Saturday, March 14, 2020

Ides of March Links

  • The vertical line is when we impose controls, the horizontal lines are ICU bed capacity and total hospital bed capacity. Right below an R0 of 1.5, we dip the # of critical cases low enough that we never exceed hospital capacity. The trick here though is that until you get R0 below 1.0 you're still sweeping through most of the population, just more slowly, slowly enough that the hospitals can handle it. And that means that, for example, if you get R0 to exactly 1.0 you have to keep those infection controls in place for ~5 years or else you'll be back up close to 5million dead again. [Arguably Wrong]
  • There are two local minima on the total cost curve. The first is right around R0=1.50. This makes the spread slow enough that hospital capacity is never overloaded, greatly reducing the number of deaths and thus the cost of the disease. This reduces total cost to $7.45 trillion dollars, just about half of what the uncontrolled cost would be. Note that even with this small amount of reduction, the majority of the cost is due to the controls rather than directly due to the disease. The second local minima is at the far left, right around at R0=0.35, or about what the Chinese managed in Wuhan. This slows the spread of the disease so fast that we rapidly enter back into the much cheaper contact-tracing regime where wholesale lockdowns are no longer necessary. This reduces total cost to $3.11 trillion dollars, half again the cost with only moderate controls. [Arguably Wrong]
  • I just got back from Japan, and came through MSP. The only sort of health screening that went on was being asked, "did you visit China?". The bathrooms didn't even have soap at the sinks! I feared getting the flu more from all the obese slobs sneezing, picking their nose (not a joke), coughing into their hands, etc. than the obsessive cleaning and mask wearing Japanese. Comparing the two, I really think we have to reconsider that the US is a "first world" country. I don't know if there are official definitions for being "second world", but I know we aren't third world. Yet. I'm sure we have all sensed or noticed the slipping of standards at home in manners, dress, cleanliness, cell phone use, but nothing was more jarring than coming back and having it really hit home how bad it is here. If the US is still first world, Japan needs a name for the next level that they live at. [Sailer]
  • The problem is that the crisis fits into his preexisting and deeply held worldview—that the media is always searching for a story to bring him down. Covid-19 is merely the latest instance, and he's reacting in familiar ways. "So much FAKE NEWS!" Trump tweeted this morning. "He wants Justice to open investigations of the media for market manipulation," a source close to the White House told me. Trump is also frustrated with his West Wing for not getting a handle on the news cycle. "He's very frustrated he doesn't have a good team around him," a former White House official said. On Friday he forced out acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and replaced him with former House Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows. Trump thought the virus was "getting beyond Mick," a person briefed on the internal discussions said. Trump has also complained that economic adviser Larry Kudlow is not doing enough to calm jittery markets. Last week Kudlow refused Trump's request that Kudlow hold an on-camera press briefing, sources said. "Larry didn't want to have to take questions about coronavirus," a person close to Kudlow told me. "Larry's not a doctor. How can he answer questions about something he doesn't know?” [VF]
  • The most secure bio-labs routinely make errors that could cause a global pandemic & are about to re-start experiments on pathogens engineered to make them mammalian-airborne-transmissible. [Dominic Cummings]
  • The most damaging infectious diseases have fitness loads much larger than could be maintained by mutational rate, and most seem to have existed for too long to have been caused by a new environment. By looking only at fitness load, one could therefore have predicted that smallpox, tuberculosis, malaria, typhoid, bubonic plague, yellow fever, and cholera all were of infectious origin, even if we had known nothing of their epidemiology. We would have to know only that they were not rare, significantly decreased fitness, and had existed in human populations over many generations. [Cochran]
  • I'm a modern day Johnny Appleseed, only I install emergency supplies at friends' homes instead of planting apple trees. After a little earthquake tremor or worrisome news of some kind I make the rounds to whoever inquires and upgrade their reserves. I start with water and gently push them towards the other items on the list. Some friends finally let me help them with their long term food storage. I start with some pasta, rice, beans, and canned goods – or whatever fits their dietary parameters. The things that make people more resilient in a pandemic are the same things that will be useful in an earthquake, a bout of unemployment, or a power failure. My N95 masks were great when air quality deteriorated during recent forest fires. [Granola Shotgun]
  • "There is overwhelming evidence in favor of fever being an adaptive host response to infection that has persisted throughout the animal kingdom for hundreds of millions of years. As such, it is probable that the use of antipyretic/anti-inflammatory/analgesic drugs, when they lead to suppression of fever, results in increased morbidity and mortality during most infections; this morbidity and mortality may not be apparent to most health care workers because fever is only one of dozens of host defense responses." [NLM]
  • In Germany and France, ICU physicians have noticed that the common thread amongst young patients needing COVIDー19 related ICU admission is that they had been using NSAIDS (Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Aspirin). [Twitter]
  • This paper investigates how air temperature and humidity influence the transmission of COVID-19. After estimating the serial interval of COVID-19 from 105 pairs of the virus carrier and the infected, we calculate the daily effective reproductive number, R, for each of all 100 Chinese cities with more than 40 cases. Using the daily R values from January 21 to 23, 2020 as proxies of non-intervened transmission intensity, we find, under a linear regression framework for 100 Chinese cities, high temperature and high relative humidity significantly reduce the transmission of COVID-19, respectively, even after controlling for population density and GDP per capita of cities. One degree Celsius increase in temperature and one percent increase in relative humidity lower R by 0.0383 and 0.0224, respectively. This result is consistent with the fact that the high temperature and high humidity significantly reduce the transmission of influenza. It indicates that the arrival of summer and rainy season in the northern hemisphere can effectively reduce the transmission of the COVID-19. [SSRN]
  • When you live in a remote area or road take trips to out of the way places a CV or MGM is the perfect car for a number of reasons. When I drove to the Yukon a few years ago I could have taken either my BMW or Mercedes Benz. Both are reliable, safe and nice riding But not very easy to locate parts for or find someone qualified to work on them as the Crown Victoria. Every small town along the way would have a mechanic familiar with old Crown Vic's and parts cars in the form of retired police cars used by the RCMP could be found everywhere. In addition the trunk is so vast that in addition to luggage it could easy handle a full size spare, a jack, a 4'x3' x3' box filled with hand tools, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, axe and assorted survival equipment and spare parts in the event of a break down. In any event none of these items were needed in the 10000km journey on the lonely highway or another road as we cruised along in comfort while getting an average of 34 mpg. It is unfortunate that no domestic auto maker produces a dependable rear wheel drive V8 engine car today. [BaT]
  • The first village we encountered seemed deserted at first, but as soon as we entered the village we saw people coming at us from all sides. They had machetes and sticks and were shouting. "Des Blancs. Argent!" - "White people. Money!". They were all over the place. This was not good! I floored it and sped out of the village. A rock hit the back of our car. What in gods name was that all about? Very few Congolese had made us feel welcome, but this was plain agression! It scared the hell out of us. We passed another village, and once again a mob formed as soon as they heard us coming. Machetes flying round, racist slogans shanted. Once again we did not give them the chance to get near us and blasted out of the village. They tried following us. This was turning ugly, if we would get stuck here we would be in big trouble, these people did not want a chat! [Expedition Portal]
  • As America becomes more Asian and Hispanic, it becomes less white. Everybody knows that this is part of what drives MAGA. But it also becomes less black. Fewer people recognize that this is part of what drives the Awokening. The sudden recrudesence of black radicalism and demands for reparation all reflect a desperate fourth-quarter drive to complete the unfinished business of black and white America before non-black, non-white America eclipses those concerns. Black Americans are demanding as much as they can get from the country (power, reparations, a foothold in the cannabis business, etc.) before new management takes over and they are left holding the worthless IOUs from the soon-to-be-displaced white-American majority. Blacks are now second to Hispanics in being America's biggest racial minority, and it is only a matter of time before political power begins to reflect this as well. [Taki's]
  • Things got personal. Intellectual snobberies were revealed. One parent who supported Mr. Johnson confronted another who did not: "Are you fluent in Latin? What is your favorite Shakespearean sonnet? Who is your favorite Pre-Raphaelite artist?" The parent on the receiving end of this interrogation shrugged in response. To manage the fallout, the board hired a strategic communications firm, and this in turn spurred further rancor. [NYT]

1 comment:

eahilf said...

I feared getting the flu more from all the obese slobs sneezing, picking their nose (not a joke), coughing into their hands, etc. than the obsessive cleaning and mask wearing Japanese.

It's pretty clear civilization is generally dsygenic -- but the rise of obesity in America has been one of the most disturbing phenomena of my lifetime -- I find a large fraction of the people I see just plain physically repulsive, and I am not at all ashamed to admit this substantially lowers whatever empathy I might otherwise have/feel for them -- throw in increasing, alienating "diversity", and you understand Putnam's findings -- I don't really see how the US can thrive into the future as a coherent national entity -- I want to opt out of it, anyway.


Coming back from Eastern Europe, seeing the amount of grossly obese people is shocking. It is like so many Americans gave up on life.