that anyone buying 'stay at home' will comply for free, but 'sell short' will only comply if the payout is at least that size. So we can figure out many people will comply given a certain amount of money placed into the market at that time. If that number is sufficiently greater than the threshold for meaningful action to account for risk (decided when the market is formed), the market pays out an equal share to everyone who would agree to have their behavior be bought for that amount, under the condition that they comply and stay home.

    If after a period of time the market has too low of a participation to meet the target, then everyone's money is returned to them. Excess money from non-compliant cases is added to the proportional payout of those who comply.

    So in this system, if I'm reliant on my income to survive, I can sell short at that amount (or a bit higher) for the chance of receiving a payout to stay home. If it's worth something for me for people to stay home, I can bid into the 'stay home' side to enable this policy to happen, at a cost based on how much it's worth it to me. If at the end of all of this people can't agree, then I'm not out my money (modulo opportunity costs for the decision period). So I only pay if there's a functioning consensus.

    Anyhow, this is an example how I might try to do it purely with individuals existing in no other kind of surrounding context. It'd work a bit differently between governments.
    Again though, that is a purely theoretical model. I don't think you mean to suggest that that is how countries (or the world) should work in practice and that it's realistic for them to do so?

    Also, unless I am missing something, this still incentivises people to sell short even if they'd prefer a lockdown. If lockdown occurs they get paid out, and their impact on the outcome is minimal (being one amongst millions). It is a prisoner's dilemma and the rational (although not principled) option for the player is to not cooperate.
    Last edited by Liquor Box; 2020-05-24 at 04:51 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    oh yes, gotcha.

    One point - a 20% increase in unemployment doesn't include people who lose their job and find another - it includes only people who lose their job and don't get another.

    I didn't know that - is that because the years before included WW1?
    Primarily reductions in tuberculosis , flu, and pneumonia as well as traffic deaths. Suicide increased but was a minor fraction in total. Doesn't look like starvation ranked: https://www.pnas.org/content/106/41/17290

    Depression wouldn't realistically starve an entire country, but it would be expected to decrease food production.

    From the demand side, certain more expensive foods (like red meat) might become unprofitable to produce where the market shrinks due to people not being able to afford it. That therefore increases demand on cheaper food sources, which drives up the price.

    On the supply side, the problem is with the availability of money. Where a farmer needs funds because their milking shed needs replacing, it will be harder to source in times of depression. The government might seek to counteract that by looking to artificially increase funds for investment, but it is questionable whether that will be a priority in circumstances where revenue from taxes etc will be far reduced.

    But when I said people starved, I wasn't thinking it was caused by decreased national food production. I was thinking it was caused by a large number of individuals having no means of making money due to high unemployment.
    Internally to a country (a currency, really) money is an accounting device to record promises of future labor in exchange for resources and services delivered at the moment. So it's lubrication, but the goods and services being exchanged don't equate to it in any kind of absolute sense.

    If e.g. a currency collapses then it devalues things you did in the past relative to things you will do in the future. So at some point the guy who does shed replacement might rather be paid in chickens than dollars. That's bad news for the country (because no faith in its currency means no international leverage, and taxation stops being an effective way to fund infrastructure and public services) but I don't think it'd stop the shed from getting replaced. It might stop the farmer from getting gas for their tractor or stop the shipping company from transporting the food though.

    Again though, that is a purely theoretical model. I don't think you mean to suggest that that is how countries (or the world) should work in practice and that it's realistic for them to do so?

    Also, unless I am missing something, this still incentivises people to sell short even if they'd prefer a lockdown. If lockdown occurs they get paid out, and their impact on the outcome is minimal (being one amongst millions). It is a prisoner's dilemma and the rational (although not principled) option for the player is to not cooperate.
    Hm... Yeah, this needs the payout for lying about your preferences to be lower than telling the truth. So I suppose that however you vote in the market it has to cost and pay out according to the same structure regardless of your vote. Anyhow, it starts to look more like a government in that direction.
    Last edited by NichG; 2020-05-24 at 05:53 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post

    Can you back that up that countries were quick to adopt mask use have better results? Here in New Zealand we have done pretty well at virus elimination, and here masks are not recommended, not even on public transport.

    Worth noting here, that I am not super-invested in the mask question. I just objected to being told that people who didn't advocate mask use were simply wrong, when the reality is that it is much less certain than that.
    About masks, there isn't a one-size-fits all solution. Wuhan's subway had a daily ridership of 3.6 million passengers per day in 2019, that's over 2/3 of New Zealand's population passing through the same crowded metal tubes every day. So I'd say the odds of you getting infected or infecting someone in Wuhan are much higher than almost anywhere in NZ (assuming all other conditions are the same, which they aren't, I know), and if a mask can help reduce that, it's probably a good idea to wear one (assuming you're doing it right, that's another issue altogether). But it's hard to prove how effective the masks are (or even if they are effective at all, I admit I could be wrong), since getting enough data to get conclusive results is probably not worth the effort.

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    The US had 40,000 deaths due to traffic in 2018, and now already has over 100,000 corona deaths.
    Italy had 32,000 corona deaths in the last months, compared to 3,300 traffic deaths in 2018.
    You could compare France, Spain and the UK, and see how it is over there. Apparently, Denmark has had 550 corona deaths, and just 171 traffic deaths in 2018.

    Just saying, this is worse than traffic, where it has manifested itself, and it's still ongoing and expanding. The pandemic has now reached more peripheral areas like Russia and South America, then I assume it will blow up in Africa, although there's the advantage of a largely young population there. And we don't know what is going on in China.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    The US had 40,000 deaths due to traffic in 2018, and now already has over 100,000 corona deaths.
    Data I'm looking at says 97,700 (rounded up), as of about 40 minutes ago. So it's not quite there yet - although it almost certainly will hit 100K in the near future.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    Data I'm looking at says 97,700 (rounded up), as of about 40 minutes ago. So it's not quite there yet - although it almost certainly will hit 100K in the near future.
    Worldmeter has the US at 99300 even, and honestly given that it's the weekend and plenty of countries, US included, don't fully report the weekend covid numbers until Tuesdays, not to mention the underreported cases that are only reflected in excess mortality numbers, it is practically a certainty that the US is past 100k.

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    You're both right, I misread the headlines.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Yeah, I don't think it's the norm, which is why I said it seems like you made an unlucky guess. It sounded like you were assuming that if I put those numbers into personal perspective rather than the abstract, it would increase the weight I gave to the economic considerations or would seem like an absurd trade-off. I also don't think that 'unemployment = risk of death' is the norm everywhere in the world. Where I am right now, I'm unsure if I'd risk it, but where I was planning to move to before Covid what I've heard is that you pretty much have to try to die from poverty - food, medical care, and shelter are provided for the poor.
    Unemployment rates and mortality rates are correlated in every example I could find when this came up earlier in the thread. If there is a country that is exempt, I would be curious to see the data on it.

    Food, shelter, and water are nice, but are not everything. For instance, suicide risk can be affected by employment. Likewise, stress related diseases typically increase with unemployment. Strokes, heart attacks, etc. Source: Harvard Public Health

    Note that they were specifically focusing on job loss due to business closure, not due to any personal fault of the employee, so it should be remarkably applicable here.

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    The Depression had a lower per-capita death rate than the years before it though...

    I think it's pretty hard for debt or lack of money to starve a country unless that country is such that it has no choice other than to import most of its food. Being deeply in debt doesn't inherently decrease the amount of labor that people can perform in a given interval of time.
    That time period had WW1 and then the Spanish Flu, both of which were generally terrible for mortality.

    Losing your job is probably less bad than being sent to endless trench warfare, sure, but that's a pretty low bar to clear.


    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    The point is that recommending masks and then giving guidance that some people will follow and some will not, may do more harm than good. It's not the giving of guidance that's a bad idea, it's the fact that we might be over-estimating howmuch it will mitigate the improper use of masks.
    Literally any advice *can* be bad if sufficient numbers of people follow it sufficiently badly. Do you have any evidence that, in this case, they will?

    You are right here - we have incomplete data. We don't know if the false sense of security increases the risk of the virus being communicated - so that is supposition. We don't know if, even where properly used, the masks do any good in reducing transmission - so that is also supposition.
    Sometimes you still have to act on incomplete data.

    There is at least data showing that mask use is highly effective when done correctly. Which, of course, is why medical professionals insist on using masks.

    Everything against is supposition. If you're prioritizing supposition over data, you're on shaky ground. Sure, the data is not complete, and we don't have any hard data on how much masks would help, but that's not the same as proof they don't.

    Maybe. I think it's worth pointing out that countries with a cultural affinity for mask wearing are not immune from the false security and even there there's no consensus that they work. This from the Japan Times:
    "“As self-protection, your mask is practically useless,” says Shukan Gendai magazine this month. Commercial face masks, medical authorities say, can block particles measuring 3 to 5 micrometers. Wear it against pollen, by all means. The coronavirus currently raging, however, measures 0.1 micrometer."
    And the water droplet carrying the coronavirus are significantly larger than the virus itself. The point of wearing masks is to reduce risks from this transmission vector.

    Some masks are also a great deal more effective than you list above. There's a pretty wide range depending on specific type of mask.

    I'm sure it is preferred ..... in USA.

    I can point out things my own countries experts recommended earlier than the CDC, does that now make them a superior authority?

    No, WHO has plenty of expertise. So does the CDC, and so do the authorities of most developed countries' health agencies. You may (and probably should) prefer the advice of the one that is local to you, but that does not make it any more authoratative than any other.
    If they are, in fact, usually ahead of the CDC when dispensing advice that holds up as correct, then yeah, that makes them more useful.

    It isn't about authority, it's about utility. Saying the WHO doesn't recommend one way or another doesn't mean much if the WHO is always slow to suggestion action. It isn't proof against it as a valid measure, it could merely be another slow reaction.

    However, I think we can elevate the position of organisations like WHO, CDC, England's NHS etc over the opinion of individual doctors. Because first, we can assume the big organisations have a high level of expertise, whereas its not always apparent the extent of other experts expertise. Second, they have checks, so their view is not the view of one or a few outliers, its an opinion made in consultation with many.
    Irrelevant. Large organizations have suggested mask wearing, so comparing the credibility of large organizations to that of individual doctors is a bit of a red herring. It isn't an obscure

    No, it is not open and shut that the masks that are generally available for purchase prevent this virus. Doctors have different PPE equipment than the sort of thing that are commonly worn by people on the street. One reason for this, is that we need to protect the eyes too, because the virus can enter through the eyes. This article that I posted on the previous page explains the conflicting evidence, and what conclusions can be drawn:
    https://www.sciencealert.com/this-is...t-so-confusing
    Many people have masks that are of high quality that they can use. I myself had masks with very good filters(and a bunch of spare filters) because it's typical safety gear when working with concrete. I'm probably not the only person who has shopped for a project at Home Depot and has some stuff sitting around.

    Wearing eye protection is also helpful, and wearing both is probably better than either alone, but wearing only one is still superior to wearing none. Even if exposed, you will typically reduce the viral load you are exposed to. Exposure is not strictly binary, and reduced exposure still improves outcomes. In any case, this doesn't argue against wearing a mask. It argues for wearing a mask AND eye protection.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post

    That time period had WW1 and then the Spanish Flu, both of which were generally terrible for mortality.

    Losing your job is probably less bad than being sent to endless trench warfare, sure, but that's a pretty low bar to clear.
    Well, there's a whole decade between the (de facto, if not legal) end of WW1 - which also corresponded roughly with the end of Spanish flu - and the start of the Depression, so it shouldn't be hard to spot that on a graph.

    Germany is perhaps an exception, because there was an economic meltdown there in 1923. But the Depression didn't start until 1929. People tend to forget - which is odd, given the decade's nickname - that the 1920s were generally extremely prosperous, particularly in the US.

    Having had a quick look at it myself, mind, it seems that the death rate in the USA was falling anyway from 1901 to 1920 for every age group under the age of 70, even including the WW1/Spanish flu deaths. (Crude) life expectancy also rose during that period. So that general trend might need to be factored in anyway.
    Last edited by Aedilred; 2020-05-25 at 05:29 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Unemployment rates and mortality rates are correlated in every example I could find when this came up earlier in the thread. If there is a country that is exempt, I would be curious to see the data on it.

    Food, shelter, and water are nice, but are not everything. For instance, suicide risk can be affected by employment. Likewise, stress related diseases typically increase with unemployment. Strokes, heart attacks, etc. Source: Harvard Public Health

    Note that they were specifically focusing on job loss due to business closure, not due to any personal fault of the employee, so it should be remarkably applicable here.
    There's probably a difference between the effect of unemployment during an economic boom, versus the effect of unemployment during an overall recession. This paper for example seems to show across-the-board decreases in mortality in Europe in response to the 2007 recession (unfortunately, paywalled so I can't dig into the details): https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/....1002/hec.3495

    There seems to be a wider body of papers discussing what they call a 'pro-cyclical' unemployment effect - that as economic activity increases, so does mortality. Here's an example that I can access, which refers to some of them: http://paa2019.populationassociation.org/uploads/192875

    Here they note that the US had a pro-cyclical pattern from 1975 to 1995, but recently that pattern has disappeared (by the time of the data mentioned by the article you link to).

    A lot of where studies get conflicting results in this area seems to be based on stratifying the data to see specific effects. In the paper I just linked, they see the strongest pro-cyclical effects with accidents - fewer people working lowers traffic-related deaths across the board, even if you're still employed; and then with alcohol-related diseases - greater unemployment leading to lower levels of consumption leading to reductions in the highest mortality causes that mask the increases in other mortality causes like suicide. In the paper you linked, it was restricted to the age group of older men. So it's a Simpson's Paradox type of situation - there are lots of different factors, those factors have a pattern of causation that involves possible common latent causes, and they apply differently to different sub-groups so if you stratify things in the right way, you can find increases among an average decrease, and so on.

    E.g. there may be things that increase your personal risk if you're unemployed but the people around you keep working, which are strongly outweighed by risks generated as byproducts of higher rates of overall economic activity - increases in traffic, pollution, spread of communicable diseases, etc. They also find that in the second paper I like - the pro-cyclical effect is a collective one, not an individual one. It's good for everyone, death-wise at least, when everyone doesn't work, but you wouldn't increase your life expectancy by quitting your job.

    To put a number to this, it looks like roughly a 1% increase in unemployment tends to co-occur with a 0.5% decrease in mortality rates, both in Europe, and in older US studies I've found such as: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6028024/

    In that study for example, the rate of auto accidents drops by 2.6% with a 1% increase in unemployment. It also shows that these effects are strongly age-stratified. A 1% increase in unemployment gave a 2% reduction in mortality rate in the 20-24 year old range, a 0.4% reduction for females overall, and a 0.2% reduction for males overall.
    Last edited by NichG; 2020-05-25 at 05:43 PM.

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    On masks :
    the main advantage of a policy of "wear masks" is NOT that your mask will protect you from catching the virus.

    It is that the mask will protect you from SPREADING the virus (from yourself to others).

    You're not protected by your own mask, but by the masks others are wearing.

    It does seem to me that there is a large consensus on the fact that wearing a mask make you less likely to infect others (the WHO recommends wearing a mask if you have symptoms, for example).

    So I cannot really understand WHY it isn't obvious that a policy of "let's have everyone wear masks" would lower the spreading of the disease (it might be too costly or cause a shortage for medical staff, but it's not the same thing as being ineffective).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    That time period had WW1 and then the Spanish Flu, both of which were generally terrible for mortality.

    Losing your job is probably less bad than being sent to endless trench warfare, sure, but that's a pretty low bar to clear.
    "That time period" was well after WW1 and the flu pandemic, which (thanks partly to some ruthless social distancing mandates) had burned out by the end of 1920.

    Yes, there was a spike in suicides when the great crash struck, but total numbers were never more than about 1.5% of all deaths. The small increase was way more than offset by the reduction in deaths from road traffic accidents alone, which went sharply down during the depression.

    But, interesting thing about suicide: rates had already been rising quite rapidly through the roaring 20s. They also rose sharply during the 1980s, and they've been climbing steadily since 2000. The correlation with economic prosperity or otherwise doesn't seem to be as simple as you might expect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osuniev View Post
    On masks :
    the main advantage of a policy of "wear masks" is NOT that your mask will protect you from catching the virus.

    It is that the mask will protect you from SPREADING the virus (from yourself to others).

    You're not protected by your own mask, but by the masks others are wearing.

    It does seem to me that there is a large consensus on the fact that wearing a mask make you less likely to infect others (the WHO recommends wearing a mask if you have symptoms, for example).

    So I cannot really understand WHY it isn't obvious that a policy of "let's have everyone wear masks" would lower the spreading of the disease (it might be too costly or cause a shortage for medical staff, but it's not the same thing as being ineffective).
    Speaking about what I've seen generally, not anyone in this thread:
    Because wearing a mask means admitting that this is a serious problem. It's why the same people are arguing for reopening AND against mask-wearing AND against more aggressive testing and tracing. If everyone would wear a mask, then we could reopen much faster. But they don't want businesses closed OR for people to wear masks, because either option means that this is not just "a bad flu", it's an actual pandemic. They've set "it's not that bad" as a chunk of their identity, and there is no amount of facts, studies, or logic that you can use to convince someone of something if changing their opinion means having to change a significant chunk of their identity.

    I work with people like this. Some of them are very smart. They're also convinced that this is just a hoax, and everyone wearing a mask or who isn't working is a sheep and a coward. When it hits our office, I guarantee you every one of the ones like that who gets it and lives will use that as proof that it's not that bad.

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