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  • “The Pandemic Panic Panic”

    Posted by Jonathan on May 1st, 2020 (All posts by )

    Some interesting thoughts from Roger J. Brown.

    More thoughts here.

    Worth reading.

     

    29 Responses to ““The Pandemic Panic Panic””

    1. Mike K Says:

      With respect to the Logistic Curve, there is an expression from the “Dow Theory Letter” I used to read.

      It was “Trees do not grow to the sky.”

      Another thought is about a penny stock. The fellow buys some shares and they go up. He calls the broker and buys more and it goes up more. He keeps buying and the stock has gone up so much he decides to sell and take his profits.

      He calls the broker and says “Sell !”

      The broker says, “To who ?”

    2. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

      “exactly what politicians of every stripe want, which is to sow discontent and fear for as long as possible…” An interesting statement for a writer who purports to be driven by the numbers.

      He may be correct in his mind-reading, of course. Lots of people think cynical things about all politicians. But he’s not number driven. He is opinion driven and using numbers to double back and prove them.

    3. MCS Says:

      Scientist: Predict then measure.

      Engineer: Measure then predict.

      Politician: ???

      I’ll leave it as an exercise for the readers to decide who they hope designed the next bridge they cross or elevator they ride.

      I will further conjecture that any “scientist” that gives a press conference or participates in one has ceased being a scientist, usually for many years. This goes double if they hold some sort of administrative position in government.

      In this case it meant that predictions were made and never tested. Now the incentives of counting every possible death as Wuflu related have eliminated any chance there might have been to do that now and largely for the future as well.

      All the “models” were untested and mostly untestable conjectures. Anyone that believed that any of them were usable for day-to-day guidance should have been gently lead from the room and confined where they couldn’t cause harm to themselves or others. Instead they were allowed to destroy the economy.

      What Reade vs. Biden illustrates is the neither the political nor the media class have come to grips with the fact that the internet is forever. Once something is said or a position is taken, it will remain accessible to anyone who cares to look for it. Even worse, every schmuck with an internet connection can put it back out there for all to see.

      What we’ll find out in a little over six months is whether the crash of ’20 will last a couple of years or a couple of decades.

    4. Mike K Says:

      Now the incentives of counting every possible death as Wuflu related have eliminated any chance there might have been to do that now and largely for the future as well.

      Yes, there are two incentives for this. One is financial as there is a financial reason to have more WuFlu cases. Funeral Directors are already pointing out that all death certificates are including the virus.

      The other is political as the elections, and not just the presidential one, will be determined to a great extent on the post reopening situation.

      The corruption of vital records are such that only the death rate from all causes will be accurate.

    5. miguel cervantes Says:

      indeed Justin hart and alex Berenson’s analysis seems to bear this point out,

    6. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

      There will be errors in both directions. There are also deaths at home of people who were untested and so have their death attributed to whatever else is handy. We do not know the balance of those, and we will not for a long time. Likely a year will not be enough to sort that out..

      I suppose it would have been better if in January and February people with some authority had just said “well we just don’t know for sure, so we are going to pretend there’s no Wuhan Virus problem at all.” What could go wrong with that, eh? Most people at the time knew our information was limited and folks were making their best guesses. Monday morning quarterbacks are now saying,”Well, they didn’t get it right, so let’s call them stupid and only pay attention to people who already agree with us.”

      We have to interrogate our own statements, folks. I have gotten whiplash from how fast conservatives have started to reason like liberals, just in mirror image. Pro tip: Don’t think you know the motives of people you disagree with. You don’t have a working Motiv-o-meter.

    7. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Mike K: “The corruption of vital records are such that only the death rate from all causes will be accurate.”

      That is indeed the case. We know in a place like England where recording of deaths is fairly well organized and made available to the public that deaths from all causes are running a little ahead of the average of previous years, but not much above total deaths during the heavy flu year of 2018.

      It is arguable that some of the “extra” deaths we are seeing now are accelerations of deaths which would have occurred anyway in the next few weeks or months, since the prime At Risk group for C-19 are those who are aged and/or are medically compromised already. Thus it is quite possible that weekly deaths will be lower later in the year — and at the end of 2020, total All Causes deaths in the US will be around 2,850,000 — in line with total deaths in prior non-C-19 years.

      But by the time the complete 2020 data is available in early 2021, C-19 will be as far removed from public consciousness as Ebola or SARS or AIDS. All anyone will care about is the continuing economic wreckage from the Lock-Downs.

    8. Jonathan Says:

      AVI: I have gotten whiplash from how fast conservatives have started to reason like liberals, just in mirror image.

      It seems that no group is immune from cultural decline.

    9. Jonathan Says:

      Gavin Longmuir: But by the time the complete 2020 data is available in early 2021, C-19 will be as far removed from public consciousness as Ebola or SARS or AIDS. All anyone will care about is the continuing economic wreckage from the Lock-Downs.

      Let’s hope. However, it might be better to think in terms of

      If A then maybe X, if B then maybe Y…

      rather than

      A is likely

    10. David Foster Says:

      re the Vital Records, I wonder if something like this has been going on all along. Hospitals get paid differing amounts for different conditions being treated…so there would be an incentive, if treating a patient for condition A (worth $20K in payments), to also “diagnose” him with condition B (worth $40K). Or would there be too much fear of legal consequences, or simply reluctance to engage in unethical behavior?

      If this is the case, then why wouldn’t it also apply to Covid-19 diagnoses?

      Wondering: When must the diagnosis code(s) be established?…When the patient is admitted, when treatment starts, or after the patient is discharged or dies?

    11. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Jonathan: “However, it might be better to think in terms of
      If A then maybe X, if B then maybe Y… “

      Lord Keynes is reputed (perhaps incorrectly) to have said something like ‘When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?’ Various other forms of this reputed quote float around the place. Without taking any position on whether the quote is accurate, the sentiment is certainly admirable.

      If, months ago, the cruise ship “Diamond Princess” had become another Marie Celeste, floating aimlessly on the ocean with 4,000 dead passengers & crew, I for one would call C-19 a pandemic and take it very seriously indeed. But when the overwhelming majority of passengers & crew exposed to C-19 were not even infected, and most of the minority infected did not even notice, and only a handful of mostly 80+ year old passengers succumbed — I have to judge that the evidence was in … and (absent contrary new data) incontrovertible.

      We have already suffered the disappearance of toilet paper. Now we are beginning to see meat shortages. Major retailers are declaring bankruptcy. The oil industry is on its knees. Most airlines are functionally bankrupt. Airbus & Boeing are staring into the abyss, along with several automobile manufacturers. And the consequences of supply chain disruptions from China are only now beginning to show up. The information is dynamic and could certainly change, but at the moment the conclusion is clearly that the economic impacts of our Betters’ foolish lockdowns are far outweighing the health issues from C-19.

      But we all should keep open minds and exercise good judgment. If the faucet in the bathroom is dripping and the furnace has just caught fire, most of us would have no problem deciding where to focus our immediate attention.

    12. MCS Says:

      There need to be two iron conclusions drawn.

      First: By the time you exempt all the people necessary to avoid starving millions from the first week, the exercise is pointless. There are too many people still moving around, spreading it far and wide.

      Second: It is ruinously expensive. There are going to be a lot of people without jobs long after the federal money dries up and a lot of them will be former state and local employees. The states and cities aren’t able to simply print money to make payroll. All the non-essential businesses that aren’t going to be paying their non-essential employees won’t be paying taxes either.

      Several states believe that they will con the feds into writing them a check to cover this as well as the last 30-40 years of bad choices. They’re about to find out just how cold and hungry you get waiting for a government check.

    13. MCS Says:

      Just saw some really bad news for England. The government is talking to a company about developing a “high tech” health passport so they can lift the lockdown. Based on all previous British Government tech initiatives, this means they have at least five years and 100 billion spent before they admit it’s never going to actually produce anything.

      https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/may/03/coronavirus-health-passports-for-uk-possible-in-months

    14. Mike K Says:

      The states and cities aren’t able to simply print money to make payroll. All the non-essential businesses that aren’t going to be paying their non-essential employees won’t be paying taxes either.

      Most of the people I see online and in the newspapers who are still determined to press the shutdown are people whose incomes are not affected. Lots of them are government employees or pensioners. When their incomes begin to be affected, we will see support for the shutdown collapse.

      On the topic of hospital charges, the assignment of DRG codes takes place, or did when I was still in practice, after discharge when the bill is submitted to the payer. The coding office often had algorithms to maximize payment and I would sometimes be asked to alter a discharge diagnosis to assist in this “fine tuning” of the process. If it was reasonable, I would often modify the coding. I am certain that this is what is going on in cases related to the virus.

    15. PenGun Says:

      “Trees do not grow to the sky.” Well either they do, or they just use gravity, in any case, they sure seem to know which way is up. ;)

      The virus can only survive in humans. In BC we have just over 100 confirmed cases, so a few times as many in reality. So if we continue to do what we have gotten used to doing, we could possibly kill it off here. With travel restrictions as they are, we could actually be Covid 19 free in a while.

      If nearly the entire planet just gives up, and accepts the virus into its people, as it seems is going to be the case, then it will survive and prosper. ;(

    16. newrouter Says:

      >The virus can only survive in humans.<

      So "bat flu" is a myth and Wuhan lab bioweapon is a fact?

    17. Raymondshaw Says:

      -So “bat flu” is a myth and Wuhan lab bioweapon is a fact?-

      Forget it Jake. It’s Chinatown

    18. MCS Says:

      Suppose Canada, or any country for that matter, managed to avoid this. They could only maintain their victory by eliminating travel until a vaccine has been deployed. We know that many carriers are asymptomatic. The present tests for the virus are either slow or fairly sloppy. A good quick antibody test if we get one, won’t help because carriers probably don’t have them. Even a fairly small number of false negatives would probably cause failure.

      Canada would have a lot of problems surviving without truck traffic and other commerce from the U.S. We would also suffer significant dislocations.

      This illustrates the folly of the lockdown as a preventive. Assuming it actually could be made effective without causing widespread famine, it would have to be extended until a vaccine was available and widely dispersed. This might never happen and will certainly take longer than it would be possible to maintain an effective quarantine.

    19. PenGun Says:

      Any travel to BC requires a 14 day self isolation period. As we are pretty close to wiping it out here, and have a population used to social distancing, we could possibly win the war on this island. I’m not sure that’s a huge victory, but it is possible.

      As you and the rest of the world are not island hippies, and really care about money more than avoidable deaths, you will do what you think is best. In your country I expect many avoidable deaths.

    20. Mike K Says:

      PenGun drops another ignorant comment. Would you like the loan of my Virology book ?

      I doubt you could read it. It is a hard slog. The proper name of the virus is SARS2.

      PenGun does not realize that the AmerIndians were isolated from Old World diseases for 10,000 years. That is why they were almost wiped out by smallpox and the Polynesians were almost wiped out by measles.

    21. MCS Says:

      I’ll bet the truck drivers aren’t self isolating for 14 days. If they were, one of PenGun’s less squeamish and more realistic neighbors would have him cut up in their freezer by now.

      The people that can sit this out and virtue signal are doing it because of the rest of us willing to take the risk of continuing to keep him fed.

      I was never hungry enough to take a job in a meat packing plant. I’m not surprised that adding risk on top is enough to keep some of the worker home.

    22. Mike K Says:

      It helps to understand that BC is the most left wing part of Canada, which is saying something.

      Alberta, which has from time to time, expressed interest in joining Montana as part of the US, divides the loonies from the rest of Canada. BC is also known as “The Florida of Canada” for its mild climate, which explains the hippies.

    23. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      In case anyone missed it, the English professor (Ferguson) whose model erroneously predicted 2 million dead in the US and thereby helped spread the viral panic from China to the West has admitted that he broke lock-down regulations by shooting off to make whoopee with his married lover. Since it is England, we should note that the married lover was of the opposite gender, which probably makes Ferguson anti-gay as well as a scofflaw.

      “One law for you peons, another law for us in the Ruling Class”.

    24. PenGun Says:

      “PenGun drops another ignorant comment. Would you like the loan of my Virology book ?

      I doubt you could read it. It is a hard slog. The proper name of the virus is SARS2.”

      Mike K, the gift that keeps on giving. Have you figured out the effect of Zinc on viral replication yet? It did seem to be a problem for you, cellular biology is kinda hard. I’ll dig up my own information thank you, that book is probably very old.

      OK … if you say so. ;)

    25. Raymondshaw Says:

      Anyone else remember that guy from BC, Robert Pickton? In the early aughts he was arrested for a bunch of serial murders. He also owned a pig farm and was believed to have fed some of his murder victims to his pigs. Hey Penny, were you a pork consumer back in the day when Robert was struggling to feed his hogs? That might explain a lot!

    26. Mike K Says:

      A little real information for the BC Zinc expert.

      He’ll probably come up with another YouTube video. Molecular biology is hard, especially for garbage truck drivers.

    27. Mike K Says:

      This weekly podcast has discussion of the point mutation of the spike protein and whether it affects infectiousness. The discussion is at 50 minutes. They tend to doubt that the mutation affects its ability to spread.

      For the amateur virologists.

    28. PenGun Says:

      “Hey Penny, were you a pork consumer back in the day when Robert was struggling to feed his hogs? That might explain a lot!” Explain what?

      Anyway I have been a vegetarian for over 50 years now. I have seen where your meat comes from, and how they do it. I want no part of that awfulness, thank you.

      I’m pretty sure I read that one Mike. The vids were for you. ;)

    29. JAL Says:

      Thanks for the links. I read them all and took this
      “Pro tip: Don’t think you know the motives of people you disagree with. You don’t have a working Motiv-o-meter.”
      and didn’t make a judgement like this
      “But he’s not number driven. He is opinion driven and using numbers to double back and prove them.”
      ;)

      Was any math at the links incorrect?

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