Print Story Coronavirus thoughts: protect the vulnerable for 1-2 years
By TheophileEscargot (Mon Mar 16, 2020 at 11:04:34 AM EST) coronavirus covid-19 (all tags)
Just wanted to put my thoughts in one place.

My office has closed down completely for at least a week on the basis of one suspected case. A lot of people seem to be responding to the outbreak either with panic or complacency.

COVID-19 is considerably worse than seasonal flu, with much higher death rates in the elderly or people with other conditions. However the outbreak is likely to be less deadly than the Spanish Flu after WW1, which occurred before there were antibiotics to treat secondary infections and affected younger people.

It will take a minimum of 12 to 18 months before a vaccine is available. The spread of the virus can be controlled with lockdowns, but lockdowns cannot last forever: after a while people get fatigued and stop complying.

On a national level, there are two different strategies that can be taken, each with its own risks.

With a "Delay the onset" strategy, you can lock down as soon as possible. While things are locked down, it could be that the virus will disappear. It could mutate into a less dangerous form that still gives immunity. Better treatments might be developed. With luck, you might get away with hardly any deaths. However if none of those things happen, you risk emerging from the lockdown and being hit by a second wave of the virus: and now it's harder to enter a lockdown again.

The "Spanish Flu" started in 1917 and spread in several waves until 1919. The second wave of 1918 was the deadliest, but the third wave hit places that had been previously unaffected.

Alternatively, there is a "Flatten the Curve" strategy. Do not lock down completely but try to slow down the spread of the virus. Gradually put more lockdown measures in place if the virus seems to be spreading too fast. If successful, this means that your medical capacity is not overwhelmed and sufferers can be appropriately treated. If most of the population get the virus and acquire immunity this way, then there will be no further waves.

However, this strategy has risks. It might not be possible to flatten the curve: the healthcare system might be overwhelmed anyway. The immunity might not last: like the cold or seasonal flu, the virus might evolve into another form to which you don't have immunity.

We will not know which strategy is affected for a couple of years. If the "Delay the onset" countries don't get a second wave, then that strategy was best. If the "Flatten the Curve" countries (such as the UK) do flatten the curve, and there is a second wave, and immunity holds, then that strategy was best. At the moment, we do not know.

On an individual level, if you're in a vulnerable category, you need to protect yourself as much as possible. If you're not in a vulnerable category, you need to protect the vulnerable as much as possible, for instance by handwashing. But whatever measures you take are probably going to have to last a year or more. We need to avoid over-reacting at first then under-reacting when fatigue sets in.

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Coronavirus thoughts: protect the vulnerable for 1-2 years | 19 comments (19 topical, 1 hidden)
Is delay viable? by marvin (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Mar 16, 2020 at 11:38:39 AM EST
With globalization, I wonder if delay is even feasible for the duration necessary. We don't preserve food at home anymore, we ship it in. We don't grow gardens, we buy from stores. We don't stock inventory or spare parts for anything, it's all just in time delivery throughout our supply chains.

I'm one of the lucky few with good health and enough cash on hand to be able to make it through maybe six months. I fear for the many people in our society who will be out of resources after six days. Hoping that Canada and the UK head down the same path as the Nordic countries to ensure everyone is taken care of (income support, etc). The marginalized precariat in the US are so screwed.

Supply chains shouldn't be affected much. by dark nowhere (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Mar 18, 2020 at 12:51:23 AM EST
(That's prescriptive, not a prediction.)

With globalization supply chains are more essential than ever. It does put people at risk, but on the other hand, modern peculiarities offset the aggregate risk. In particular, we can endure delay tactics for longer due in part to the effects that lead to globalization and direct effects of globalization.

I don't know if this ultimately favours one strategy over the other, and it's half moot if there are prolonged import bans. I think that would be a huge mistake.

See you, space cowboy.

[ Parent ]
WIPO by StackyMcRacky (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon Mar 16, 2020 at 12:02:59 PM EST
Do nothing!  The American Way!!!!

Toilet Paper Shortage by Orion Blastar (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Mar 16, 2020 at 09:37:24 PM EST
I posted it in my prior diary.

Panic is out of control, people buying up all the toilet paper, hand sanitizer, wipes, etc.

Restaurants are closing. Trump banned shipments from Europe and Asia so now the Sushi and Japanese Steak houses are closing down because they can't get their shipments of seafood for Sushi and hibachi grill. I got family members who work in one and they were getting by paycheck to paycheck.

I heard the Cornavirus has a 97% survival rate unless one is over 70.

"I drank what?" - <a href="">Socrates</a&gt after drinking the Conium
dude. by aphrael (4.00 / 3) #7 Tue Mar 17, 2020 at 01:36:57 PM EST
estimates are 60-70% will get infected before transmission slows down, if we do nothing to interrupt it.

at a 3% fatality rate that's ... 7 million americans.

luckily the overall fatality rate seems to be lower than 3%, probably closer to 1%. which is still more than 2 million americans.

but the fatality rate is not the problem.

the problem is that around 15% of cases need hospitalization, and most of the people who need hospitalizaiton will only survive with supportive care.

but we don't have 36 million hospital beds.

which means if we don't flatten the curve the fatailty rate goes up.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
How long by Orion Blastar (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Mar 17, 2020 at 04:47:21 PM EST
must we be in isolation quarantine before this blows over?

A lot of restaurant employees are going to loose their jobs and their houses. Not to mention children out of school needing constant attention. 

"I drank what?" - <a href="">Socrates</a&gt after drinking the Conium
[ Parent ]
how long by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #12 Wed Mar 18, 2020 at 03:00:29 PM EST
my guess is 2 months.

and yes this is going to destroy the economy.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
Here is a simulator of the Cornonavirus by Orion Blastar (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Mar 17, 2020 at 12:18:22 AM EST
<a href=""></a>

Notice that people recover from it, about 97% survive and 3% die.

A fallacy about it is that say someone gave you 100 Skittles and told you 3 of them are poison that will kill you. Would you eat the Skittles?

"I drank what?" - <a href="">Socrates</a&gt after drinking the Conium
The good news is... by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue Mar 17, 2020 at 01:21:08 PM EST
there are signs that anti-malarial drugs both help treat COVID-19 and, possibly, may help prevent it. If that proves true, we could see a much quicker end to this than currently seems likely. 

An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
i live in the bay area by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #6 Tue Mar 17, 2020 at 01:33:46 PM EST
it's fairly clear we had community spread six weeks ago, wihch means by the time anyon enoticed the problem, we had no choice but to follow a flatten the curve approach.

in my city it's now illegal to be out and about for anything other than essential purposes (although it is allowed ot go on exercise walks as long as you stay away from people).
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

Save toilet paper use your hand and soap and water by Orion Blastar (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Mar 17, 2020 at 04:44:06 PM EST
<a href=""></a>

"I drank what?" - <a href="">Socrates</a&gt after drinking the Conium
Taleb of Black Swan fame by marvin (4.00 / 1) #10 Tue Mar 17, 2020 at 11:32:58 PM EST
A full lockdown like China and San Fran is looking like the way to go.

Taleb ripped into a paper from Imperial College which received a lot of press on Tuesday.

A branch of our firm has around 400 hotel and restaurant workers (maybe 800 seasonal peak). We're closing at least one hotel, paring back the rest, and probably shutting down the restaurants.

If Taleb is right (and he nailed it in January), then we're far better off enduring three weeks of shutdown instead of this ineffective social distancing.

Three weeks of zero revenue is a lot better than three months of 20% of normal revenues. It will be a lot easier on low paid staff, and make it more likely that many restaurant businesses will survive.

Looks like Maryland will lock down before Monday. by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #15 Sat Mar 21, 2020 at 01:46:01 PM EST
It will only work if you can prevent *everyone* positive from re-entering the now clean area. Otherwise you have to go through with another lockdown. I suspect it might work in your area (probably easy enough to test visitors). It worked in China because they could force any area to do it when necessary. I doubt it will work in San Fran because anyone infected can drop by from any nearby "live free and die" area. Similarly if my area is locked down.

If they really think we can have adequate testing and ICU rooms after two weeks, that might be something. But nothing tells me that they are willing to do anything beyond locking down areas.


[ Parent ]
They are locking down areas by Orion Blastar (2.00 / 0) #17 Sun Mar 22, 2020 at 01:15:36 AM EST
restaurants can stay open as long as they are drive through or carry out curb service.

Everyone is supposed to get a $1000 check based on their 2018 taxes.

"I drank what?" - <a href="">Socrates</a&gt after drinking the Conium
[ Parent ]
Coronavirus thoughts: protect the vulnerable for 1-2 years | 19 comments (19 topical, 1 hidden)