Coronavirus: The Insanity Is Ending

My heresy is beginning to spread. In the New York Times we have Is Our Fight Against Coronavirus Worse Than the Disease? and in the WSJ we see The California and New York orders to stay at home are unsustainable.

More and more voices have realized the call for an indefinite shutdown is a call to self-destruction. Corona got out. It spreads asymptomatically. It is in the third world.

It is here to stay, even if the first world breaks itself trying to control it. 

But all is not lost. We are learning it isn't as dangerous as it first seemed. South Korean testing has shown vast numbers of people with more minor symptoms or none at all. We are learning how to treat it, the serious case rate in South Korea is now 1%. And we are learning how to muster resources for a surge. Conversion of hotels into facilities for the less sick comes to mind.

We are making our way towards a new reality - where people work and live and where corona is added to the list of ailments we battle. Of course, we don't battle it with fixed resources, we battle it with human innovation. For example:

researchers in France treated a small number of patients with both hydroxychloroquine and a Z-Pak, and 100% of them were cured by day six of treatment. Compare that with 57.1% of patients treated with hydroxychloroquine alone, and 12.5% of patients who received neither."

The virus is dangerous. It will strike certain groups like the religious community very very hard (e.g.the Hasidic communities in New York are experiencing high infection rates). But we are learning to moderate our response just as we learn to control it. My hope is that we will get back to life soon. 

Let's lay out a plan: three weeks to get everything we can ready, and then begin to open up.

With three weeks, business and people alike can plan instead of living in the fear of complete and overwhelming uncertainty.

As the mantle has now passed beyond crazy gadflies like me to mainstream voices like the NYT and WSJ, I wanted to take the next step. I wanted to do the first postmortem on the situation - and analyze what we can learn from the early history of corona. Is it too early? Probably, but there are still lessons.

With all that as introduction, here is my latest video. (Watch the rest of this video series here).

Video length: 00:23:34

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Joseph Cox 4 years ago Contributor's comment

I wrote a more generalized article about the the costs of shutdowns on a structural economic level... Y'all will probably enjoy it :)

Harry Goldstein 4 years ago Member's comment

Has your opinion changed at all now that the WHO says immunity is unlikely and even those who have recovered can get COVID-19 again?

Angry Old Lady 4 years ago Member's comment

It's okay, we can drink bleach to protect ourselves from the virus - the president said so himself!

Joseph Cox 4 years ago Contributor's comment

Here, I use fiction to look at what the future might bring...

Mirek Goldberg 4 years ago Member's comment

Why does Joseph Cox think some groups have been hit very hard e.g.the Hasidic communities in New York are experiencing high infection rates? Precisely because they've been ignoring social distancing and other steps to stem the spreading of the infection. So no! The lockdown is paramount to survive this onslaught first! Then will be time to ease the constraints and get the economy going. By rushing it before the safe vaccine we will experience a second wave of asymptomatic infections and a resurgence of the epidemic.

Sandra Sinclaire 4 years ago Member's comment

Well said.

Joseph Cox 4 years ago Contributor's comment

I'm curious whether there could be an hereditary element. There seems to be a font of coronaviruses in Central/Eastern Asia. Do Asians and Steppe people have more inbuilt resistance to them? This would be akin to Africans and malaria. Malaria kills more Africans than anybody else, but they also have the most resistance to it. This might be skewing the data - leading to areas with higher Asian or Steppe representation (think Russia) having a lower death rate due to a sort of in-built herd immunity. It might be one of many factors separating New York and Los Angeles or Taipei and Milan. I am not expert enough to actually opine on this - I can just look at surface level data and wonder.

Sensible Cents 4 years ago Member's comment

Yes, that's true. But I think what he was proposing was now that we've had weeks of social distancing, to end that or at least only keep the most at risk at home. We can't ALL stay at home long term. We'll go crazy and the economy will be irreparably damaged.

Joseph Cox 4 years ago Contributor's comment

There are always risks. We continue to learn from the examples around us. The following is a great tool for seeing this. Compare Sweden (very limited social distancing) with much of Europe or the US:

I live in Israel, but it is far more of a closed system than most.

Mirek Goldberg 4 years ago Member's comment

I live in Sweden and believe you me it's an exercise in futility. People are very disrespectful or oblivious to danger and do not adhere to authorities' recommendations to try and avoid infecting each other. Hence Sweden's unreasonably high figures of deaths per capita on par with Italy compared with neighboring countries with hard enforced restrictions.

Harry Goldstein 4 years ago Member's comment

I was just commenting elsewhere in this thread about Sweden. It's an excellent test case for those who say we need to social distance. But the result is that the death rate there is much higher than its neighboring countries.

Joseph Cox 4 years ago Contributor's comment

It is a marathon, not a sprint. They may be far better off in a year.

Joseph Cox 4 years ago Contributor's comment

For now. The other Nordic countries will need to relax their controls. They won't be able to avoid it. Then what?

Mirek Goldberg 4 years ago Member's comment

Yes, but the other Nordic countries assured the more controllable situation to begin with, avoiding the collapse of medical services. Hence their relaxing will be gradual and optimized for the necessities.

Anne Barry 4 years ago Member's comment

How are things in Sweden now? Have they gotten any better? I feel like social distancing hasn't worked well in the US. At least not in NY.

Adam Reynolds 4 years ago Member's comment

I agree with you Mirek, that too many people are ignoring the call to social distance, stay at home, etc. I'm amazed every time I look out my window and see so many people with out masks. And it some states, they are actually out protesting the stay at home orders. Large groups of people squished together! That's a great way to get infected.

Mirek Goldberg 4 years ago Member's comment

What he was proposing is a risky gamble that may or may not prove successful. Staying home permanently is not necessary if you apply Korean or Hong Kong's approach, i.e. face mask and social distancing as soon as you're in public places, preferably when you leave home. This way economy can be reopened and the spreading of epidemic can be slowed/inhibited simultaneously until the emergence of the safe vaccine.

Joseph Cox 4 years ago Contributor's comment

We have to continually thread the needle - struggling to learn how to open up while maximizing the benefits of social distancing.

Valley Broker 4 years ago Member's comment

You must bolster your immune system to have the resources to fight this war.

StockHound 4 years ago Member's comment

I think the insanity is just beginning :(

Joseph Cox 4 years ago Contributor's comment

@Wendell Brown Could only watch a small part of it, but seems reasonable to me. Sweden is tracking just like other countries (in terms of growth in deaths since reaching 10 deaths/million), with fewer patients in intensive care. Given the consequences of trying to keep everything shut down for months and months, it seems to me the effort to isolate the most vulnerable is a more tenable strategy than the effort to isolate everyone.

I don't know of course. I don't think anybody really knows. My goal was to see contrary voices out there - voices that are influential than my own. This is one of them.

Dick Kaplan 4 years ago Member's comment

Actually Wendell/Joseph, I found a number of inaccuracies in the video. He said things that were plane wrong.

Wendell Brown 4 years ago Member's comment

What's your take on this experts' opinion? Is he right?

Bill Myers 4 years ago Member's comment

Good video.