Tuesday, April 07, 2020

I'm telling you what they can't.


We are likely 4 weeks from a plateau.

I am not an epidemiologist, unlike everyone else on earth right now apparently (said in the most sarcastic way) nor do I play one anywhere - I can only tell you what I have observed from other countries. And I feel there are starting to be some troubling misconceptions.

Wuhan was shut for 77+ days. New York has only been shut down three weeks. Everyone keeps talking about how we are bending the curve. But as you can see the projected curve and the REAL curve have very different shapes. The projected curve is like a roller coaster. Up, then straight down. While as you can see from the chart above - the real curve is more like the curve of a rainbow.

The brown box on the chart is when the whole country of Italy went into lockdown. But the pink arrow is when they started shutting cities down. 10 cities were locked down on 2/22/2020. We are far from saying there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The other thing that is being passed around is that if you get the virus you have some sort of immunity. Which is wrong. There have been people saying there might be some limited immunity, but no one knows if that is true yet. To the contrary it has been known for many weeks that a certain amount of "recovered" positives can relapse. I think the number was 13 or 14%. We know this to be true because South Korea keeps reporting this.

Personally it's been confusing how, despite being under lockdown, cases can still increase in the way they do. But I heard a rumor this morning that in Iceland (I think) 43% of asymptomatic cases eventually turned into symptomatic cases. I don't have any verifiable data so this is just a rumor for right now. So maybe if you are a non symptomatic case quarantined with others and you have a 17 day incubation period - maybe you can have a couple of generations of people not having symptoms before the third person becomes symptomatic. If makes any sense.

It's just unusual that these countries keep accumulating so many cases after some pretty severe lockdowns.


  1. I saw a picture that claimed to be a subway car in NYC for last Friday, standing room only. It was the internet so I've no idea if it's accurate or not.

    I think that being on "lock down" does not necessarily mean it is...

  2. My estimation is that the image is real. I don't know if it's possible in any way to get the kind of lockdown needed. I mean, if just putting on a mask and washing your hands was enough - don't people think that China would have thought of that? Instead they blocked roads and welded people into apartment buildings. I don't think all of that has to do with them just being authoritarian.

    I frankly get both sides of the argument. The only way to get people to voluntarily comply is for people to die in their towns. So what is the right answer? Turns out for me - I'm less nihilist than I thought I was. So I'm pretty much complying. That is the thought process everyone else has to go through. I completely understand restricting people is a slipplery slope. So it would be super nice if people complied on their own.

  3. I just now read a story on after you die...

    I think there are a certain percentage of people that are going to do what they want, regardless of what I (or anyone) thinks. Just like there is a percentage of people who live the outlaw life, it's who they are.

  4. A local to me news station just released a report from a local university stating that in order to keep the local to me hospitals from being overwhelmed we need to self isolate harder through the fall at least.

    I rolled my eyes, the only way thats happening is if the .GOV starts enforcing the lockdown hard. The timeline doesn't surprise me, and I fully expect that at whatever point lockdown is released there's going to be another spike in cases. But people are already giving up on lockdown, there's no way its going to last all summer.

  5. Sometimes I don't even know what to say....

  6. Capital of Texas RefugeeWednesday, April 08, 2020 6:50:00 PM

    Every day that people are kept in lockdowns that appear to be doing little to nothing is a day closer to Boogaloo O'Clock.

    The flip side of what leaperman's said, however, is that the rise of the Hungry Beast gives way to the hunters of the beast's armies.

    China's now letting people out of Wuhan, BTW ...



  7. Capital of Texas RefugeeThursday, April 09, 2020 4:26:00 AM

    What they also can't tell you is that the purpose of the lockdowns isn't necessarily to prevent the spread of the virus, because if that worked, it wouldn't have spread as far and as wide with as many genetic variants (at least eight now) as it has up to now ...

    So for those purposes, the lockdowns are useless over the long haul.

    What the lockdowns are doing is preventing what may otherwise be an inevitable crisis of faith and confidence in public medical systems as well as government.

    It's not about saving you, it's about saving Kaiser Permanente and BCBS and a whole bunch of HMO companies, and it's about saving the public face of public health, and elsewhere it's about saving socialized medicine, the NHS, and so on, but most importantly to them it's about saving the asses of government bureaucrats and politicians.

    The message for Americans: even overpriced medicine can't really save you when your number is up, and despite all of the well-intended rhetoric, you don't really know when your number is up.

    The message for older Americans: the younger generations want to kill you off, because you're probably in the way for them to come into power at a younger age, and so all of that bullshit about "social security" and "retirement" and so forth is just meant to lower your resistance. (So you'd be a fool to want to "retire" in America and to draw down on your "social security" anyway.)

    But what the lockdowns are doing as a perverse result is that they're also undermining faith and confidence in other public systems as well as the government.

    Parents are finally seeing the downright stupid shit in the homework that their kids do, because now they have to see all of that stuff because the school room is in their own home.

    People are seeing the waste of money and the roadblocks to getting things done that the FDA, the CDC, the IRS, and so forth now represent.

    Government is increasingly being looked at as a very stupid product a lot of people are paying too much for, and yet despite that there are people who want it to get bigger and to do more stuff, especially when it comes to Free Shit Armies wanting more Free Shit.

    Want to know why we don't have as much inventory in the US as we should for a lot of stuff?

    The Supreme Court's Greatest Hits from the Jimmy Carter era include one case that fucked up everything, and neither Congress nor the President have lifted even one finger to unfuck this mess.

    Thor Power Tool Company v. Commissioner, 439 U.S. 522 (1979), that's where it went wrong.

    That's also why a lot of companies don't maintain inventory in the US at all.

    We didn't and we still don't, but we're also no longer treating China like it's going to act like a helpful supply chain pump for a smooth product flow.

    The main reason that American software and other digital goods are such a strong part of the American economy is because they can now be distributed online, and so there's no longer a need to eliminate slow-selling stock because it can't be written down according to IRS rules.

    Everything that you want right now that's out of stock? Yeah, this, almost entirely this, in fact.

    Until this changes, a lot of business leaders see no reason to repatriate capital, even with Trump's sweetheart deal, because repatriating capital may come with inventory liabilities. (And to be honest, the American tax code is bizarre, arcane, and Mandarin in the sense of being overly complex and administered by professional tea leaf readers.)

    So if you want some people in the American government to blame for why things are so especially fucked up with consumer supply chains, put the IRS at the top of the list, even before the FDA and the CDC.

  8. I don't have a link, but per discussion on a Home Depot (unofficial) Facebook page: Nevada is forcing a shut down of kitchen/appliance showrooms. Appliances can still be purchased as long as delivery is an option, but the showrooms are closed due to the numbers of people wandering through in large groups and handling the displays.

  9. Who is buying appliances right now! I mean I get it if one breaks down, but who is ~that~ economically immune right now. I think this hit everyone. Including the rich. Some guy in Manhattan took his super car drunk driving!

    When I read the story I was like - that is a super nihilist moment. He probably lost all his money.

    Oh! Maybe they are part of the roving gang of people trying to infect stuff.

  10. Not many are BUYING, but lots of people browsing the showrooms. Which is the problem.

  11. Oh. I was confused because you said "Appliances can still be purchased as long as delivery is an option, ". So I naturally thought people were still buying.

    I bought flooring right before this all happened (that I still have to install). I would have never made that purchase now. Feel the same about appliances.