Coronavirus: The High Cost Of Being Wrong

Picking up from yesterday’s video rebutting the latest media campaign of “It’s not going to be that bad” opinion pieces from ‘experts’, Chris investigates the cost of being wrong in these predictions.

This is important because government and health care response policies are being influenced by these experts. If we pick the wrong policies, millions of lives and trillions in wealth are at stake.

Chris walks through the two main competing theories on the pandemic’s projected impact and highlights the merits and shortcomings of each.

In his opinion, the logic underlying one is much stronger than the other.

In many very real ways, our destiny is tied to the path we choose. Here’s hoping we choose wisely.


And 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

Lets go ahead and get 1000 volunteers ( who think this virus is less deadly than the flu ) and inoculate them with the virus. And then just follow them through the course… AND no medical treatment provided… Done and Done… We have an answer
Edit: The US military can do this with soldiers. Why not do it … consider them at worse casualties of war and give them purple hearts or whatever… GET it done… I am sure a lot soldiers would sign-up for this alone.

Hypothesis: early detection and excellent care including hospitalization of many patients who would not have been hospitalized in the general population will lead to a lower death rate.
Data to support hypothesis. Quick estimate of expected death rate relative to South Korea when adjusting for age gives 3-4% (would be higher if we used China or Italy). Actual death rate currently 1.4%. Will probably settle around 2-2.5%.
Current status: To early to confirm this hypotheses although current data supports it.
Hypotheses: Infection rate in the general population will likely exceed 20% without NPIs.
Data: Rate exceeded 20% on the ship. Spread should be much more aggressive in tight quarters, however, a quarantine was implemented and new infections tailed off sharply 14 days into the quarantine. This suggests the quarantine was at least somewhat effective.
Current status: need to consider evacuations from ship.
Hypothesis: Asymptomatic cases are perhaps 50%-60% of all cases.
Data: asymptomatic rate was about 50% on the Diamond Princess. However these results are from Feb 20, so some of them could have developed symptoms after this date. On the other hand, some of the symptomatic cases were mild (how many?) and might not have been detected in a less tested population.
Tentative conclusion: Asymptomatic and mild to moderately symptomatic cases in the general population almost certainly do not exceed detected cases by even a factor of 10. Depending on testing, a figure of 2-7 times is more likely.
Lots of data on the Diamond Princess including cases by age and symptomatic vs. asymptomatic.
Age demographics of Diamond Princess
Deaths by age in South Korea
Diamond Princess cases and deaths time series
Interesting note: New York has now tested about 0.65% of it’s population and it’s positive rate has crept above 30% suggesting testing is biased towards likely cases. The testing rate should exceed 1% by Monday. deaths/cases is currently 1.2%, although that is likely to increase. I can’t find serious/critical numbers today, but even if we assume all U.S. serious/critical cases are in New York, we’re at 5%, so the true number is perhaps 3% - also likely to increase. With all of the testing, the next week or two will likely give some good insight into likely overall population deaths, etc.
What we really need is randomized testing on a few thousand people to see what is going on in the general population. Antibody testing to catch the (likely few) people who have recovered fully might add a bit more insight.

We should be testing randomly in the community instead of likely cases …

Dear Chris, I will post again the interview I posted yesterday of one of the professeurs who is part of the Marseille team. In the interview the MSM interviewer - LCI is an information channel much like CNN - asked the doctor a loaded question. I believe it was Sanofi which offered the French government to make a huge quantity of Chloroquine - 300,000 doses (pills) for free 16min40 - the interviewer asked what the Doctor thinks about the way the government had not replied to the offer. He very carefully avoided the question. The importance which he came back to over and over again in the interview was simply - their results show that the treatment drops the infectious load in patients in a spectacular manner - to the point where the virus is no longer contagious and takes the patient out of danger. He said “On a un traitement” we have a remedy - we give it to people who come to them to Marseille - after that he practically begs the audience to take them seriously!
By contrast the old fart tanned doctor would prefer to wait 8 weeks (9min51) so that all regions submit their clinical results. The MSM interviewer on hearing this departed radically from his text - earphone questions - to personal shock at a doctor proposing to allow thousands of deaths - in the interest of following protocol. Procedure!

I would be scared to make predictions or forecasts based on what we now know, because there are still way too many things we do not know about Covid-19. For instance, I have not heard anyone speculate as to whether or not Covid-19 virus will come and go as do ordinary flu viruses, or even the Spanish Flu of 1918-1920, or will it have an agenda of its own, and simply bypass the stop and go and continue on? Also, some of the data just does not seem logical, such as approximately 2.5 people being exposed to one who may be infected. What if those 2.5 become infected and then each expose their own 2.5 and those each do the same?
Based on testing in our area, it is often taking several days or even a week or longer to receive back results of testing, due to shortages of supplies, or other bureaucratic snarl-ups. How many in the meantime are exposed and how many were exposed prior to one suspecting they need to be tested. For instance, we had a health care worker who had traveled with spouse and they returned and went back to work. That worker then exposed around 100 hospital cancer patients plus 12 other workers and a couple doctors. How many others were then exposed to all of them during the times that symptoms were not apparent and then before test results were known? Even at 2.5 per times all those people and then 2.5 times each of their own exposures, to me it gets nearly impossible to calculate because first of all we will never know how many of any of these occurred and secondly, which of those who were and continued to expose others actually became infected, and then how does this multiply when you factor in the spouse? Chris, since you obviously live your life around this analysis and have been working on all this for several months, to me it would be very helpful to hear your beliefs.
Beliefs are predicated upon working knowledge of a given subject matter so who better to be able to render guesstimates and suspicions about this fast moving virus? I do like your analysis of the straight line and perhaps we should either analyze individual states as though they were countries, or at least break up our nation into workable chunks, due to the fact that there are different weather and temps, different population masses ranging from sparse in WY or ND to heavy in NY and CA, etc. If we in fact guess the wrong way on this and Covid-19 decides to run unabated for say 18 months, and we then have to bail out our economy for that long, how will that then fare as to who if anyone will be able to go back to work, because how many employers may have simply disappeared during that time period?
What if like the Spanish Flu, Covid-19 wreaks havoc and then goes off to rest while everyone thinks it is licked and then it comes back with a vengeance worse than the first time? What if in fact there are multiple strains and each of them must run their courses and maybe one or more of them then decides to again mutate, even though the medical brains surmise they will not?
Making correct decisions from faulty data is just as bad as making wrong decisions from correct data. Why in fact are we as a nation bent on arrogantly thinking that because we are who we are, we will somehow fare better than most others in the world? Yes, there were some correct but politically damaging decisions made early on and that may have saved incalculable lives, just by locking us off from affected areas from the get-go. Hopefully that will have made a big difference, but we really do not know for sure yet. Based on all known data, we are only at the very beginning of this nation-wide exposure, which logic would dictate will in fact become much worse perhaps in known ways as well as in unknown ways, just by following all the straight lines.
Why are we not using or mandating masks or applying known pneumonia cures, rather than creating monstrous paralysis of analysis tasks which could well be at least temporarily shelved until we get this under control? There will always be time later to study this, but if we inappropriately apply those dwindling resources to things that we already know will not pay off for years, why do our experts not recognize that such misapplied resources will also equate to lives lost between now and the time that we actually do apply those resources and directions to the things that matter most now?
It is as though the brainiest of brains of our medical world and society cannot see the full picture but only their own single minded rut. That to me is one of the greatest problems our education system creates, and not just in this profession but all of them. Way too many professors know lots of things but cannot relate to ordinary common sense problems of society. Instructing 18,000 people to study computer info in order to search for a cure, forbids acknowledging that such cure for pneumonia was already found in 1920, while they proceed with their tasks of more paralysis of analysis.
Based on such apparently intellectual actions which in fact are not likely to solve any problems real soon, I am not confidant that we will end this problematic situation any time relatively soon, short of a miracle or short of this aggressive virus just getting tired and quitting, and that is ridiculously optimistic. Also, they have stopped having funerals around here due to social distancing – how many of these can be stacked up before we start to create other related problems? For every decision made out of hand, why are our intellectuals not able to envision the material consequences and thus try to prepare such decisions according to the comprehensive picture rather than for only one small narrow path? Knowledge even in abundant quantities does not necessarily equate to wise decisions, mostly due to the fact that we are all mice in the overall scheme of things. The best laid plans of mice and men do not mean a hill of beans when not coupled with wisdom and common sense. I have only touched on a few examples but there has to be literally thousands of unknowns and some of them may in fact be very important, perhaps more important than all of our now-known variables.
Supposing we follow a path because it seems like a good idea, that then takes us over an unexpected cliff of no return? We listen to doctors and professionals every day who continually dispute what others of their same profession are saying. It is obvious that there is not an overall consensus which means that propelling forces are not always even on the same page. For instance, some say that viruses are randomly and dormant-ly in existence, while others say they are alive. Who knows and does it matter?
Well, if this virus can somehow survive for from 5-50 days depending upon the variables considered, how can quarantines of 14 days be appropriate, or are we just placating the masses to accept a number that they might otherwise not think is within their assessment of tolerance? What if we all wore masks and did tests and then applied known cures? Would we not then feel like we were on a road that was allowing us to make progress? On the other hand, if we do not know where we are going, then any road will get us there, but where will that be? Will we actually luck out and make a stumbling, bumbling inroad to progress or will we end up worse off than if we did nothing at all, simply by ignoring wisdom and common sense?
If pertinent knowledge about a given situation is purposely withheld by our political leaders, under the auspices of their fear of (?hip-pa) laws or privacy laws that otherwise protect certain people and information from being publicly disclosed, then how are people to make educated decisions in any given area or region of the nation? Misinformation is often worse than partial correct information, but our laws seem to prevent us from obtaining such information in a timely fashion, or at times even at all. Supposing people knew that they had perhaps been in contact or association with a given person who was exposed or positive. Would they not then know that they too should perhaps be extra careful or maybe get tested? Yet such critical info often is either being withheld or is somehow distorted or only divulged when no longer pertinent. We have set ourselves up for failure just due to the number of laws that we have whereby any people in authority can then decide on a whim whether or not to actually implement or enforce a given law, no matter the consequence of their actions.
I really hate to make the case, but maybe the Mayans were correct when they decided not to advance their calendar forward to our present day situations. Unfortunately we have evolved into a world where most people can no longer see further than their own noses. Others act like they can but really cannot either, even though their educational and professional status might indicate that they can. The other side of the aisle has a group who all seem to be “know-it-all’s” and they comprise a batch of educated folks who take the stance that they already know everything so others are not allowed to confuse them with the facts, no matter how relevant they may be.
Couple that with the fact that many medical organizations are so powerful that they can now dictate what will happen regardless of whether or not it makes sense, as long as it makes lots of cents. I would say that we are all at the mercy of fate, and that fate predicated on so much knowledge that we can no longer make or expect proper rational complex decisions. We may as well ask Forest Gump to step in and take over because everyone already there is either fraught with conflicts of interest or has professional blinders on that sway them to go in directions that may or may not be helpful soon enough. No wonder Einstein said such things as this world will not go out with a bang, but with a whimper.
We seem to be running on paths of potential self-destruction, no matter how hard a handful of well-meaning leaders try to get us back on track. I think it is time for everyone to start thinking of others instead of just for their-selves, and it might not hurt for people to pray for answers because we have proven that we are not always capable of dealing with all the unknown variables. This nasty Covid-19 virus has come upon us in sneaky fashion at the worst possible time, both for individuals and for the masses. Many do not realize nor recognize the absolute power it has to cause us to make serious wrong decisions, or even to know that beyond certain breaking trigger points we will reach undesirable destinations of no return – Will those be to greener pastures or to a world-wide abyss and greater depression?
Since the entire world is facing this same problem, will people gain commonality of disposition and work together to defeat this virus, or will we persist in a fruitless blame game against the supposed location with which the virus cropped up? Will people recognize that it could have surfaced from anywhere that the conditions might have allowed it to, and that there may be even more to come just like it or worse, that could also creep out of anywhere else in the world. Individual and collective energies wasted on such juvenile and unproductive antics are so much energies that might better be spent towards fixing the very problem itself. Perhaps we all do need to go through this monstrous black-hole in order to re-orient ourselves back to the reality of why we are all here in the first place.

and approves the use of :
« Chapitre 7
« Dispositions relatives à la mise à disposition de médicaments
« Art. 12-2. - Par dérogation à l’article L. 5121-8 du code de la santé publique, l’hydroxychloroquine et l’association lopinavir/ritonavir peuvent être prescrits, dispensés et administrés sous la responsabilité d’un médecin aux patients atteints par le covid-19, dans les établissements de santé qui les prennent en charge, ainsi que, pour la poursuite de leur traitement si leur état le permet et sur autorisation du prescripteur initial, à domicile.
Put that in you pipe and smoke it big pharma companies who wanted to make a big profit over our deaths.

I agree too, but that ought to include mandated masks and other protections. It would not be beyond possibilities that situations could evolve which would then place many more people at risk, just due to different interpretations of what is supposed to be done. It seems we are living in an Orwellian world where nearly everything said has double meanings so that what is intended to be said may or may not be what the recipient perceives as what was intended to be communicated to them and in the intended context. I believe what we all need is a comprehensive package of beginning to end explanations of how this would be undertaken so as to produce meaningful standard results, rather than each location deciding on their own. Also what possible decisions and actions will be taken pending those possible results. Will we finally head in the direction of solution or will we merely feed the “paralysis of analysis” machine to generate more expensive studies while more people die from pneumonia that already has known cures which have been and continue to be ignored by supposedly educated and knowledgeable medical experts?

I’ve noticed Worldometer and others have virtually no new cases listed. Is this the new norm?
Local politicians seem to be embracing don’t ask don’t tell again as if there was a big conference call we weren’t privy to. Does Trump have their back?
Why not just tell us the banks are running the show so we can stay home on election day?
I am disgusted with our government.
P.S. I think new members should be limited to 250 words per post and anyone that corrects Chris’s grammar should be forced to wear a shock collar.

Maybe I’m taking too simplistic an approach, but I’ve been estimating mortality rate like this:
[No of deaths]/[No of identified cases 9 days previously] noting that the average time to death seems to be about 9 days after diagnosis. This mortality rate has been climbing steadily since the virus got out of China and is currently 12.4% at time of posting. Presumably this reflects the overload of health facilities in the current epicentres.
Obviously this doesn’t reflect the silent carriers and is therefore more of a maximum likely rate rather than a true rate.

If anyone needs a acceptable excuse to wear a mask in public, tell the scoffers that you are wearing a mask for the POLLEN season

The premise of the study just seems wrong to evidence I’ve seen. I couldn’t find the data beyond the abstract.

A bit gruff around the edge but a good look at another perspective

This article appears to be open access.

This is from a ER MD in New Orleans.

Sample of 1???

Just got this. The source is usually reliable.
This looks right locally. WI is only testing in cities, so the rural areas look cleaner, but on a per-capita basis that might not be so true.
Do you have any good per capita data sources on a more granular basis (by UMPT, by county)?
It sounds like trump is going to order back to work or NO AID based on total numbers, not per capita. For those of us who are not in large urban areas this is a big problem.

Saw a recent post involving a Lupus sufferer who needs Chloroquine to combat the disease and was down to 30 days supply, unable to get the drug as demand has gone off the charts. The two studies done had small populations of 40 and 30 patients, half of which received the medication and the other half a placebo. The one study was inconclusive while the other suggested benefits. These things need more time and many are now receiving the drug as parts of larger studies in places like University Hospitals in Cleveland where they have performed credible studies in the past on hundreds of drugs under trials. Unfortunately, these things take time. In the mean time, drug manufacturers need time to ramp up supplies, but they will not do so unless there’s a proven benefit and need.

Medium Digest set up a free blog, and articles

Also taz1999
I looked at printing the brochure but getting printed copied would be nicer. Can you provide a link to purchase these? Am happy to pay for these and pass them out to people I know.

  • Suzi created an awesome pamphlet on emotional resilience during a crisis folks. I bet a lot of people would benefit from your pamphlet and you are not selling it, I had to contact you and track it down so no conflict of interest on Suzi’s part. I just see my grown kids feeling stressed and her pamphlet can help.
    ** Want yo help people, hand them a pamphlet that described what stress symptoms are, they are normal, and here to how to deal with them.
    Thanks so much!