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How to Think about Coronavirus

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America just held a nationwide IQ test. Did you notice it?

Everyone who has said about coronavirus that, “It’s just the flu,” failed the IQ test. As did those who claim discussing coronavirus is “spreading panic.”

They are engaging in what Scott Adams calls Loserthink. Read his book here.

Low probability of certain death = “Freakout” is Rational.

You will almost certainly not die from the coronavirus.

If the coronavirus contagion and death rates are accurate, between one and three million Americans could die.

When you have a low risk of a pandemic with a death count exceeding the total number of Americans who died in World War II, you take precautions.

Reasonable minds can differ as to what those precautions are.

But if you’re not thinking about coronavirus in terms of fat tail risk, you’re not even allowed to be part of the conversation.

  • “Tail risk is the additional risk of an asset or portfolio of assets moving more than 3 standard deviations from its current price, above the risk of a normal distribution. … Tail risk is sometimes defined less strictly, as merely the risk (or probability) of rare events.”

You will almost certainly not die from the coronavirus. Do you buy some extra food / water?

Your car will almost certainly not be stolen. Do you lock it?

Your house will almost certainly never burn down in a fire. Do you have fire insurance?

Why it’s better to panic early: Nassim Nicholas Taleb & Yaneer Bar-Yam

“But 60,000 people die from the flu each year!”

Yes, and this is terrible.

I had no idea that seasonal flu deaths were that high. Did you? (Don’t lie. I bet you didn’t.)

Rather than use, “but 60,000 die from the flu,” as some sort of repudiation of coronavirus risk, isn’t the answer that we should care more about the flu.

You’re not checkmating anyone with that stat. You sound like an idiot. Or someone who is glib about human death.

If we as a society can prevent more people from dying of the flu, let’s have that conversation.

Math is hard.

Engineer Liz Specht did what engineers do – MATH!

Our hospitals aren’t prepared to handle the number of patients who catch coronavirus.

Read Specht’s entire thread on Twitter.

Here are some highlights:

  • The US has about 2.8 hospital beds per 1000 people. With a population of 330M, this is ~1M beds. At any given time, 65% of those beds are already occupied. That leaves about 330k beds available nationwide (perhaps a bit fewer this time of year with regular flu season, etc). 7/n
  • By this estimate, by about May 8th, all open hospital beds in the US will be filled. (This says nothing, of course, about whether these beds are suitable for isolation of patients with a highly infectious virus.) 9/n
  • Importantly, I cannot stress this enough: even if I’m wrong – even VERY wrong – about core assumptions like % of severe cases or current case #, it only changes the timeline by days or weeks. This is how exponential growth in an immunologically naïve population works. 22/n

Ms. Specht assumes a closed system, so her numbers are likely on the high side.

But she is also creating a starting point of how to think about the coronavirus.

“It’s just the flu, bro,” is f-cking moronic. Shut the f-ck up. You don’t know anything.

Any rational discussion of coronavirus looks at the worst-case numbers / secondary effects of millions of sick Americans.

And then you start using an OODA loop / find ways to open the system.

1. Observation. How many cases of coronavirus are there? Where are these cases originating? Who Is getting sick? How many are dying?

2. Orientation. Are the number of cases of coronavirus increasing? Then what? Are they increasing? Now what?

3. Decision making. Make a rational decision based on what you’re observation and how you’re orientating yourself based on these observations.

4. Action. This is where leadership matters.

Solutions to a Coronavirus Crisis.

We need “right to try” laws.

We need virtual doctor visits.

We need some form of “doctors lite.”

You don’t need an MD and $500,000 in medical school debt along with 4 years of a residency to treat patients with coronavirus.

We need vision and leadership.

https://twitter.com/ScottAdamsSays/status/1236373223828148224

If your contribution to the coronavirus discussion is some form of “It’s only flu,” please go away. You’re not helping.

Let the adults figure out what to do next.

And please don’t rely on media outlets to understand the math.

 

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Culture

Is “Kung Flu” the latest Media Hoax?

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Several White House reporters confronted Trump regarding his decision to call the coronavirus (or COVID-19) the China Virus.  One reporter asked him about a White House administration official who is alleged to have called the coronavirus Kung Flu.

When the reporter was asked the name of the official, the reporter said she didn’t know.

The original claim regarding Kung Flu comes from CBS reporter Weijia Jiang. On March 17th, she Tweeted:

This morning a White House official referred to #Coronavirus as the “Kung-Flu” to my face. Makes me wonder what they’re calling it behind my back.

Ms. Jiang has not identified the official.

One reason could be because this official does not even exist.

Under American defamation law, you can lie all you like.

You can’t lie about a person by name.

If no White House official called the coronavirus Kung Flu, or if there is some important context missing, then Jiang could be sued.

You can watch the Kung Flu exchange in this video here:

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The Stafford Act Text Message Announcing an Emergency Quarantine is a Hoax

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By now you or someone you know has received a hoax text announcing martial law. With some minor variations, the texts all read the same:

  • In 48 to 72 hours the president will evoke what is called the Stafford act. Just got off the phone with some of my military friends in DC who just got out of a two hour briefing. The president will order a two week mandatory quarantine for the nation. Stock up on whatever you guys need to make sure you have a two week supply of everything. Please forward.

 

The National Security Council issued a rare public statement warning the public that the Stafford act text was a hoax.

How can you tell the Stafford Act Text is a Hoax?

Even if you refuse to accept the NSC’s word on the matter, the text message has some telltale signs of a hoax.

First, the text promises secret insider knowledge. “Just got off the phone with some of my military friends in DC who just got out of a two hour briefing.” This is a vague enough proclamation that it sounds plausible.

Second, no specifics of these friends are given. Who are these friends? Why did they call this specific person?

Third, the hoaxers ask you to spread the message. Why would anyone acting in good faith want to incite a panic?

If an emergency quarantine were able to be declared, the plan would be Top Secret. No one’s friends would just get out of a briefing and start alerting people. THEY WOULD GO TO PRISON FOR LEAKING CLASSIFIED INFORMATION.

If such an emergency plan were in the works and higher command wanted the story to get out, they’d leak it to a credible outlet. Not share chain-letter style text messages.

There’s also tradecraft involved in sharing classified information.

None of the telltale signs (and no I won’t share how to leak classified secrets here) were present in that alert.

UPDATE: Other outlets are now reporting that the Stafford Act text is a foreign disinformation campaign:

The Trump administration is alleging that a foreign disinformation campaign is underway aimed at spreading fear in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic, three U.S. officials said Monday. On Sunday, federal officials began confronting what they said was a deliberate effort by a foreign entity to sow fears of a nationwide quarantine amid the virus outbreak.

Agencies took coordinated action Sunday evening to deny that any such plans were put in place, as they tried to calm a nation already on edge by disruptions to daily life caused by the virus.

 

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Read More about Mike Cernovich here.

Who is Mike Cernovich?

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Culture

How Trump Drafted Google into the War Against Coronavirus

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Elvis Presley served in the Army after he was drafted, and in American history it was common for celebrities to serve their country during times of national crisis. Noblesse oblige, or the duty the noble and rich owed to society, arouse perhaps out of morality or maybe simple self-preservation. If you’re getting while the getting is good, giving something back goes a long way to avoid class resentment.

Those thoughts were perhaps on Trump’s mind (or more likely his instinct) when he announced that Google was taking massive action to help America fight the coronavirus.

Google at first pushed back at the suggestion that it, a nearly trillion dollar mega-corporation, actually doing something to help the users it profits from.

Why should Google help save lives? Why should Google do anything other than operate as an amoral, blood-sucking corporation that violates user privacy and exploits children?

The media bros were quick to rush to save Google. Poor Google! They were being bullied by the ORANGE MAN BAD.

Google’s media errand boys like Jake Tapper and others were quick to publish stories attacking Trump for suggesting that Google actually do something.

Some like your humble correspondent Mike Cernovich saw right away was Trump was doing.

Trump was drafting Google into the war against coronavirus.

Google, whatever its motivations, answered the draft.

Public pressure must intensify.

The corporations make billions of dollars a day by spying on users.

The least they can do is use that data to find out where coronavirus hot spots are, share that information with the CDC, and get information shared with the sick.

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Arizona State University March 4th

Mike Cernovich will be speaking at Arizona State University on March 4, 2020. This event is open to the public....

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