Coronavirus - starting to look like like a major overshoot

Fellow monkeys -

Let me be the first to plead guilty to underestimating the coronavirus a few weeks ago.

But in the last 1-2 days, I can't help but notice a sudden rush of analysis that's suggesting this virus threat in the US may be remembered as one of the great overreactions in history. And its mostly due to bad math.

A few examples (trust me, a lot more where this came from):

  1. Stanford Professor says data shows we are "severely" overreacting…

  2. Richard Epstein (AIDS spread expert) says the leading math failed to account for adaptive behavior and only 500 Americans will die compared to common projections of 500k-1m American deaths…

  1. After Imperial College (led by the vaunted infectious disease expert Neil Ferguson) put out an influential and scary paper 2 days ago, Nassim Taleb et al published a rebuttal pointing out major flaws.…

  1. Dr. Drew was on the Herd today basically saying its been overblown, especially as it relates to hospital overflow

The constant theme in these examples, and others I've seen, is that there's been such a rush to crunch numbers and put out whitepapers that nobody has taken the time to be more thoughtful about making the right adjustments and applying the right assumptions to actually yield useful outcomes.

Meanwhile, other major news (like these two new drugs that appear to be virtual cures if we're being honest) has been buried in the endless rush for more (bad) data analysis. I shudder to think of how many more lives would be saved; you can find articles about these drugs that are a month old yet its a new story here.

Again, its a terrible situation no matter what and under no circumstances am I suggesting this is a time to relax our efforts.

But I am increasingly optimistic that this whole episode is about to end a lot sooner, and with a lot less human and economic damage, than anyone would've predicted just a couple days ago. And yet we're already taking measures that assume a recession based on months of 10-20% of Americans unemployed.

Curious to hear any additional thoughts/info. Everyone stay safe!

Comments (289)

Mar 20, 2020 - 12:45am

As much as I'd want to agree with you, I think it's only going to get worse. First, Dr. Drew is essentially a media personality - would discount that example.

I doubt the Chinese government would put a city of 11 million people on total lockdown if it wasn't serious. NY is having naval ships retrofitted to somehow try to meet the capacity that they're expecting in the next few weeks. I doubt they would make these unprecedented decisions without the data/information that this is getting worse.

The virus spreads rapidly through asymptomatic carriers, which are largely young people who are constantly on the go and socializing with others. We've just had college spring breaks with thousands of people on the beaches in Florida. Disney threw a closing party after it was widely known the implications of the virus, yet thousands of people still went. Many people aren't taking it seriously enough.

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Mar 20, 2020 - 2:01am

I never said we were out of the woods.

But there was a mountain of whitepapers over the last several weeks pointing to a clear consensus of 50% of Americans infected and 500k-1m dead. Paper after paper, article after article.

We're going to put 40 million Americans out of work, permanently shutter many businesses . . I won't go on because by now you've heard Bill Ackman explain all the ways we're fucked.

So, recognizing that its going to get worse from here, I still see a big gap between the consensus that emerged and the much more recent surge in new thinking (every source was from last 48 hours). We're talking 500 dead vs 1 million dead, those are worlds apart. I think Ackman even said 2 million dead.

If you wanna haircut Dr. Drew a bit that's fine, but I mean, he didn't get on TV for his looks or singing ability.

Mar 23, 2020 - 11:54am

Dr. Rahma Dikhinmahas:

I never said we were out of the woods.

But there was a mountain of whitepapers over the last several weeks pointing to a clear consensus of 50% of Americans infected and 500k-1m dead. Paper after paper, article after article.

We're going to put 40 million Americans out of work, permanently shutter many businesses . . I won't go on because by now you've heard Bill Ackman explain all the ways we're fucked.

So, recognizing that its going to get worse from here, I still see a big gap between the consensus that emerged and the much more recent surge in new thinking (every source was from last 48 hours). We're talking 500 dead vs 1 million dead, those are worlds apart. I think Ackman even said 2 million dead.

First off, part of the reason this looks like an overreaction to you is because of the overreaction. It's counter intuitive, and I understand that may be hard to grasp for people who think Dr. Drew is a reputable medical source, but the whole point of harsh restrictions/reactions is to lessen the problem.

Second, we can barely test anyone in the US. It's likely that there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of infected Americans already, but since we can only test so many, we don't know for sure. Hence the word "estimate."

Third, no one was saying that there would be 50% of the American populace infected by March 23. What kind of mouth-breather do you have to be to make that assumption, or predicate an argument on that implication? We're like 2-3 weeks into this. Take a look at this chart - do you really think, as Mr Musk does, that we won't see a single additional case by the end of April? I find it both hilarious and frightening that you think the more responsible and accurate way to judge the severity of this crisis is, in your own words, by the uptick in the frequency of hot takes on it, and not the frequency of actual fucking cases or the opinions of epidemiologists or medical professionals.

If you wanna haircut Dr. Drew a bit that's fine, but I mean, he didn't get on TV for his looks or singing ability.

That's like saying Charles Ponzi made his money through shrewd investments. Dr. Drew is a snake oil salesman, selling patent medicines to credulous people. Saying "this man is a success" and then extrapolating backwards that that fact implies a legitimacy of product or message is how scam artists and con men have proliferated for millenia.

Mar 20, 2020 - 9:06am

And now Elon musk saying zero new cases by April. Yes, he's Elon and he tweets all kinds of ridiculous shit. I'm not making predictions, I'm just observing that in the last 2 days, there's been a sharp uptick in takes that it all may end much sooner than anyone guessed.

I understand the differences of opinion. I don't get the MS. Just providing a lot of the latest info. Maybe y'all just racist.

Mar 23, 2020 - 10:26am

Dr. Rahma Dikhinmahas:

And now Elon musk saying zero new cases by April. Yes, he's Elon and he tweets all kinds of ridiculous shit.

100% incorrect. I will personally guarantee 6 months salary that he is wrong. You really think there will be no new cases in 8 days? His statement truly is another basket filled with shit.

Mar 23, 2020 - 10:53am

Even if you give him the benefit of the doubt and say 0 cases by End of April, I'd still bet a lot of money.

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” - Nassim Taleb
Mar 23, 2020 - 10:56am

In the meantime, Elon and Tesla are currently making ventilators to help with the shortage. Perhaps he takes this seriously as well.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Mar 23, 2020 - 2:24pm

I don't think his statement technically means April 1. It could easily be read as "sometime in April." That would still be aggressive, obviously. But my point in reporting these things is the shift in sentiment. So its not that Elon is right, its that the general chatter has shifted. Or at least, that's what I felt at the time of the post. Now it seems to have turned back a bit as NYC hospital overflow has become a focal point.

  • Intern in Other
Mar 20, 2020 - 10:17am

You are already on here pleading guilty to underestimating it. See you in a week backtracking yourself again

Mar 23, 2020 - 4:25am


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Mar 20, 2020 - 12:28pm

I do not know whether or not it is an overreaction.. With that said, the economic consequences of the reaction are likely going to be severe.
Mar 20, 2020 - 12:37pm

Dr. Drew is, at best, an expert on addiction recovery, and is not a pandemic disease specialist anymore than your regular family medicine neighborhood doctor.

Why would you give an ounce of credence to a report that says only 500 would die? This has already proven to have a higher mortality rate than the flu (even under optimistic modeling) and spreads faster. 80,000 die a year from the flu, and you believe someone says this will stop at 500 cause we practiced some social distancing?

when you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression
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Mar 21, 2020 - 3:59am

500 is extreme you're right. But its an order of magnitude debate so I'd frame it as a debate of few thousand vs a few hundred thousand.

My view on expert vs non-expert is that experts provide the raw material (expert opinions and data) while non-experts have an opportunity to compile and analyze that raw material to create a more finished product. Needless to say, non-experts shouldn't be disagreeing with experts. Its more a role of being an effective messenger.

Mar 23, 2020 - 3:48pm

Dr. Rahma Dikhinmahas:

500 is extreme you're right. But its an order of magnitude debate so I'd frame it as a debate of few thousand vs a few hundred thousand.

My view on expert vs non-expert is that experts provide the raw material (expert opinions and data) while non-experts have an opportunity to compile and analyze that raw material to create a more finished product. Needless to say, non-experts shouldn't be disagreeing with experts. Its more a role of being an effective messenger.

Well, we just passed 500 deaths in the U.S., and this thing is just getting started.

Young readers, Dr. RD may sound like a smart contrarian, but he is high on his own supply. Disregard anything he says.

when you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression
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Most Helpful
Mar 20, 2020 - 1:12pm

Can't comment on the virus, but in November 2008 about a month after the financial crisis was in full swing, there were multiple pundits and economists stating that with TARP now getting it place that we will see a V shaped recovery quickly. If you look at CNBC there were pundits all spouting how this was short term and that in 2010 we would hit new highs. However around February 2009, after huge drops in the market, economists and CEOs were saying it was all doom and gloom. We no doubt recovered after several years and hit new highs. My point is that right now I am only seeing people talk about how this will last for just a few months and we will hit highs next year. I always think back to the financial crisis. I could very well be wrong, but more often than not it is human nature to be in denial for awhile and then quickly panic. If you have ever lost a loved one, the first emotio that happens is denial, only after some time do you accept whats happened and experience a long slew of pain.


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Mar 20, 2020 - 5:34pm

I don't necessarily disagree with this assessment. However, it is important to note that the 2008 crash was a pure financial crisis driven by the collapse in credit. This is the local and state governments voluntarily shutting down commercial activity and taking us from a very strong economy to verge of Great Depression level numbers, all in response to "scary" models and forecasts relying on questionable assumptions.

Mar 20, 2020 - 5:45pm


This is the local and state governments voluntarily shutting down commercial activity and taking us from a very strong economy to verge of Great Depression level numbers,

While US GDP has been reasonably good, it was not very strong in 2019, unless you consider 2% growth to be strong. Growth accelerated in 2018 thanks to a boost from a tax cut focused on small businesses, large corporations and high income earners. The tax cut probably lead to the terrific stock market performance we saw in 2019, which drove valuations up to bubblish territory.
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Mar 21, 2020 - 4:06am

That is a great observation, thanks.

I think there are people hoping for a v-shaped recovery again this time around. I don't know if that will happen. But I do know that if you believe a given company is now deeply undervalued on a long-term basis, it feels too risky to wait for the perfect time to buy in. There are a few companies I was looking closely at before this crash. Now they've fallen and look like great opportunities. But the age-old question is do I wait for them to fall more, If I believe in v-shaped recovery, the answer is no. If I don't . . well then maybe they'll fall more, but my conviction is in the value of the company rather than the direction of recovery so it feels too risky to wait.

Mar 20, 2020 - 1:35pm

Considering that nobody knows why the death rate is almost 9% for Italy and 0.3 for Germany and why in the former the strictest quarantine seem to have no real effect on containment, I'd wait to make any prediction. You could end up like Germany or not.

Can be summoned to make fun of liberals at will. 

Mar 20, 2020 - 1:56pm

Median age of people dying in Italy is over 80 years old. Italian youth live with their elderly families. They didn't take it seriously until much later. Germans are much more disciplined (see: Japanese, Koreans)

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
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Mar 20, 2020 - 2:07pm

Germany is actually one of the few countries whose median age is higher than Italy's, so nope.
Their contagion numbers are around 18k vs less than 1k of Japan, so they aren't exactly more disciplined at containing contagion either. They took precautionary measures after Italy too.

The only thing we might know is that in Italy it spread primarily because of the high Chinese presence in Lombardy, many of whom had travelled back and forth to China in January and due to being young, they were asymptomatic carriers.

Can be summoned to make fun of liberals at will. 

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Mar 20, 2020 - 1:42pm

Echoing that we have absolutely no idea yet if it is an undershoot, overshoot, accurate-shoot, etc.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

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Mar 21, 2020 - 4:10am

Agreed and I'm mostly just here to share info. Admittedly, I sprinkle in some opinion. But my daily uptake of info is pretty neutral and I found it interesting in that in the last 2-3 days, there's been a noticeable change in the tone. Today I got two more "this isn't looking so bad" takes and I'll be sharing those in a new comment below.

Mar 20, 2020 - 2:30pm

Also doesn't help that any dingdong can hold a role as an "investigative reporter" or have access to a blog. Was bored and read a Vice article (sue me) and the amount of misinformed fearmongering was top notch. Claimed navy ships were being dispatched to accommodate overflow of infected patients (nope), quoted fucking Buzzfeed about Memorial Sloan Kettering (a cancer hospital, not one directly involved in the care of managing COVID cases) not having enough masks, and reads like a third grader's book report. But think of all the losers oohing and aahing at this shit while they're lined up at Trader Joe's

Mar 20, 2020 - 3:07pm

From CNN: "The Pentagon is preparing to send a US Navy hospital ship to Seattle and deploy two Army hospital units to separate locations in an effort to assist the US medical response to the novel coronavirus."

Mar 20, 2020 - 3:36pm

those ships (I believe we have two) are specifically staffed, equipped, and held in reserve for situations like this. not saying that corona isn't a big deal, just saying that citing the ships to build the frenzy is a gross misunderstanding of their purpose. look up USNS mercy- it's been deployed pretty frequently for disaster

Mar 20, 2020 - 2:50pm

There is not too much to be gained by comparing the market w/ similar market crashes because no serious market failure in the past 100 years was caused by an illness, nor has an illness caused such a dramatic pullback (granted, the Spanish Flu in 50s did cause ~30% pullback). So the first assertion is that we are in uncharted territory.

W.r.t. medical side of things, tough to decide which professional will be correct because from what I've seen, recommendations have ranged all over the map. Particularly considering that the first case(s) in China were in Dec/Jan, I don't fully believe that any "professional" has a good grasp of the spread, or they just want to paint a rosy picture. Unprecedented is a grandiose word, but it has some merits in this situation. This is a genuine global issue, not caused by our ineptitude, which was present in 89 crash, 01 bubble, or 08 RE crisis. Basically, I believe few people can talk appropriately with expertise on the virus, because it is just a new type of thing. Second assertion: almost no one knows wtf is really happening.

That being said, the people I would listen to are folks on the frontlines. In WWI military leaders thought they'd be home by Christmas (hyperbole but you get the idea). Soldiers in the trenches felt otherwise. A good friend of mine is an anaesthesiologist (sp?) and he told me they're getting absolutely slammed at the moment. Their internal predictions are that the peak will be in 8-10 weeks (end of June roughly). Is he correct? Who tf knows. But I'll trust his opinion over a Nassim Taleb whitepaper you nonce

tldr: long puts, short calls

Mar 20, 2020 - 3:38pm

This is an interesting comment but I would not compare this to a war... wars can drag on for years and years, sometimes after a clear loser has emerged.

One thing we know about this pandemic is that it will almost certainly end in the next 18 months or so. The consequences may suck but at some point we either contain it, treat it, vaccinate it, or see it infect the majority of the country/world.

This could of course come over multiple waves, but there is a timeline for resolution, unlike a war or great depression.

Mar 20, 2020 - 4:34pm

I think your points are valid, and what I keep going back to is the fact that while China (at least part of China) went into total lockdown, they are pretty much past the worst of the virus and actually had no new cases in Wuhan yesterday. In fact, they had ZERO locally transmitted cases for the second day in a row today; all their new cases were from travelers returning. We gave China a lot of flak earlier in this process but they basically have it all contained and the total number of deaths in China is a a little over 3,000.

If this thing really will end up killing 500k to 1mm Americans (as some are projecting), how come it didn't kill nearly 1% of that number in China, a country that has higher population density and, some would argue, a less robust healthcare system. Something is missing in the equation.

Sure, if we went about our normal business it would probably spread like wildfire and take many lives, but we're taking relatively similar precautions to China and I feel very optimistic the total # of deaths won't be much more than 5,000.

Point of all this to say, the disease won't be too bad because we're doing what we need to do as a country. Sure, it'll wreck the economy in the near-term (Goldman just said GDP growth in Q2 will be -24% q/q annualized) but we'll control the disease and it ultimately won't claim that many lives (again, I point to China, where they are past the worst of it and it only took 3,100 people thus far).

Mar 20, 2020 - 6:41pm

It's because China, SK, et al imposed draconian public health measures. In China and Korea, you need to scan a QR code whenever you get on a train to let the government know which train car you were in, so if you test positive they can force every single other person on that train car during that time to also self-quarantine. In South Korea, all positive cases of COVID-19 are logged and recorded on a publicly available app that live-tracks all positive cases on a GPS. In both countries employers are required to take the temperature of all employees every hour and report that to the central government. You think Americans are going to do any of these things?

57 Americans died yesterday, vs 11 dying just 4 days ago. The exponential growth is already starting to spiral out of control, and these new quarantine rules came into effect far too late.…

Mar 21, 2020 - 12:34pm

Oh he's a guy who's on TV a lot, I guess his opinion is invalid. OK.

As for being unable to tell anything yet, speak for yourself. Some people like to dig through lots of information to get ahead of things. Others prefer to wait for the "all clear" signal so they know its safe to think again. We're all different.

Mar 21, 2020 - 4:23am

Thanks to everyone for the comments and discussion. I've enjoyed hearing your thoughts.

In a continuation of the trend mentioned in my original post, I wanted to share two more takes that popped into my feed today:

  1. Scott Gottlieb (former FDA commish and maybe the leading voice after Fauci) has been on CNBC almost every day for 6 weeks, and I feel his tone was very different today. For the first time, he mentioned "taking our foot off the gas pedal" and taking a more subdued approach to social distancing. In isolation, I wouldn't read so much into his tone. But as part of a trend, it supports that tren.

  1. Dr. Joel Zinburg explains that while China and South Korea did do some aggressive mitigation, they probably didn't do enough to explain such a steep decline in their cases and deaths. His final conclusion: "When the dust settles, it may appear that this was an enormous overreaction, or that the measures taken were entirely appropriate, and perhaps even inadequate. I lean toward the former."…

To be clear, I'm not presenting these to support an opinion about the virus. My opinion is is about the the news trend. There has been a sharp turn in opinion in the last 3 days (2 days at the time of my first post and now 3 total).

Mar 21, 2020 - 6:24am

I believe that the decision of our local and state leaders to shut down commercial activity and risk plunging us into a great depression, will be studied by future generations as one of the most catastrophic policy errors in American history. The mistakes are many and include the following: 1) using Italy and Iran as baselines for forecasting outcomes in the U.S., 2) assuming viral toxicity stays constant as it spreads throughout the population, 3) using models that forecast outcomes assuming we do NOTHING, 4) not doing proper cost-benefit analysis of deaths/ICU visits vs. the economic damage we are willing to tolerate, 5) not using quantitative metrics to determine when we will re-open, resulting in vague promises such as "we will see how things are in a few weeks" (reminds me of our leaders telling us that Iraq War will be short).

Mar 21, 2020 - 7:48am

Unfortunately the state and local actions are likely to be reviewed as justified. We are near the bottom of the list when it comes to testing. So it's likely that we'll uncover exponentially more cases as testing is expanded. Our trend looks like Italy or worse. We have shortages in PPE, ventilators, and hospital beds. The federal government has utterly failed us. State and local officials have little choice but to shut things down in these hot spots.

Mar 21, 2020 - 2:21pm

Dr. Rahma Dikhinmahas:

It's an order of magnitude issue. Someone who predicts 500 deaths is still right if we get 2,000 because the baseline is 500k-1m deaths. Think logarithmically not linearly

This isn't The Price Is Right and there is no baseline. If you predict 500, and it eclipses that 4x, 40x, 400x, or 4000x, you're still wrong.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

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Mar 21, 2020 - 3:50pm

IMO that argument fails miserably when you put it in the context of the measures that are currently being taken. If, in fact, we have a total of 5,000 deaths, it doesn't really say much about the argument of 500 deaths because it happened in the context of countries expecting 500k. So the measures to contain it would be much stronger.

If we were to go with the 500 prediction from the start, we might as well call this a bad cough and go keep on with our daily lives.

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Mar 21, 2020 - 5:48pm

Not downplaying the severity of this if people don't take it seriously, 2016 54K people in Italy died from the flu, a 9.1% higher mortality rate than ever before, and nobody cared.

Mar 21, 2020 - 6:02pm

Impossible to tell what the final death toll will be - we simply don't have enough data and don't understand the virus enough to make an accurate prediction. Close relatives are medical professionals dealing with victims now, and they said its really hard to predict effects because the virus is very bifurcated: victims are either very seriously affected or not at all, and it's very hard to tease out the reason. We just need more data before we can make any sort of intelligent prediction.

Agree with above poster though: what we do know is that if you get corona and you're 80+ years old ... things aren't looking great. Wish we had the fortitude as a country to face facts and triage patients as necessary to help the country as a whole. That's the brutal reality of this, and I feel that everyone right now wants to cry panic but fails to propose/adopt any rational solutions that will actually help.

Lastly (in my fact-less stream of consciousness) I fear that social distancing will only have the effect of hurting the economy and other 3rd and 4th order effects (e.g. - increased suicide rates, increased death rates due to people fearful of going to ER when they have a rational reason to do so, etc.)with reduced effectiveness on "flattening the curve" because we as Americans are HORRIBLY undisciplined and mentally weak. We all still need our uber eats and endless supply of prescription meds, and for most Americans, the second we have a slight cough we will run out in public to get tested (thereby exposing yourself) instead of waiting to observe if the symptoms progress.

Mar 21, 2020 - 7:44pm

Two more came across today.

  1. Univ of Pittsburgh Medical Center is refusing to cancel elective surgeries, despite an order from their governor to do so. The reason? Their research suggests that not enough people have the virus to worry about. I'm not endorsing that view, just reporting on the growing trend of developments like this.…

  1. Detailed post on medium that surveys a lot of the data to date, and concludes that the hysteria was unwarranted. I look forward to all of y'all explaining how this guy's opinion is garbage because he's not an epidemiologist; I ask that if you think something is wrong, explain what it is instead of just being lazy and dismissive like you've all mostly been so far.…

Mar 23, 2020 - 11:08am

I read through this whole shitty forum hoping to see this article posted.

  1. The per capita argument is off. US cases multiplied tenfold last week. New York tripled in two days. The per capita argument could also be used to argue that there's more room for the virus to grow and the bell curve just takes longer to peak.

  2. He mentioned the SIZE of the bubbles on the map is SCARY!? Come on, people are looking at the numbers and the bubbles are just representative of case number in comparison to other countries.

  3. The bell curve arguments are valid, but how can he say that we've peaked? Cases are still growing exponentially. Also, he did not consider that a resurgence is possible when the lockdown is taken off.

  4. Exposure to contraction rate is an interesting point. 1-5% seems valid. That said, when symptoms don't show fo r5 days on average, you could easily come in contract with 100 people, spreading to 1-5 people, not factoring the half life that is stays on surfaces for several days.

  5. The argument that it will die down in the summer is disputable. Michael Osterholm from uni of Minnesota believes heat has minimal impact on the spread of the disease.

  6. He said that 1.1% of Iceland's infections tested positive without traveling, showing symptoms, or coming in contact with someome who tested positive... and that's encouraging somehow? I must have missed the point there.

  7. His "reasonable estimates' of a death rate of up to 1% don't make sense becuase there are still so many active cases. We have no idea what the death rate is yet.

  8. I only skimmed the part about everything going oo far becuase I largely disagree with the premise leading up to it. He speaks about flattening the curve then argues to open schools and public places.

Unrelated to this article, the arguments against Dr Drew are invalid. True, he's definitely not an expert, but argue against his claims, not his credentials. That's an argument from a position of authority. I see where everyone is coming from saying they don't trust him, but that doesn't mean he's wrong, it just means he's more likely to be wrong.

Don't @ me
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Mar 23, 2020 - 2:35pm

Good comments, thank you. Two I would respond to:

  1. Saw Osterholm's interview with Rogan where he said heat may have minimal impact. More recent studies/analysis have come out saying that the heat is very likely to slow it down. Here's one:…

  2. As for death rates I feel there's a pretty big pile of circumstantial evidence showing that less than 1% of infected will die. Korea has been the only country with broad testing for a while, and their death rate is under 1%. Other countries have only tested the sickest, so their rate is bound to be way off. Even Korea most likely has some heavy skew toward sicker (i.e. the lightest infections won't test). Furthermore there have been several epidemiologists who have ballparked it between 0.1% and 1%. Wish I had time to dig through my Twitter and find them, but scout's honor that I've heard 3-4 different times in the last week that XYZ expert is in that range. None of these are definitive proof, but I don't feel these kinds of extrapolations should be ignored.

Mar 27, 2020 - 4:41pm

They're entitled to their opinion. I don't think it was a wise one. I gave the post a full read when it came out, as did many others. Initial reaction to the post was generally very positive.
After some time, some folks with their own agenda decided to launch some attacks on it. I found those attacks to be petty and weak, personlly. Medium sided with those folks I guess, but doesn't mean there weren't a lot of people on the same side as me who found it valid.

Frankly, I think the whole effort to regulate truth on social media and sites like Medium is total nonsense and driven by people who want to shut down the open exchange of ideas and don't fully grasp the concept of freedom.

One of the best ways to know somebody is wrong about something, is to observe that they appeal to authorities to shut down the opposing side. If they had useful points to make, their points would stand on their own two feet.

  • Research Associate in HF - Event
Mar 22, 2020 - 1:47am

dr. dickinmyass should go back to his freshman zoom class instead of relentless trolling. this guy is a non-stop shit spewer.

Mar 23, 2020 - 2:39pm

I'm really not sure why you'd feel that way. People can disagree. Lots of people disagree with me here. Most of them civilly, some uncivilly. But I don't really get the idea that I'm trolling or spewing shit or whatever. Just putting some info and ideas to a forum of smart people to see what they think. Gotta be here for more than just providing career advice . . I do that on here too, but I couldn't be here if that was the only thing I did.

Mar 22, 2020 - 11:51pm

Over 400 now.

What would Dr. Drew do?!

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Mar 22, 2020 - 1:25am

As of now the virus has killed 348 people out of of about 26,000 in the US. That's about a 1.3% mortality rate. Let's be conservative and assume there are a bunch of asymptomatic people infecting others and let's say the virus actually has a 0.2% mortality rate. If it rips through the entire US population that's 660,000 people dead. That's with no containment.

With social distancing, the virus could still infect 10-20% or more of the US population. You're looking at potentially 65k-130k+ people dead assuming no vaccine/no drugs are found to work. I don't think we've overreacted.

Mar 22, 2020 - 9:35pm

Sure but the interesting question to me is how many of those would have died of flu, or something else, anyway? When we get some figures on Q1 2020 vs Q1 2019 and previous and see how many sigmas from the mean we are now, I'll be more assured.

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Mar 23, 2020 - 4:55am

Fidel Cash Flow:

Sure but the interesting question to me is how many of those would have died of flu, or something else, anyway? When we get some figures on Q1 2020 vs Q1 2019 and previous and see how many sigmas from the mean we are now, I'll be more assured.

You are comparing the flu and Covid-19 in separate vacuums like they do not exist together.

Regardless, this disease is requiring hospitalizing at a much higher rate and is novel to our environment on top of the flu and other diseases. Simply put, it has the ability to extend past our current healthcare capacity if nothing is done to prevent it.

Look at what's happening in Italy. Nurses and doctors are dying and there are not enough people nor equipment to take care of Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients. Moreover, there are reports that hospitals are only treating patients who have a likely chance of surviving.

This is not trivial.

Mar 23, 2020 - 11:00am

All I see is yet another government official spouting bullshit conspiracy theories.

Just like some of ours claim this is some Chinese bioweapon, now some of theirs claim it's the fault of America.

Neither are worth the time of day.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

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Mar 23, 2020 - 11:04am

With the notable difference that the Chinese govt has a responsibility for creating this mess. It's utterly repulsive that they are trying to blame anyone else.

Global Times (which is the English mouthpiece of the Chinese govt) is also spreading conspiracy theories that the whole thing started in Italy.

Now we can thank retards like Lawrence H. Summers who called Luddites those who objected shifting manufacturing jobs to China. We are being blackmailed by a government of communist bio-terrorists. This is why Trump is needed. If anything, we need someone willing to pile up Iran-style sanctions on China.

Can be summoned to make fun of liberals at will. 

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Mar 23, 2020 - 11:05am

I think the most truthful answer is: none of us have a fucking clue. We can guess and those who guess right will say, "See I've known all along" and those who guess wrong will see, "See I would've been right except for X, Y, and Z changing!"

My fiancée asks me when I think she will be able to go back to work (she works in fashion at a major company, their corporate offices are closed and her entire department, a subset of marketing, is furloughed until further notice), our wedding got postponed indefinitely, life isn't great right now. It's hard to tell her that I simply don't know. I can make educated guesses but they are just guesses. I read a lot and the more I read, the more confused I get. All of this negates each other. Some people say it'll pass when summer hits. Some people say weather doesn't do shit and this is here for 18 months. Who knows?

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” - Nassim Taleb
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Mar 23, 2020 - 11:08am

Malta Monkey:

our wedding got postponed indefinitely,

Same ship. Cheers!

Can be summoned to make fun of liberals at will. 

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Mar 23, 2020 - 11:36am

I keep trying to remind myself of this

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” - Nassim Taleb
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Mar 23, 2020 - 2:34pm

CRE can we at least agree that citing Dr. Drew (a board certified Internist, actively practicing physician, Member of the American Board of Adiction Medicine, Member of the American Board of Internal Medicine, and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians) is better than citing Dr. Phil (who doesn't have a license, I might add). Also, I'd be more impressed if Dr. Oz was cited. Not that I like the whole TV Show/Oprah/Media Personality, but the guy is a brilliant Cardiothoracic Surgeon. Besides his own entremprenurial endeavors (he created the Mitraclip which is a standard now for cardiovascular valve repair), and board memberships, he's a professor at Columbia Medical, runs the Cardiovascular Institute at NY Presbetarian, and still treats patients. Plus, he's still publishing research. If Oz is discussing this, I might be more inclined to listen.

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Mar 24, 2020 - 7:43am

I dunno about that one. I think you missed the tongue and cheek comparison to Dr. Phil. Since it's pretty clear that I need to explain it, Dr. Phil was a licensed Psychologist in Texas and gave up his license in 2006, I believe. When he had his show, which shot in LA, he was practicing without a CA issued license. Not only that, would you trust a psychologist to discuss Infectious Disease like this? I seriously doubt it. Which means, I think you also missed the point that not all medical specialties are created equally. I won't go to an Endocrinologist to deal with Orthopedic problems. Why would I go to an Addiction Specialist to discuss Infectious Disease problems. No one here is discrediting Dr. Drew over being a board certified Internist. What I'm saying, at least, is that if you are going to quote a doctor, relevant specialty matters greatly.

That said, It's already repeatedly been said that we are questioning Dr. Drew over his particular specialty as an addiction specialist. No one, myself included seeing as I pointed out that he's an active member of the ABIM and FACP, is saying that he isn't qualified as an internist to discuss. We're saying that, given his subspecialty, Dr. Drew's opinion doesn't carry the same weight as an Internist who focuses on something a whole lot closer to the disease, be it Infectious Disease, Cardio/Pulminary Disease, or Auto-Immune Disease. If Dr. Drew specialized something more relevant, it'd be easier to take what he says without a grain of salt. That's why I bring up Dr. Oz - as I said, given his credentials, particularly as a practicing Cardiothoracic surgeon and Former Vice-Chair of the Department of Cariothoracic Surgery at Columbia, his views may carry a bit more weight given that his specialty covers pulimary surgery and the Coronavirus attacks lung function, than Dr. Drew's do as an adiction specialist.

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Mar 25, 2020 - 1:44pm

Update. Two Stanford medical professors writing in the WSJ criticize the consensus epidemiological estimate methodology and ballpark the number of US deaths at 20,000-40,000. Not to trivialize that number of deaths, but a far cry from the 500k-1m that was routinely estimated by epidemiological consensus.…

And to answer the question I know many of you have on your mind, neither of them is named Drew.

Mar 25, 2020 - 1:56pm

Also a far cry from 500, if true

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Mar 25, 2020 - 2:01pm

Nobody predicted 500. One of my sources in the OP (Epstein) threw 500 out as a plausible lowball, and I think I've been consistent throughout the thread in saying that's too low for me and not even Epstein's pick.

I said 5,000 initially and revised upward to 10,000 pretty quickly. I'm still at 10,000.

If I'm at 5k-10k and midpoint of epidemiology consensus is 500k-1m, at what point should I start to feel that I really got it wrong? I'd say 50k is more than fair as an over/under. Not that I was ever here for that game, but since a lot of folks (less civil than you) have been eager to throw it in my face, then I'll throw it out there that its hard to not feel right below 50k.

Mar 26, 2020 - 10:33pm

Seriously. Not to get soulless here, but a lot of those who are passing would have been passing in the near future from natural causes anyway. They would have succumbed to a particularly bad flu season or a case of food poisoning or maybe even a fall on black ice. Just because it was Covid that took them out doesn't mean that the virus will murder any given millennial in their sleep just because they didn't wear an N95 mask out on their Whole Foods oat milk run.

Mar 25, 2020 - 5:57pm

Not sure why people are s***ting on the doc - it's the other side's answer to a question that obviously needs to be asked. There are huge costs associated with this in both directions (human and economic), and there needs to be a balance. To the more general question that we may be overplaying this, I've been skeptical that this seemed more dangerous than the annual flu (let's say is 10x the 500 prediction - are we doing all of this over 5,000 deaths? I understand it could otherwise be much greater, but even that really looks small). The cost will likely be trillions off of our GDP, significant (if hopefully only brief) underemployment, and trillions out of our (already empty) coffers. I am also wary of the precedent that every time there is a recession the federal government needs to spend $1t+. Furthermore, I think it's possible that the combination of the anti-Trump media successfully painted Trump into a corner during an election year where he and governors had to overreact. Hindsight will be 20/20.

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Mar 26, 2020 - 10:33am

One huge reason the economy is tanking is the fear caused by the failure of the WH to address this situation and the subsequent mixed messages. Had our national response been more sufficient this would have been dampened. China economic activity is already recovering. S Korea and Japan have done a good job in managing the pandemic.

Economic activity in the US can't come back until there is a sense that this is being managed. Ask any physician in NYC whether or not the virus is dangerous.

Mar 26, 2020 - 7:19pm

I think you're vastly overestimating what the WH can actually do - it's not like the Don was the one who f***ed up what was apparently a basic test set up in a CDC lab to cost us 3 weeks. China getting back online now is after they shut things down over two months ago, and we're barely weeks into this.

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Mar 26, 2020 - 6:17pm

Commercial Real Estate Developer

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