Draft: Models of Risks of Delivery Under Coronavirus

post by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) · 2020-02-28T04:10:01.310Z · LW · GW · 6 comments

I’ve never considered prophylactically quarantining myself before, but now that I’m considering it I find it contains many more choices than I would have imagined. Let’s take my need to eat- I could go to a supermarket, but that’s full of people. I could get delivery, but that still has a human touch. I could eat my stores, but then I won’t have them later. This makes “when do I stop ordering delivery?” an important question. To attempt a more informed answer, I made a guesstimate model. As of writing this (2/27) the numbers are completely made up: I just wanted to get comments on the underlying model. I’m working to fill in the variables with actual answers. If you want to follow along you can do so at my Roam page. I am exceedingly grateful for comments on either the abstract model or information that could help me fill in variables.

Here are some general factors going into my thinking:

  1. COVID-19 seems to have a long dormant period during which people are contagious but not symptomatic
  2. Some additional portion of people have only mild symptoms
  3. The economics of pink-collar work are such that a lot of people will go to work until they are on death’s door.
  4. 1+2+3 = if the virus is prevalent in the population, there will be a lot of contagious people handling stuff I order.
  5. The American government’s monitoring provides, at best, an extremely lagging indicator of prevalence, and is at worst made up.


Here are images of the model and Roam page now, for posterity

Note that this shows food delivery as less risky than package delivery, which is clearly wrong.




Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Dr_Manhattan · 2020-02-29T21:10:56.109Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Potential method of coping: disinfecting room. Unpack the stuff in protective gear, then after unpacked blast it with UV light?

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2020-02-28T07:34:05.299Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As an aside, you can buy 24 pounds of rice for $12 from Dollar Tree. (This is substantially cheaper than the cheapest rice I could find on Amazon. Long-grain rice is allegedly healthier for you than short-grain as well.) I don't think coronaviruses are supposed to survive well on surfaces, so you could just let it sit for a while, or spray the plastic bags with some kind of disinfectant, rub it around, and let it sit for a while.

Replies from: pktechgirl, petter-wingren
comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) · 2020-02-28T18:51:22.636Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Advice on where to purchase rice cheaply is off-topic. I believe there's a tips-n-tricks post coming, can you delete and re-post there?

comment by Petter Wingren (petter-wingren) · 2020-02-28T09:17:09.391Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Outside of living organisms viruses only survive for a few hours. Ordering packaged food and waiting a few hours before handling it should be pretty safe.

Theoretically the virus might survive in animal products like meat for longer time, just go vegetarian if you want to be on the safe side.

If possible ask them to leave the package outside your front door and wait a few hours before you take it in.

Replies from: SoerenMind, pktechgirl
comment by Elizabeth (pktechgirl) · 2020-02-28T18:53:58.052Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Coronavirus appears to be incredibly long-lived on surfaces: https://roamresearch.com/#/app/AcesoUnderGlass/page/-vaRHd8jL