Posts

What marginal returns now? 2020-03-30T23:12:03.853Z · score: 7 (2 votes)
Ideas on estimating personal risk of infection 2020-03-23T16:33:29.442Z · score: 5 (1 votes)
North Korea and COVID-19 2020-03-19T15:51:48.428Z · score: 7 (2 votes)
When will total cases in the EU surpass that of China? 2020-03-17T12:34:32.980Z · score: 7 (2 votes)
What might be learned from the COVID-19 buying patterns? 2020-03-15T02:58:26.078Z · score: 6 (4 votes)
Best time to take supplements? 2020-03-13T15:11:40.293Z · score: 5 (1 votes)
Dealing with the left overs: COVID-19 2020-03-05T14:10:02.299Z · score: 8 (3 votes)
To mask or not mask 2020-03-04T15:55:04.646Z · score: 22 (7 votes)
Did everyone miss the big thing about your phone? 2020-03-04T13:35:15.495Z · score: 22 (8 votes)
Is there a better way to define groups for COVID-19 impact? 2020-03-04T13:24:51.221Z · score: 11 (4 votes)
SARS, MERS and COVID-19 2020-03-01T20:53:06.459Z · score: 7 (3 votes)
Will the current COVID-19 outbreak increase the use of block-chain in supply chain management globally? 2020-02-28T14:53:15.777Z · score: 4 (1 votes)
Literature regarding epidemics and political stability? 2020-02-24T13:21:50.937Z · score: 8 (3 votes)
Making Sense of Coronavirus Stats 2020-02-20T15:12:51.292Z · score: 23 (9 votes)
It "wanted" ... 2020-02-15T20:52:07.094Z · score: 4 (1 votes)
Source of Karma 2020-02-09T14:13:30.650Z · score: 4 (1 votes)
Are the bad epistemic conditions global? 2020-01-25T23:31:21.283Z · score: 18 (4 votes)
AI Alignment, Constraints, Control, Incentives or Partnership? 2019-12-31T13:42:56.471Z · score: 6 (2 votes)
Double Cruz and Verification of Claims 2019-11-21T13:37:57.368Z · score: 6 (2 votes)
Current Law Proposed to allow competition in Social Media 2019-10-23T13:13:32.581Z · score: 2 (3 votes)
Does human choice have to be transitive in order to be rational/consistent? 2019-08-11T01:49:23.967Z · score: 9 (6 votes)
Would refining the question a bit be better in terms of getting to answers? 2019-08-01T16:25:32.549Z · score: 4 (2 votes)
Another case of "common sense" not being common? 2019-07-31T17:15:40.674Z · score: 6 (4 votes)
Learning Over Time for AI and Humans and Rationality 2019-06-13T13:23:58.639Z · score: 5 (2 votes)

Comments

Comment by jmh on Call for volunteers: assessing Kurzweil, 2019 · 2020-04-02T14:54:47.679Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Time I have. Would also be willing to participate.

Comment by jmh on LessWrong Coronavirus Agenda · 2020-04-01T17:57:22.849Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Related to that observation I have wondered, but never posted/asked, if how one gets infected might influence severity as well. If I touch a contaminated surface and then rub my eye or then eat a sandwich without washing my hand is that more likely to end up somewhere other than my upper and lower respiratory systems?

Comment by jmh on Taking Initial Viral Load Seriously · 2020-04-01T17:43:23.983Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I liked a lot of the suggestion and thoughts expresses.

The central issue though is data and I don't quite see a solution offered there other than we should be collecting and studying the larger set of data. But if getting that were simple the question then is why? If it really is "We just haven't thought of doing that in all the madness" should be simple to start moving that forward.

However I suspect that is not the right description of the situation. So perhaps a better starting point here might be to look at where the binding constraints (as John has so often pointed out to us) are and think about how to relax those constraints.

Clearly both activities, just recording and providing the additional information or identifying existing constraints limiting that effort, will include opportunity costs. But the opportunity costs for generating the data within the existing constraints versus identifying binding constraints that would allow the data to be more easily generated will likely be quite different. As such the relative payoff will be different with regard to the increased data I would think.

Comment by jmh on Taking Initial Viral Load Seriously · 2020-04-01T17:23:41.235Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Wouldn't the entry means it self function a bit like a control on the viral load?

However, that point is clearly something that should matter to the larger point I think is being made.

Comment by jmh on How will this recession differ from the last two? · 2020-04-01T14:50:39.013Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Was not aware of that but had not been seeing any predictions on Q1 estimates or revisions in the news sources I typically read. It will be interesting to see how good an estimate that turns into.

I do think March will be an interesting month for the data. I wonder if the pulling forward demand due to stock piling by so many might not end up skewing the aggregate data or show up some compilation anomalies due to this not being a normal patter of consumption.

Comment by jmh on Two Alternatives to Logical Counterfactuals · 2020-04-01T14:30:43.140Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This was interesting to read but not entirely sure just what it means to me and thinking anything through.

As I was reading I started to think along the lines of you policy side -- perhaps the question is not about how to twist A code into outputting Y but rather why not just consider the agent runs some other code. (The immediate problem with my thought is that of the infinite regress.) But also when thinking about counterfactuals that is in a sense what I am exploring. But I would express that more as what if action/path Y were taken, where does that lead? Is that a better result? If so then the response is about updating some priors related to the input to A or updating A. In this sense the question is not about the logical problems of getting A to output Y when we know it has to output X but about the internal logic and decision making performance of A and if we need to update to A'.

I am also wondering if including the whole free-will aspect add value. If you just took that aspect out what changes for your thinking? Or is the whole question of free-will part of the philosophical question you need to address. If so your post did prompt a thought on my thinking about free-will, particularly in the context of rational mindsets. I don't know if someone has already followed the line of thinking (but would certainly think so) but I don't think free-will can be rationally explored and explained within the confines of pure logical consistency.

Comment by jmh on What happens in a recession anyway? · 2020-03-31T14:00:41.012Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Could you expand on that "end up being very alike" thought.

My initial reaction was very much like Gordon's and suspect the problem might be looking at aggregate level stats that will tend to hide as much of the details as it will shed any light on things.

Comment by jmh on How will this recession differ from the last two? · 2020-03-31T13:40:49.430Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think perhaps one of the directions that line of thought takes us is that in this type of recession the impact is nearly uniform -- none of us are buying handmade cocktails and live music where as in other recessions some of us were not while others were.

The other difference is that many (most) of us could buy/produce those goods and services but are not allowed to. Not sure if that will offer the opportunity for all of us to "walk in the other person's shoes" and so have a bit of a better insight to just what others have experienced in the other recession where we kept our jobs and had the income to live our lives as before. Perhaps producing more social unity over division?

Comment by jmh on How will this recession differ from the last two? · 2020-03-31T13:25:34.370Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think we might want to rephrase things here. We're not currently in a recession by official measures I don't think. Two quarters of negative GDP growth? First quarter will be low but I don't think anyone is saying it will be negative. Second quarter is yet to be seen.

If the stay at home, lots of business shutdown, most factories idled and that runs through June or July we will probably get the official recession. I don't think that will have been caused by any printing of money.

Comment by jmh on How will this recession differ from the last two? · 2020-03-31T13:16:52.494Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think perhaps the best way to contrast the prior recession and the one we will be entering is the difference between the old credit cycle (ABC) theory and real economic shock recessions, as you seem to be doing.

I'm not as convinced the real shock will be the hit to the labor markets or even really a lack of aggregate demand. I suspect the way it will pay out will be closer to the post WWI and then great depression era type shocks. These were huge shocks to the global economic order and supply chain structure of that time. The pandemic is having a similar impact to global economic trade and relations, at a time were pressure on the existing structure was already starting to show where the cracks and fragile points lay.

While clearly Say's Law does apply, and those that lose the market to sell into may lose their ability to express demand for other peoples output -- and that will then cascade. But I would expect the response to that would be reallocation of domestic resources into increasing supplies for those lost imports. Additionally there will likely be more politically and geographically aligned trading blocks. Perhaps the implication there might be some shifting in the margins for where countries or regions are able to define their comparative advantage in trade.

Rebuilding the economic nexus (from any one countries perspective) will take some time. One might also expect that aspects of both economies of scale and perhaps scope will require the notch down in overall productivity/value creation in production due to higher average costs. But over time that will spawn new technology and so may be a wash. (I've been one of those who has not been fully on board with the whole globalization theme as a good plan. It is the easy path forward but is more fragile. A less integrated world economic structure will be more robust in the face of a greater set of shocks. I also think people will find ways to be as efficient as we have been up to now so overall wealth for the world will be close to the same.)

Comment by jmh on "No evidence" as a Valley of Bad Rationality · 2020-03-30T22:45:17.665Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Shouldn't the follow up to no evidence showing that it does any good be "Is there any evidence showing it does harm?"

Have you seen this before? Any thoughts on how it might inform on your examples?

I am not defending the arrogance of some doctors but I do wonder if you are truly giving the doctor in question here a full opportunity and might have biased the discussion by stating things in a way that did not allow a good discussion to ensue but perhaps setup a more adversarial framework.

I wonder how much a believe in the Hippocratic Oath might be at play here.

Comment by jmh on Coronavirus Virology: A Beginner’s Guide · 2020-03-29T13:03:21.459Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks and that was very helpful and a good level for me.

I do have two questions, one just more a curiosity than really important.

I had been thinking that the spike binding with the ACE2 protein on the cell wall was actually the entry path -- perhaps based on a misconception. My (limited) understanding is that the ACE2 protein actually forms a tunnel through the cell bi layer, so serves as a mechanism to allowing both compounds made by the cell's machinery to exit the cell for external functions and/or allow the cell to allow something in it needs.

However, your description seem to be describing a case where the two lipid bi-layers really merge. Is that what is really happening, the virus is not really using the spike to actually puncture the human cell. It really only hooks on to the ACE2 protein and then the two walls, the human cell and the virus wrapper, just merge into a common wall? Maybe a bit like what happens internally when an organelle buds off from the smooth ER and then links up with the Golgi apparatus?

That was the curiosity question.

I'm still not clear how how the infection is really working here. The virus binds with the cell and so now the nucleocapsid is now inside the cell but still in its protein wrap so the RNA is not really exposed. How is the RNA exposed?

Comment by jmh on COVID-19 growth rates vs interventions · 2020-03-28T17:21:25.559Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This seems to suggest we will experience a cyclical pattern to these events. When we transition to a R0 < that .98 we seem to have things under control and will likely start seeing either relaxing any imposed controls or just relaxing our self imposed constraints on interactions. Then we'll have a few new infections, and R0 then returns to a value above the range so we're back in the epidemic spread phase again.

Does that seem right from this?

Comment by jmh on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-26T19:57:36.002Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I believe there was also an issue related to glucose levels as well, which then results in worse infection outcomes with this virus.

I just came across the following that might be of interest as well: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-02/msa-arc022620.php

That was from late February and I've not seen anything providing any update on the trials they were starting.

Not sure if that is working as I was thinking, a decoy to get the virus to bind with something other then the cell and so neutralizing it.

Comment by jmh on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-26T13:17:06.481Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Two related "wild" ideas, as I think we probably have the basic technology and knowledge but probably not something we can quite do now.

My understanding is that the virus is attacking the ACE2 molecules. These actually form a gateway between the interior of the cell and the external environment.

If so, in theory, we might be able to create a number of artificial "bodies" -- thinking just a lipid bilayer sack with some ACE2 elements attached. Any virus that binds with that will "infect" the dummy cell but have no way of replicating so effectively die and not infect the body.

Similarly, a mask, even one that is not quite as fine filtered as others, which is impregnated with such compounds might prove effective as a filter for this specific virus.

Anyone know of any virological sources that are might be digestible by non-experts that might discuss such approaches?

Comment by jmh on Authorities and Amateurs · 2020-03-25T13:21:15.904Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Hmmmm. I am wondering about the information transmission/propagation process and how that might effect outcomes.

The "experts" are know to be connected with some subject area. When people (particularly media and government) the "experts" are brought in. LW has had at least one thread on this situation and what some of the problems might be.

The "armchair" people are probably two forms -- either they are some form of known "celebrity" type of smart person or they are unknowns to the world generally. In either case the utterances from these people run through a different filter before their claims become part of the general information about X.

In this particular context -- a pandemic, we don't have too many real experts in the sense of "I've done this before and I have see this playing out". Yes, we've seen outbreak and understand the transmission processes and models pretty well. However, some of this seems to be different than SARS, MERS and similar more contained or localized events.

As someone mentioned, we can find a bunch or pretty silly analysis or recommendation from the armchair side (even that it's a hoax, just like a cold/flu or only a problem for the really old and already sick not the healthy). We when we make the claim about how the armchair crowd has done much better than the experts I think we gloss over how those good armchair positions came into the general information set. They were the cream of the crop and filters via a number of social filtering mechanisms.

We should not compare the best armchair position against some average expert position (where the experts may in fact not really be experts).

This might however suggest the selection mechanism used by both media and government in situations where we are dealing with something somewhat new may have some weaknesses that we want to review.

Comment by jmh on What will the economic effects of COVID-19 be? · 2020-03-24T13:23:27.691Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think the line of thinking here is probably to first separate what is internal economic activities and relationships (think the plumber fixing your clogged drain) and what are external activities and relationships (think international supply chain type settings).

The internal relationships will, for the most part be waiting, though expect to see some movement in who and domestic market shares.

The longer any quarantine goes on the more impact will be seen on the external activities and relationship -- loss of exports will be picked up by producers outside the quarantine area where possible. Those relationships may persist resulting in changes in structure of international trade patterns.

The other impact will be on the margin between domestic and international. This might be more difficult to tease out.

Perhaps another aspect is about which country or area is quarantined and when. It's not clear when one says quarantined for X period of time if we're talking about one country/area or some entire group of related countries. China is coming out of it's quarantine now but reports are that it is still suffering from the quarantines in other countries in terms of its export potential.

Comment by jmh on Against Dog Ownership · 2020-03-24T00:08:54.469Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed. I was offering a counter to the proposition that pet ownership increases the empathy towards animals.

Comment by jmh on Against Dog Ownership · 2020-03-23T20:58:33.746Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think it is a mistake to think merely because someone is receiving some emotional value from a pet with that person actually caring about the pet (this holds for people as well in all sorts of relationships) beyond the pet's ability to delivery that emotional satisfaction.

I am not a psychologist but I suspect one can describe most abusive relationships as having filling an emotional need for the abuser, often with little to no recognition of the what the abusee's true/real needs are.

Comment by jmh on Against Dog Ownership · 2020-03-23T17:06:44.254Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I want to say there was some study that concluded domestic animals -- particularly pets -- are stupider than their wild relative.

Comment by jmh on Against Dog Ownership · 2020-03-23T17:04:58.810Z · score: 7 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure I agree that one can make the case that increasing pet ownership really does increase empathy for animals in general. I think (and the brief glance at the original article mentions this, at least indirectly if it didn't dig into it somewhere I didn't see) too many pet owners seem have pets for personal emotional needs. Often the pet becomes some possession existing to serve as an emotional crutch, becoming a means to some internal emotional end.

I'd like to see some empirical studies on the claim -- for instance, how many pet buyers just take for granted the pet is not from some pet farm. When word come out about such places, how many actually change their buying habits? Then, just what does that do for other settings where one might consider the ethics of animal treatment (ranching for instance, or wildlife preserves...). Or maybe even something like the percentage of members of PETA who are pet owners or donors to PETA? (I might think the portions would be different if pet ownership does promote more empathy)

Comment by jmh on How does one run an organization remotely, effectively? · 2020-03-21T00:59:11.943Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Okay. From a practical point, one thing I've found is working remotely from the office introduces two immediate challenges.

First is the loss of the informal information flow -- the remote person just quickly drops out of the loop. When the whole team suddenly becomes becomes remote that informal information flow is just gone. New communication patterns might help mitigate that. I now one of the clients I used to work with had a policy that all emails related to work got sent to everyone. That might not be what you need but they strongly felt that insured the corporate distributed knowledge was preserved and in some cases extended -- sometimes really good insights came from people not directly working on a particular project; sometimes brand new opportunities were seen because multiple teams notices some common threads.

Avoiding the pressure to micromanage will likely be important. Clear goals statements, progress milestones and probably some good mechanism to raise a hand to point up an emerging problem.

When people get moved from the office to working remotely you will likely find that there were all sorts of things taken for granted that made one more productive -- or just made the work easier. Before cutting ties with the office everyone should closely survey their remote work environment to make sure they can do the job remotely as well as in the office from pure procedure steps. Do I really have sufficient desk space or am I trying to work off the kitchen table? With the table work -- is the light right? Too many distractions maybe? What about things like screen space? Access to applications remotely -- does the VPN really kill the connection so you know it will take twice as long to get results back?

If the organization doesn't already have experience with operating on a remote basis it really needs a few dry runs to learn what it doesn't know. So will be the people. Does the organization have time to do that?

Contact lists -- yes, everyone has the office directory but that might not be too helpful when everyone is not remote. Does the phone system support call forwarding -- and does that functionality expose the number the call is then forwarded to. Is that a problem? How well will everyone work if all they have is a cell phone. What's the backup plan there -- online tools (Skype, Zoom, MS Teams or other tools might be good but also might be problematic based on various security setting or bandwidth to the remote location (I am guessing home -- so another twist there is who else is in the house? Does everyone have a work space or will people be trying to work out of their bedrooms in a shared house?)

Most of that is mostly mechanical aspects.

One of the soft aspects is loss of vision -- people cannot monitor each other as they do in the office. That will probably lead to some tension over (not too much) time. It's natural for most of us to see the work we do and see the work not done by others we needed them to do. (I think there have been so posts on LW in that vein of thinking). That's part of a culture shift moving for the co-located office to everyone remote. How best to minimize that type of dynamic should be considered. Maybe some type of group conference call where everyone can share experiences, what's working and what is challenging might help keep everyone feeling they are all in the same boat with one another and not a case of multilateral "me-them" feelings.

These are they types of things I've see or experienced.

If you are thinking about your own organization my suggestion would be some trial runs. The organization was not setup initially for the remote structure so unlikely to have what is needed to support that. There will be a learning curve.

In terms of how to manage the output and make sure the organizational output keeps getting produced you probably already have most of that. They might be a few things you can think about the are directly observed during the normal course of the day. If they are really important from a "run the company" view what is the proxy in the remote setting? What is the impact of generating that proxy measure on just getting the job done?

Comment by jmh on How does one run an organization remotely, effectively? · 2020-03-20T20:55:26.064Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I am also interested in hearing any answers people have on this.

I would also think type of organization or nature of the organization's output and its internal relational structure (how do the teams fit together both within teams and across teams) will have a rather strong influence on any best practices one might implement.

Raemon, do you think the audience here has a good idea of what your organization would be or perhaps a small description of the setting might be good.

Comment by jmh on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-19T15:42:21.633Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Looks like the OurWorldinData has a graph showing a decrease in the total number of reported new cases for the world. Obviously, one observations is nearly meaningless but might be a sign that the curve is starting to flatten.

Comment by jmh on Assorted thoughts on the coronavirus · 2020-03-18T21:04:42.600Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Life style risk. Perhaps two takes on that.

First, no one is choosing the virus so not a great comparison.

Flip side might be, we don't pick a lot of things that can randomly happen to harm us given the life we want to live. Why is a virus that much different. Those that want to just keep living as if nothing has changed can, those the see a big risk can then work from home, home school their kids, isolate, interact via a bunch of remote communication tools. The key here then is just what the spill over is -- how much danger do the free-wheeling life style put the run-for-the-hills life style at risk?

I think it is an interesting take. One thing I am pretty sure about is that we're living that old Chinese curse about living in interesting times ;-)

Comment by jmh on LessWrong Coronavirus Agenda · 2020-03-18T20:29:32.094Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW
What is actual hospital elasticity? Is there an existing gathering of data on this from previous disasters?

No answer here but a subquestion might be what are the essentials for an effective "hospital bed" for a COVID-19 patient? What are the binding/constraining elements? We know ventilators for critical cases are one. Others? What about those for serious versus critical -- if we can treat serious cases well but in some makeshift hospital room (say an empty hotel) does that help us limit the demand for ICU space?

Second thought here. You have investors like Ackman suggesting a slow bleed process may well kill hotel owners. Is there an opportunity to address two things as once? If government (and insurance companies) can support quarantining and treating less serious cases in hotels then the industry gets some relief and society perhaps gets both better allocation of medical resources and improved quarantines.

Comment by jmh on Good News: the Containment Measures are Working · 2020-03-17T16:10:25.523Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW

True but apparently the people there have been, for the most part, been really good about social distancing practices, and I suspect general hygiene practices as well.

The do seem to have a problem with some of their religious groups that want to congregate but perhaps they will get the memo soon too.

But to be clear, I think their example makes clear that the hammer of authoritarian lock-down is not the only solution and the less authoritarian democracies can address the problem within the context of an individual freedom regime.

Comment by jmh on Good News: the Containment Measures are Working · 2020-03-17T16:08:39.466Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Does anyone have any reasonably good estimate on what the average incubation period is?

Comment by jmh on March 14/15th: Daily Coronavirus link updates · 2020-03-17T12:40:20.321Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Regarding the Rob Wiblin model, is it possible that the conclusion (though I suspect is based on global numbers) is due to local epicenter events and so not necessarily something that should be generalized without some caveats?

Comment by jmh on Kevin Simler: Outbreak · 2020-03-17T01:54:39.286Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting. Hopefully someone here has some experience but seems to show interesting results as one plays with the parameters.

One thing I notices was it was not just the transmission rate the influenced an major outbreak of just some pockets of infections.

The other interesting observation was the fundamental randomness of the outcomes. In some cases I would see a small isolated pocket. Run it again, it might cover about 40 percent of the population.

Comment by jmh on When are the most important times to wash your hands? · 2020-03-15T16:41:49.195Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect there is at least as much "cultural inertia" at play as the costs and reliability aspect. I think one might find that type of resistance even for the shift to using a foot petal for open doors. It's a bit of the out of sight out of mind situation. Oddly, for me, I frequently find myself walking up to a door only to realize it is not opening and I hesitate waiting for it to start before I realize I have to open it myself!

Will be interesting to see if, assuming things do get as bad as everyone seems to be making this to be, we see those types of operational/behavior changes propagating within societies.

Comment by jmh on When are the most important times to wash your hands? · 2020-03-15T13:37:04.415Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Does it make sense to separate out the answers based on the direction of transmission on is worried about?

Comment by jmh on When are the most important times to wash your hands? · 2020-03-15T13:36:23.163Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In the 21st century shouldn't the question be why aren't all doors smart doors that open and close as needed?

Comment by jmh on Does SARS-CoV-2 utilize antibody-dependent enhancement? · 2020-03-15T03:06:42.212Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW
This proposes that China may have had a far-worse death rate in part because of exposure to previous cases of SARS-1.

Does Italy fit that line of thought?

Comment by jmh on A Significant Portion of COVID-19 Transmission Is Presymptomatic · 2020-03-14T12:28:09.751Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If the thought here is true does that suggest the actual transmission mechanism is perhaps not yet understood as well?

The claim has been it is not an airborne transmission (which perhaps still makes sense on a technical level) but if infection is occurring without things like people coughing or sneezing (dispelling a larger amount of internal matter than simple breathing) how is it spread?

Is the view that it must be more about things like an infected person touches their mouth in some manner, then touches something else or shakes someone's hand...

What are the confidence internal for the estimates for the serial intervals? That doesn't seem like something that would have been well measured during the outbreaks so far but perhaps I'm not crediting the medical community enough here.

Comment by jmh on What is a School? · 2020-03-14T00:05:58.767Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

We see the same type of issue with downsizing military or even government. What is the military? Where do the jobs go, especially for all the 15 years in service but never really advanced? What about the training? What about all the communities served by the bases? Little of that has anything to do with the primary role of a military for society.

There are some questions to be asked but many actually I think shine a light on many of the unintended consequences of things.

Comment by jmh on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-13T14:10:09.966Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I do get that point, and do think it is one that is well made. At the same time, I find the numbers produced a bit on the high side. Clearly the 20,400 number being within existing capacity for the Bay area completely ignores current patients unrelated to COVID-19. But perhaps under a regime of social distancing, containment and isolation of both known cases and by the more concerned both the speed of growth and the total number your model is producing would be much closer to manageable.

Comment by jmh on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-12T21:06:15.199Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm wondering why you are also coming up with a LOT more hospitalization than even cases reported in China.

In early April, if I'm readying this right, you are expecting the Bay area to need over 80,000 hospital beds for COVID-19 for the uncontrolled case (I assume that is merely a comparison scenario) and then after 3 months, say starting July, in the controlled scenario about 81,000 hospital beds will be needed. Then things keep going up.

That seems like something is missing there. Why would the Bay area really expect to see such drastically higher impact than China as a whole? Using your 20%, 20% assumption and saying China is at 85,000 now, the total demand for hospital beds would have been 20,400 over the entire December - March time period.

Comment by jmh on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-12T20:52:23.329Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks. BTW, have you thought about putting an average recovery/dies period in, perhaps differing based on hospital bed or ICU and look at how those parameters might shift things a bit? Might even be good to model the time between infection and need for medical care (be that bed or ICU).

Or are those implicit in your beta and gamma values?

Comment by jmh on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-12T20:43:10.108Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think it might also be worth considering hospital beds -- to some extent -- is not a fixed quantity to can expand as demand increases. Consider using hotels or other (these days rather vacant) building/structures. That's basically what China has done here (and in other cases with their "legos" 10 day to build hospitals -- rejected the concept of what a hospital is and how fixed the supply is.

Just as an assumption check, was your hospital bed/ICU bed value an average for, say the USA, or some other country level metric or an average of the local hospital to service area metric?

Comment by jmh on When to Reverse Quarantine and Other COVID-19 Considerations · 2020-03-12T20:29:42.331Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Not sure where to put this in terms of your thinking. Vox had a report from CDC (USA) talking about flattening the curve. The relevant aspect, perhaps, is that from CDC's perspective, social distancing, self-quarantine, work from home and similar actions was not actually expect to reduce the number of infection. The goal was to shift the peak right and bring the peak down to, or below, medical capacity.

Comment by jmh on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-12T18:07:22.737Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I would think that would be the smart thing and the right thing. I suspect it also the thing they will do.

That said, they have also already publicly stated (reported a few days back) they will offer that type of support "for those participating in their belt and road" initiative and I didn't notice (but did not read closely) if they mentioned nonparticipating countries and where they would stand.

Might be more about prioritization in the line.

Comment by jmh on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-12T12:32:43.599Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Drive through screening test? Would they be good for the USA and EU?

Comment by jmh on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-12T12:12:36.098Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Just looked at a link for a Vox article that popped up when I launched my browser. Nice chart but would be interesting to know some thing about the model parameters (and I think the graph is illustrative not anything factual or based on some model CDC has) that would be required to achieve the image, and some sense about how close both USA and EU are to achieving the parameter values.

I thought the interesting thing about is was that the goal is not really about reducing the number of infections. That is not really a narrative that is in the public media at this time -- or I'm missing it.

Comment by jmh on Open & Welcome Thread - February 2020 · 2020-03-12T04:04:39.077Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Not 100% on this but I suspect the in the money puts start to be dominated by the inherent value so you have to pay for that in the money portion of the option price. The out of the money put is pure volatility.

Comment by jmh on A practical out-of-the-box solution to slow down COVID-19: Turn up the heat · 2020-03-12T03:59:25.935Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Just wondering about the display of centers. Is that waviness due to translation of a spherical map onto a flat one or could that be related to wind currents? 20 degree of latitude is pretty wide (1200 miles?) so wondering if something more could be used to narrow any geographical based explanation.

Comment by jmh on Credibility of the CDC on SARS-CoV-2 · 2020-03-11T13:09:37.407Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If we're splitting that hair then one should be questioning if any whistle was being blown or if simple hearsay was reported by AP. However, Fauci certainly seems to be a person that would have direct knowledge so one might take his statement as factual and so a refutation of the reported hearsay.

Comment by jmh on March Coronavirus Open Thread · 2020-03-09T17:39:07.962Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

South China Morning Post had a story line a day or so back where Chinese experts were suggesting a 10 fold increase every 19 days. Interestingly the rate seems to be about double that if you look at the last 19 days.

I did not look past the totals but suspect that is highly dominated by South Korea (seems to be slowing), Italy and Iran (these two do not seem to be slowing).

Might also be interesting to put a latitude metric in as well -- while I have a "sense" that more equatorial areas have a lower incident (and may be spread rate) I've not seen that data plotted anywhere.

Comment by jmh on Credibility of the CDC on SARS-CoV-2 · 2020-03-09T13:27:06.090Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · LW · GW
The person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity did not have authorization to talk about the matter. The person did not have direct knowledge about why the decision to kill the language was made or who made the call.

That doesn't seem a really strong source for the claim or what exactly was said. Sounds like a fair degree of reading between lines based on an observation (passage removed). The administration refutes the claim.

On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci — the head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force — said “no one overruled anybody.”

But, how many of this class of people have been infected (or infected others) due to flying? Alternatively, how do those numbers stack up to cruise ship travels? Did the CDC provide advice on that?

Also missing, from what I can tell, is the date of these events -- when did CDC want to provide that advise, when did the decision to make the edit occur? They did update their website last Friday.

Comment by jmh on Potential High-Leverage and Inexpensive Mitigations (which are still feasible) for Pandemics · 2020-03-09T13:06:34.950Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Congratulations on getting it accepted but very sad in a way. As you say, it is too late for it to help. As an outsider, to both the field and academic review/publication/writing almost seems like these journals a knee-jerk political minds than scholarly. Hope that is just a grossly mistaking take.

When the USA government announced its COVID-19 budget that was one of the first things I thought about -- and that it probably would not quite be accomplished, or not that well due to some type of top-down type approach (if for not other reason than to limit abuse, which is understandable but you might think in the current world of available information we could do better).