All of Daniel S's Comments + Replies

I would like to see predictions (or just analysis) on what the "steady state" might look like given no new variant. At what level do cases/day stop dropping? I would find this important from a "what is my background risk likely to look like throughout the year" perspective, but also because it seems like an interesting modelling question.

My first take would be to look at late June 2021 (~3.5/100k/day, not adjusted for testing) as a baseline, but should we expect it to go even lower since we have high vaccination rates + more natural immunity in the populat... (read more)

Trevor Bedford took a crack at estimating the steady state back in October (so pre-Omicron). He came up with estimates of 20-30% of the population infected annually and deaths of 40K-100K per year in the US. . Unfortunately, he didn't show enough of his work for me to understand where the 20-30% number comes from. Deaths is just multiplying number of infections by IFR. The big question mark here is whether high risk people will continue to get boosters; Bedford is guessing yes. Here is my own attempt to estimate number of infections. I googled "how long does covid acquired immunity last" and looked for useful studies. My impression is that no one really knows, but experts generally give numbers in a range of 6 months - 5 years, and tend to center their guesses on 2-3 years. (Since this is presumably an exponential decay process, it isn't crazy to think that we could have estimates on the half life of immunity, even though the disease has only been around 2 years.) A very naive guess would then be to expect people to get infected every 2-3 years, so 30-50% of the population each year. But life is better than this! The infectious period is about 5 days, so if the natural immunity period is 2 years then one can't expect more than (5 days)/(2 years) = 0.6% of the population to be infected at a time. In a population with only 0.6% infected, one could live a 2019 lifestyle for months or probably years -- without getting infected. And this forms a virtuous cycle where the small number of infected people means one can go on longer without being infected. I didn't attempt to solve for equilibrium in the mathematical sense, but 3-5 years between infections doesn't seem crazy. If people kept getting boosters, the numbers would be much better. And we could start timing them to the seasonality of the disease, just like with the flu. To me personally, it is clear that the cost-benefit of getting a COVID booster every Fall fo

Where can I access this for my profile on Metaculus? I have everything unlocked but don't see it in the options.

Go to your profile page. (Will be something like{some number}/). Then in the track record section, switch from Brier Score to "Log Score (continuous)"

This comment is intended more as a small aside rather than a sweeping comment, but for me personally the signal:noise ratio on these posts has gotten somewhat lower recently - still a much higher ratio than most sources.

I have been a consistent reader and found them extremely valuable. What I find valuable generally are the "status update" portions that contextualize changing cases/deaths/etc, the "evidence rundown" portions that discuss emerging evidence (such as the Long Covid section of this post), the specific predictions, and to some extent discussion... (read more)

Also, some comments at MR suggest that the situation is more complicated. If I understand it correctly, there are things you need to do in order to enter the country, and things you need to do in order to participate in the tournament... and while he did the latter (by getting an exception, but anyway), he failed to do the former.
I’m still finding these very useful at their current frequency. EDIT: I should add, much of what I’m getting here is learning to appreciate the way Zvi thinks and his Not Covid section this time around was pretty good. The silver-lining of the pandemic for me is that my epistemic reasoning has improved substantially, and I have a renewed appreciation for good science communication. This is a real word scenario where we all have skin in the game and decisions have consequences. It’s an island of learning opportunities in a sea of dystopian tragedy, yes. But I really enjoy the visits to the island a few days a week. It’s at least a break from treading water in the sea.
Personally I think the repetition is OK, not least because many people don't have time to read all the posts, nor in full (e.g. I don't); and I expect many new readers will only read one or two posts, and it's potentially useful that they see such egregious examples at least once, to get the gist.

I'm interested in predictions for where in cases/day this rapid decline stops (or steadies out for the medium term). I think different underlying causes for the drop yield different answers.

If "we've reached a vax+infection herd immunity" is to be believed, then we'd expect cases to bottom out pretty low barring any new variants/immune escape yes?

Most other causes yield more depressing answers. If this is behavioral changes or lack of testing I'd expect very little in terms of getting to low absolute case levels. Seasonality perhaps?

The entire turnaround j... (read more)

I believe the anti-intimacy Olympic beds are not a thing - or at least, I've been convinced that it's just a strange bed design and not an anti-covid measure in itself: