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Public Figures Contracting COVID-19 as Positive Event

by mc1 min read15th Jul 20202 comments

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Curious of a rationalist perspective on the utility of public figures contracting COVID.

Public figures contracting disease increases the visibility of said disease and we know that affects public perception of the seriousness of the disease. If we are interested in affecting the perception of one specific group, is contraction of disease by a public figure respected by that group a positive event? If that public figure holds a position of power, are they more likely to make decisions that trend toward taking the disease more seriously (see Boris Johnson).

More specific example: Republican governor of a state without a mask mandate contracts COVID. Does the increased visibility of disease affect the perception of their republican constituents? Does the governor's personal experience with disease affect their stance on mask mandate? Is there a dose-response relationship between these outcomes, and severity of illness?

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2 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 3:59 AM

Downvoted for being mostly political, with only a very weak hook to anything about modeling, prediction, or other useful LW topics.

I think this mattered in March, but the visibility of COVID-19 is pretty much maxed out at this point and has been awhile.

As a heuristic, if something is object-level bad, with the silver lining that it would make people take a problem more seriously if it happened... then it's bad overall. This is not an ironclad law of nature, but it's usually true, and short-circuits some of the worst failure modes of political reasoning.