*1969, degrees in business administration and more recently in psychology, 20 years work in hospital management, currently teaching/tutoring statistics


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Omicron Variant Post #1: We’re F***ed, It’s Never Over

Re: Germany declaring South Africa as country with COVID variant of concern

This declaration has the legal consequence of a travel ban (excluding German citizens, who have to go into quarantine for 14 days).

First Strike and Second Strike
Missile defense systems constitute first-strike technology.

I think it is dual-use. A strong (compared to the offensive capabilities of a possible adversary) missile defense is a first-strike technology. A weak missile defense can be a very important second-strike technology.

E.g. in the context of US-China: Given the differences in the amount of warheads and delivery systems a strong US missile-defense system could be a destabilizing first-strike technology. On the other hand, a weak Chinese missile-defense could be stabilizing by enhancing the second-strike capabilities of China without harming the second-strike capabilities of the US.

Covid 11/11: Winter and Effective Treatments Are Coming

Additional information:

A couple of hours ago Austria has decided to implement a lockdown for unvaccinated citizens in all its states (Reuters).

And I have looked at the numbers for their two states with low vaccination rates:

Upper Austria: 55.89 % fully vaccinated (1), 415% increase in the Covid incidence in the last 4 weeks

Salzburg: 57.06% fully vaccinated (1), 490% increase in the Covid incidence in the last 4 weeks

Sources: Coronavirus in Österreich, AGES Dashboard.

Which closely mirrors the growth rate for the German states with similiarily low vaccination rates (Saxony, Thuringia).

(1): Here, fully vaccinated does not imply a third, booster shot.

Covid 11/11: Winter and Effective Treatments Are Coming

"The question is not whether cases will continue increasing, but rather whether the increase will accelerate and by how much. "

Looking at what is currently happening here in Germany and its neighboring countries (e.g. Netherlands, Austria, Denmark) the increase is highly likely to accelerate.

Why can a look at these European countries be somewhat predictive for the US? Berlin and Amsterdam lie further north than Montreal or Toronto. And the climate table for Berlin in September is similar to the climate table for Chicago in October. Therefore I think that the behaviour of the delta variant due to seasonality here in Europe now can to some extent give an indication what is going to happen in the northern half of the US in about a month. And the vaccination rates here are higher than in the US (completely vaccinated: US 58.5%, Germany 67.1%, Netherlands 64.8%, Austria 64.9%, Denmark 75.7% - numbers are based on NPR and ECDC; there are slightly different numbers für the European countries depending on the source I look at, but the general picture is clear, I think.)

Given those vaccination numbers and what is happening here (see below) I believe that parts of the US Midwest are quite likely to be hit hard by a next wave at the end of the year with current vaccination rates of 53.9% (Michigan), 52.3% (Ohio) or 50.1% (Indiana). And even the high vaccination rates in the New England states (e.g. Vermont 71.8%) could not be enough to prevent a next wave without at least some countermeasures against transmissions beeing in place.


Germany is back into exponential growth. The seven-day-R-value in Germany has been fairly constant at about 1.2 since mid October. However the growth rates differ between the states by their vaccination rates (from 57.4% fully vaccinated in Saxony to 79.1% in Bremen). I have calculated the correlation between vaccination rates and 7-day-infection-rate of the 16 German states, the results were r = -.78, p < .001. The steepest rise was in Saxony with an increase in infections over one month of nearly 500% and in Thuringia with about 400% (RKI).

The states with lower vaccination rates, Saxony (57.4%), Thuringia (61.4%), Bavaria (65.4%), and Baden-Wuerttemberg (65.5%), report massive problems with their hospitals due to shortages in intensive care capacity. Currently, they are able to compensate this with transfers to other hospitals within state but they expect to be forced to transfer patients to other states soon. There are on a regular basis reports from different states about outbreaks in nursing homes with half a dozen fully vaccinated (2x) inhabitants dying of covid.

This development has happened within the following regulatory framework: Germany has maintained mask mandates in public places (however not in most schools). For many situations, e.g. bars and restaurants, there has been a rule of "3G" (geimpft, genesen, getestet = vaccinated, recovered in the last 6 months, recently tested), although there are increasing regulations with "2G" (only vaccinated or recovered, no entry for unvaccinated). There are no vaccination mandates, e.g. for the healthcare sector.

It is not clear yet which additional measures will be implemented. There is talk about possibly changing to "2G+" (only vaccinated or recovered, but both with an additional recent test) and about reintroducing home office mandates for business.


The Netherlands had stopped most countermeasure (mask mandates, social distancing) on September, 25, but has reintroduced those measures after seeing a strong increase in infections. This weekend they opted for a partial lockdown (e.g. shops and restaurants closing at 8:00 pm, max 4 visitors at home, home office if possible) - an announcement that has lead to massive public protests (France24).


In Austria with a higher incidence than in Germany some states are imposing a lockdown for unvaccinated persons. It is planned to extend this lockdown for the unvaccinated nationwide (France24).


Denmark with its high vaccination rate hasn't had problems on the scale of the other countries mentioned above. They lifted their restrictions mid-September but a recent surge of infections has forced them to reconsider reintroducing some countermeasures (CNN).

Of course, the vaccination rates between Europe and the US can't be compared without adjustments because e.g. the rates of natural immunity due to a prior infection can be different. But nevertheless, there are many parts of the northern half of the US with vaccinations rates so low that it seems unlikely that they will not have a massive infection wave. And Denmark with its very high vaccination rate shows that even the high vaccination rates in the New England states probably won't be enough without additional countermeasures to escape the next wave.

Speaking of Stag Hunts

"What are the multiple worlds with which it is compatible? Which worlds that we previously thought possible have been ruled out by this new information?"

Thanks for spelling it out like this, that is quite helpful for me. Even though the idea behind it was clear to me before, I intend to implement those two specific questions more into my thinking routines.

Betting That the S&P 500 Will Drop Over 30 Percent (i.e. Below 3029)

"Yeah, that's exactly how I look at it: The benchmark is the index, not cash. So I would see it as a 30 percent gain."

Why? If you are right you have 100% compared to 70% someone has who's position has lost 30%. Isn't that 42.9% more?

How should I behave ≥14 days after my first mRNA vaccine dose but before my second dose?

Maybe figure 1 of this article: Antibody Responses in Seropositive Persons after a Single Dose of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccine could be helpful. I think relevant are the blue dots (for persons seronegative before the first vaccine).

Since the antibody reaction is on a log scale I would be more confident after 28 days than after 14 days based on that graph. But the n for the different time ranges (days after vaccine) are much too small to be sure, of course (and I am not a medical expert).

Forcing yourself to keep your identity small is self-harm

I agree that "Keep your identity small" is too general as advice. But the problem Graham has adressed regarding identity is an important one.

So I would propose:

  1. Keep you political identity small. Because as soon as you strongly identify with a specific political group your ability to see reality relatively clearly can be greatly diminished, because politics has opinions about a great amount and variety of topics.

  2. Know your identities and try to realize that you opinions about the world in those areas that are relevant for you identities can be much more biased than in other areas.

  3. Try to have multiple social identities / group memberships because of their protective effects (e.g. Haslam et al., 2008; Iyer et al., 2009).

Why We Launched LessWrong.SubStack

Is this move permanent or just for the short term? Because your main expense should become quite cheap in the future due to a changing supply side.

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