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Michael Droy
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one day your pulse will flatline... Or the Nassim Taleb analogy of the Turkey fed by the butcher for 1000 days but on day 1001...
Hindsight is still a long way ahead of us. Is destroying the economy the right solution? - no one has a clue - or rather the argument is largely based on QALYs and no one is talking about QALYs so either the calculations aren't being done or more likely they are too brutal for politicians to dare use them. No one has any real data. Death rates are death with Covid-19 tested, not death by Covid-19 and certainly not all deaths with Covid-19 which for all we know may go back to last summer or before. Infection rates are only infection rates of patients with symptoms who demand a test - most people with symptoms are expected to self-isolate and shut up. We don't know infection rates at any place or any time within a factor of 10 (other than emergency sites like Wuhan where the guessing range is down to a factor of 2). Outbreaks are defined by hospitals overwhelmed rather than infection rates, and tests are only common after outbreaks. On a top down level the evidence across countries is that Covid-19 has not lead to more deaths overall (though that does not mean it can't be shown at local levels). And likewise there is no proper data that confirms that Wuhan or China is over it. (In Wuhan the economy leading to much lower levels of pollution may have been a major factor absent from even the testing data) Suppose you attempt a proper investigation. Assume 0.1% infection. You'd need 100k randomly controlled tests to get 100 cases - nobody is able to do that many tests - and certainly not of a truly random sample. There is supposedly an anti-body test - though we have no idea when this will be widely available of if it will work. If it is cheap enough to uncover all those who have got over the virus it will tell us real info if used in scale. Then we will have data.
(that was a very long process to register to sign on). The CDC boss has admitted that there has been some back testing which show flu victims actually had the Corona Virus. Meanwhile Corona Virus is everywhere, pretty evenly if, as you suggest, look as test results as a function of tests. Suggesting it has been spreading slowly for a long time, not in lightening strikes linked a travelling Chinese from Wuhan. As the Chinese Foreign Spokesman pointed out (misreported but this was his point) there is quite a reasonable chance that the virus did not first start in Wuhan, and might as easily have travelled from US to China (oranywhere to China) as the other way around. The data is there - detailed dna sequences of strains can with AI identify how the virus evolved. It will certainly be known by many groups of researchers by year end. China has been generous with sharing the results of its testing and should be congratulated. Others have barely begun testing and revealed almost nothing.
Michael Droy is now following The Typepad Team
Mar 16, 2020