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If the reproduction number is socially "controlled" to its inflection point 1, what are the ethical and predictive implications?

by rockthecasbah1 min read15th Jun 20202 comments


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Zvi wrote that he beleives the closeness of virus reproduction to one is not a coincidence, but a result of people responding to high reproduction by forbidding actions and low reproduction by going outside. I have copied his entire comment at the bottom of this post.

Assuming that Zvi is right, how would you update your positions? Would some actions previously seen as unethical now be ethical to you, and vice-versa?

When things are ‘getting worse’ we take ‘action’ by forbidding and forcibly stopping actions, and privately taking a mix of arbitrary and more sensible precautions, until we plausibly have things under control and cases shrinking. Anything beyond that, people won’t support.


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At first I thought that the soial system implicitly trying to control an exponential with a sensor lag longer than the doubling time would be simply impossible, and there would be wild swings between exploding cases and cratering cases. But then I realized that the dial that is being turned is the doubling time itself, such that near homeostasis the doubling/halving time is extremely long and the delays in the system don't matter as much.

That being said... South Carolina, man. They have entered a new exponential phase with a doubling time of much less than a week and we will get to see quite the excursion. These things still happen when people react faster than the delays in noticing people getting sick.

1rockthecasbah5moInteresting, South Carolina was at around 1.15 for a month and their ICU headroom usage has doubled. https://covidactnow.org/us/sc?s=51764 [https://covidactnow.org/us/sc?s=51764]