Coronavirus: Listening To (And Rebutting) The Critics

All through February and into early March, the media was awash with headlines that scoffed “Don’t worry – it’s just the flu”.

While most of those news outlets have pivoted and are now more likely to print sensationally fearful articles (the same who accused our data driven approach as “fear mongering” just weeks ago), we’re seeing a new campaign now of opinion pieces by credentialed ‘experts’ claiming the virus may not be as bad as initially expected.

In today’s video, Chris goes through a number of these recent articles and addresses them point by point:

As empirically-driven thinkers, at we don't shy away from a challenge to our conclusions. We're of the mind that the best facts should win, and if the data changes, our analysis will change with it.

But Chris doesn’t find much in these recent ‘expert’ opinions besides false hope. And poor logic.

Which just goes to underscore why we need to continue thinking for ourselves here. So many of our “leaders” and “experts” failed to warn and prepare us for this pandemic, for reasons ranging from politics to incompetence.

So keep educating yourself. And we’ll keep producing our daily updates and analysis to aid your understanding.

If you haven’t read it already, read our Coronavirus Home Lockdown Survival Guide.

We’ve written it to be a comprehensive collection of the resources you need to stay safe, sane and solvent through the covid-19 crisis.

It’s a great tool for getting everyone in your household on the same page — print it out and have them read it:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Growing in containers is a great way to provide yourself with some extra fresh food, especially if you have little space. Not only that, you can move them around depending on weather as well as take them inside to protect them.
We happen to have a great tutorial on how to make some containers that really help your plants thrive.
Self Watering Garden Containers
I’m planting a big bunch of lettuces, spinach and kale in them tomorrow, I’ll post pictures. Here though is a picture from last year.

BTW, 2 gallon buckets weigh a lot less than 5 gallon. Easier to carry and work just as well.

VegasJim just posted great pictures of his and his wife’s “Victory” garden in this thread.
Here’s just one picture, check the rest out.

I predicted to my wife that the number of cases in the US would surpass Italy by this weekend and China by next weekend. I hope I’m wrong but I fear I’ll be right.

Whoops, I bought 7 gallon bags. Guess I am going to be working on my deadlifts! I have never had success growing anything in the ground at my current home, but I am going to give containers a try, so thanks for sharing, dtrammel. Started seeds today for lettuces, Persian cubes, zucchini, haricots verts, and cherry tomatoes. Got seeds for container varieties from Renee’s Garden (I don’t recall who here recommended them, it may have been you!) but I am grateful and hopeful to have veggies this summer!

Hi Chris
In the last episode “Listening to (and rebutting) the critics” you cite and criticize Stanford and Yale professors if I remember correctly. Both are Private universities heavily dependent on their investment portfolio performances. In the case of Yale they have a lot of their “wealth” locked up in direct owning of properties (as the President) that cannot easily be sold and the money moved somewhere more secure. Thus these professors and their possibility to work and do research in the future could be severely hit by extensive lockdowns hurting their Unis investment portfolios as would the President. I am not saying they are doing this deliberately but of course you want to find any glimmer of hope things can be less of a problem than it is, if you are in their situation (called unconscious bias)! Maybe you could trust public university professors more (if they live on their salaries and not investments)?
Best wishes,

I love you show been following for I think exactly 60 days never miss a video and have seen it before a hour after posting every day thanks for the advice about making a garden I have carrot seeds coming tomorrow and I already have about 20 pots laid out with soil on my porch also now listening to you I have been able to say I told you so to my family who thought I was crazy till like a week ago

For anyone not good at gardening like me may I suggest carrots which are pretty self sufficient and great with barley any care plus you only need to water them once a week

I don’t have a good grade or or sun on my property ( but its not really sunny where I live - it rains about 250 days per year… And we have only 2 partly sunny days of the last 45 anyway… But I do have a few grow lights and a couple hydroponic units.

I am not sure what this bit about lately , I hear people saying that young people don’t even get this or get symptoms. In my state we have 400 cases between 20-40 years . and 200 cases between 40-60 years and 100 cases between 60-80 years. Looks like your chance of getting this go down with age here… And I bet you those young’ns aren’t asymptomatic… Because , I know for sure they are not out just testing people that look and feel well… So… I am tired of the excuse - that this just kills the guy in 90 in a wheel chair that would die if the wind blew.

Great to hear you’ve start a garden in pots. That’s what we are going to need to get through this crisis. Small individuals making big changes and growing things.
I’ve not had good luck growing carrots. The Missouri soil is heavy with clay and it makes a hard soil for root veggies like carrots to grow in, though there are some carrots, like the Parisians which are short and round like turnips. Those might do well.
I’ve had better luck with smaller onions though, especially some of the Asian varieties.
If you can, please post pictures.

And we have only 2 partly sunny days of the last 45 anyway… But I do have a few grow lights and a couple hydroponic units.
Funny story there nordicjack, several years back I planted peppers between my tomatoes. Wrong thing to do. The tomatoes quickly outgrew the peppers and most died from lack of sun. I have a nursery I get most of my starters from and in a conversation with their head gardener, he says put them in hanging baskets. I did that next year and got great results. I was able to move them around and get good light where I could. The end of that year he mentioned that if you bring your peppers in they will survive. He said peppers aren't annuals that die in the Fall but are tropical plants that can last several season. They just die when it gets real cold. Bring them inside and they will lose most of their leaves but as long as you have a grow light on them they will come back strong next year. I ended up with like 9 containers of peppers plus three containers of purslane (amazing plant, grow some) in the Fall, so I go to the local hydroponics store (aka the "pot store") and tell the guy I need a grow lamp for my peppers. He goes in the back and grabs a single 110 watt bulb. I go "No I need something bigger" and go to the big 4 bulb 48" grow lamps. "I need three of these". He looks at me and just says "Peppers, yeah you're growing peppers". Later I realize just what plant he thought I was growing, lol. ADDED: Here's the indoor setup

Technology is doubling every so much months and is inherent deflationary. Society is printing money to raise inflation to keep the old systems in place and working. Ever more money is needed to do so and it will break the social contract.

Putting parts of the open letter I shared with local Municipal authorities and politicians here. Some of the numbers used may be outdated now.The name of the Municipality has been replaced by Xxx.
Maybe useful for someone who has some traction at their local level.
I think one of the main challenges in building scenarios is that we don’t really have a good view on what attack-rates can be expected.
If someone would want to have a Swedish translation, PM me and I’ll share with you.

What are we potentially looking at; a scenario:
Measures to limit transmission of the infection or mitigate impact of the epidemic have been very slow in Sweden, which will likely worsen the outcome in Swedish society.
A likely scenario in Xxx with a population of around 11 000 persons and based on an attack rate of 70%, and mortality rates as seen in China:

  • Expected number of deaths: 210 persons (assuming medical structures are able to remain operational, if the larger medical care system is overwhelmed, this will rise and could easily double (based on data from Italy)).
  • Considering 80% asymptomatic or milder symptomatic and 20% needing advanced medical care: over 1 500 persons from Xxx will need medical assistance
  • This epidemic will probably be occurring in a period of 3-6 months with a peak in cases in May/ June.
  • It is likely that normal medical structures will be rapidly overwhelmed and will not be able to absorb more patients. If that happens an increasing number of patients will have to be dealt with within Xxx Kommun and that, with very little help coming from the outside.
  • It is very possible that within weeks from the onset of the real emergency, most medical personnel will be sick, in self-isolation, taking care of family members, or not able to work because of complete exhaustion or burn-out.
  • In this scenario it is unlikely that existing protocols, quality assurance and rules can be maintained throughout the duration of the epidemic.
  If this likely scenario plays out, then this will be a very traumatizing experience for the community and the medical and support teams involved. It is the ones on the frontline who will bear the brunt of this.   This scenario is not the worst-case scenario; attack rates of 80% are mentioned elsewhere, and mortality rates used here are roughly half of what they currently are in Italy.   Ultimately, in disasters, only the results and outcomes will count. Reviews at the end of the event will be focusing on results and why they were (not) achieved (in time) and outcomes (in terms of community and staff illness and death, and why these outcomes occurred). ... Comment: before looking at the local measures the assumption is that a budget has been attributed to response. ... Needs for dealing with this emergency (non-exhaustive list)
  • An informed scenario that plots the likely development of the epidemic in Xxx over time. This scenario should include expected number of cases, needs in human resources, infrastructure, equipment and materials and should include a projection over time for needs. The scenario needs to consider risks to the response system and provide alternative strategies and approaches to deal with these. The scenario should identify potential stakeholders within Xxx who can provide support. The scenario needs to consider that there may not be a possibility for testing (i.e. many cases will be suspected but not confirmed) and that other medical structures at some point will not be able to respond adequately to the medical needs and that it is possible that a large part of what is currently done by at hospital level will have to be done by teams in Xxx, with limited resources and severely overworked.
  • Plans for reduction of existing services and measures that are in place to scale down existing medical obligation as much as possible. All capacity that can be mobilised will be needed to ensure teams are able to cope with workload. Even with this, it is likely that the teams will not be able to address all needs and maintain standards that need to be upheld under normal conditions. It is unlikely that existing protocols, quality assurance and rules can be maintained. What are the mechanisms for stepping down service level, and based on results and outcomes, what is non-negotiable? The response system will have to be flexible to be able to adapt and achieve the best results and outcomes given the situation.
  • A stand-alone emergency management team working full-time on this. This team needs to have a good level of autonomy and include coordination, medical and medical support staff and logistics/ technical staff. At this point coordination staff should be largely independent, and other staff can be part-time attributed. Once the first cases appear, all staff appointed to the emergency response need to be placed under coordination of the emergency coordination team. Budget, administrative, and legal procedures need to be streamlined and not hamper the advancement of the team. This team will need its own attributed workspace, stock and equipment (e.g. vehicles). Perfection is the enemy of the acceptable in emergency management; ignoring these risks will compound problems and will likely lead to more death and suffering.
  • There are different organisational models that could be used to deal with cases. The decision of what system will be used needs to be made rapidly, and solutions to make this happen rolled out immediately. It is too late to start setting up a system when cases start coming in. There may be a high number of cases coming in on a daily basis. This system will therefore need to be as efficient and simple as possible. It needs to facilitate the control of infection, it needs to consider safe and manageable flow of people and materials, safety for personnel and citizens, accessibility, and the logistics and general management involved. If the outbreak would become extreme, it may become necessary to install designated areas where suspected cases can be received for initial treatment and follow-up. There will probably be a need for designated areas where confirmed cases can receive treatment. These areas need to be set up in a rational way to facilitate safe management of patients, and to support safety of staff.
  • Adequate protection materials for staff. It is an absolute priority that the persons who will be sent out to the front have the adequate materials that can reduce the risk of contamination. Results are everything here, and administrative hurdles that exclude adequate options are to be ignored. At this moment there is still the possibility to obtain certain materials on the market, but this window will be closing rapidly. Obtain non-renewable materials, as it is not certain that supply lines can be maintained and that resupply can occur. Get adequate quantities, and assume that a large part will be broken in the course of work. Ensure to have materials needed to maintain and operate this equipment over the course of the emergency.
  • Easy to understand, effective and brief protocols need to be in place on protection of personnel, patients and others. There is a handbook written by Hejiang University School of Medicine that can be accessed through, this seems to be a good start to look for protocols and general guidance.
  • Medical equipment and material, enough to deal with the expected number of cases, again, consider that shortages and breakdowns will occur over the course of the emergency. Consider that Xxx may have to deal with medical issues that are usually refered to other medical structures. Have plans ready for when this becomes likely to occur or occurs.
  • Easy to understand, effective and brief protocols need to be in place on treatment and management of patients, when qualified staff is out of the running, less qualified staff may have to take over from them.
  • A dedicated stock with a simple stock management system for materials and equipment.
  • Have agreements with existing local stakeholders on what they can do and when (e.g. Red Cross, FRG, police, fire department, private sector, church, associations), possibly good to set up a regular meeting platform where they regularly meet for information exchange and coordination. Have a clear view of what external actors can help with and how to mobilise this assistance (e.g. army)
  • Identify additional potential external support staff from Xxx, have criteria and reference materials for when these persons would be needed. Assume that less-qualified staff may have to replace qualified staff that is out of duty.
  • Good, clear and brief training materials and capacity building for all stakeholders involved on safety, patient management, stock management etc. Staff needs to have been trained before the first cases are starting to appear in Xxx. Once cases appear it becomes very challenging to work on capacity building.
  • Clear plans on how to deal with different phases that the emergency will go through, and criteria for when transitioning from one mode to the other occurs.
Has coordination taken place in the entire teams so that all experience, knowledge and capacity currently present in your teams has been considered, so that the response teams can be as effective as possible, so that collaborative teams with a common vision and sense of urgency and dedication have been formed? Have the teams been empowered enough and on time, and have they been involved so that all know what the situation is and feel part of the process? These issues are critical in an effective emergency response.   Transitioning the organization to the emergency will be challenging and take time, and needs a fundamental change in mindset and adaptation of all involved. Once cases start to be there the possibility to set up untested systems becomes much more limited. Therefore you’ll need to have these elements up-and-running when the first cases start to appear in Xxx.   Fail to plan, and you plan to fail. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. It is important to understand that preparing adequately for the worst-case scenario and ending up with only a few Corona cases is a much better than underestimating the scale it can take or opting for the ‘wait and see’ approach, and have a full-blown emergency where control over the situation is lost. Take it from someone with experience in emergency response, you want to aim for the first, and avoid the second at all price…   Some final words Looking at other countries it looks likely that a similar scenario as the one sketched here will play out. The type of impact that this epidemic could potentially have on society is similar to that of a war situation. This also should be the mindset of all involved. In an emergency, adopting the right mindset is critical, and very difficult for many.   To quote Michael Ryan from the WHO on working in a medical emergency ( at 28:55. “Be fast, have no regrets. You must be the first mover… You need to be prepared… If you need to be right before you move, you will never win. Perfection is the enemy of the good when it comes to emergency management; speed trumps perfection. The problem we have in society at the moment is that everyone is afraid to make a mistake. Everyone is afraid of the consequence of error. But the greatest error is not to move. The greatest error is to be paralysed by the fear of failure”   In the end only results and outcomes will count. How will Xxx be judged at the end of this? Did we do what needed to be done and when it needed to be done?

Day 1 nearly over.
basics. Stay at home unless going for food or medicine.
People in mobile homes etc must stay where they are. ( but many appeared to be flouting that today, but police are now chasing them…)
Only supermarkets, petrol stations, vets and pharmacies open
Only people working in critical supply chain allowed to go to work.
All people in lock-down will receive a level of government money if they can’t work from home.
283 cases but roughly only 15? locally infected cases, some of which are partners of returned travelers who had it
Returning travelers still the bulk of the cases.
People still returning but put into isolation.
Many people can no longer get back despite trying.

Hi all
I’m still relatively new so still traveling through all the info. This video is doing the rounds and I found it quite helpful for when I might need to go to the supermarket.
Re the 17 day CDC comment-I referred him back here to take a look at the video which talks to this.
In NZ, it was day 1 of lockdown - most people doing what they should, but pockets who still just don’t get it. My friend works in the emergency call centre. She said, ”Here is just a snippet of my day… incensed, that we are just not getting it… families turning up in car loads for a social bbq… 60’s women’s walking group 15+ … laughing when asked to move on… total lack of social distancing… an officer being spat on… someone calling up to ask if they can move to another address, cause they don’t like their partner/family/ girlfriend/ flatmate… suck it up princess for 4 weeks!! Unbelievable day, and not in a good way ???
Here’s my new moto Stay the f**k at home !!”
Here’s hoping tomorrow is a better day.

Wow Granny, that’s a good find. I only got through less than half, but my evening’s sleep will be troubled…Folks, check out that vid! Aloha, Steve.

Hey Chris, you are slamming it, killing it so cool. I have to say, I never pick on anyone for spelling or things like that. It usually happens because your three words ahead of typing and words get integrated. Now, since this bugs you and you brought lite to this and I follow everything you’ve ever said I am now conditioned to see the errors or spelling and such. The one thing that you say that drives me absolutely nuts is Exponential that you say is Expodential. I really don’t care, I don’t but, its annoying. Just take the time and pronounce it Expo (N) nential instead of adding a “D” where the “N” is. I believe it was yesterdays report that you had to say it 10 times!!! OK, said my piece, if you change fine if you don’t who really cares but I believe you do. For gosh sakes don’t tell me it’s trivial, you’re tired or you had food stuck in your teeth, just Man up and STOP!!! It’s like nails across a chalk board now. If you do this I’ll admit I’m a bit tired of all the work spent in my day doing more work than I ever anticipated. We have two very bad situations in our world, the Virus and the real possibility of a Great Depression and this requires absolute focus and determination plus I’m building a Log Cabin and taking care of my Lady who is front and center in this Virus as she now heads an over 70 bed from just 8 beds a week ago of Coronavirus victims ago, and plans on making the entire hospital dedicated to the Virus plus the expansion of ICU to handle the very serious cases. I started on this Virus real early, even advised my wife to ask what the hospital was doing to prepare for this virus back in December and early January. I don’t know shit but I have nailed this early and it was so nice that my world entered my Lady’s world and she has been way ahead of this at the hospital. Our conversations have been awesome as I can participate and offer meaningful critiques to help keep her safe and our conversations are being shared at the hospital with great relevancy and that’s great. We even stashed n95 masks here at home from the hospital because I told her it is crucial you have them when needed. I was right. She took back over 250 masks after I snatched a few for myself. This virus was an easy one to predict and prevent and it upsets me, a decorator/painter and remodeler that I seen this months ago. Much LOVE and Peace

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