Equilibrium point of the social evolution under the selective pressure of COVID-19?

post by Yandong Zhang (yandong-zhang) · 2020-04-21T15:06:46.453Z · score: -3 (4 votes) · LW · GW · No comments

This is a question post.


    5 Dagon
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As discussed and analyses in the below posts, "enough people wearing respirators" could be an equilibrium point of the final social evolution under the selective pressure of COVID-19, because people wearing resprator (and gloves) could block the propagating path of the virus and lead to smarespiratorll R0.


anybody provide other candidates of the final equilibrium point?


answer by Dagon · 2020-04-21T15:35:06.493Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Most equilibria aren't "final", though some may last quite awhile. Candidates for some longer-term equilibria (not in desirability nor likelihood order):

  • Innoculation/immunization works well, and infrastructure for frequent updates for variants is solid.
  • Pervasive low-level infection. Most people get it at some point, and get each variant as it shows up. The vast majority survive.
  • Humans become extinct, or fall to such low population and tech levels that the virus dies out.
  • Herd immunity. Enough survivors that it becomes very rare and dies out.

It's not clear that "wearing respirators" is anything but a transition, and an extension of time to minimize the pain while getting to an actual long-term situation.

comment by Yandong Zhang (yandong-zhang) · 2020-04-21T15:48:25.850Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Herd immunity may not be reachable since we did not know how long the immune effects could last for infected people.

comment by Dagon · 2020-04-21T17:07:40.754Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Correct. It's not clear which long-term equilibria are likely. Early evidence of mutations ( https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3080771/coronavirus-mutations-affect-deadliness-strains-chinese-study ) could help or hinder some of these - if mutations are common and large enough to make previous antibodies ineffective, the immunity and immunization ones get tougher. If mutations change the lethality, but not the immune response effectiveness, then the pervasive low-level infection of less-lethal variants become more possible.

I will bet a lot against full-time serious mask (well-fitted N95 or better) use for a majority of people for more than a few months.

comment by Yandong Zhang (yandong-zhang) · 2020-04-21T18:56:11.646Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I understood that there would be strongly against toward serious respirator. A picture of kids wearing scary respirator is kind of unthinkable to me. However, it is the only equilibrium point that I did not see any scientific uncertainties.

Besides the theoretical consideration, in reality, mine workers had used respirators to protect their lung for years.

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