Covid 9/17: It’s Worse

Good points Dagon.

See also this marginal revolution comments section, where several comments do show their work. Different conclusions, but this way of arguing for is more effective for finding the option that saves most lives in expectation.

Covid 9/10: Vitamin D

So you are suggesting that the mechanism between the vitamin D pills and the outcome might not be through resolving vitamin D deficiency but some other more specific pathway.

Does that update is as to the robustness of the study?

Covid 9/10: Vitamin D

You’re right, thanks for that. I removed that sentence and changed the tone a bit.

Covid 9/10: Vitamin D
There were also a number of risk factors where the treatment and control groups had significant differences, most notably diabetes (present in 2.5x as many patients in the control group).

Firstly, two risk factors were more common among the treatment groups: <60 years of age, immunosuppressed & transplanted. Secondly, 3 treatment group patients (6%) were diabetic and 5 control (19.23%) were. Let us take the most generous assumptions for your position, and say that the 3 patients with diabetes in the treatment group did not require ICU and that the 5 in control group all required ICU. This is a strong assumption (aka unlikely).

With these generous assumptions, the study results are now that 1/47 patients in treatment required ICU and that 8/21 in control required. The p value remains .0001. *In order to achieve a p<.05 the lack of blinding/fuzziness would must have failed to send 16 of the 46 treatment group members to the ICU.* That is still not likely without deliberate fraud.

Covid 9/10: Vitamin D

Zvi has repeatedly cited a paper arguing that the FDA kills more people by preventing effective treatments than it saves by preventing bad treatments. Not having followed that link personally, the results suggest that pub health statisticians are miscalibrated in expectation.

One explanation for why pub health statisticians are miscalibrated in a causing-death-by-inaction direction is that they are punished for deaths caused by action but not deaths caused by inaction. I’m this model, conservatism (aka miscalibration toward inaction) is a result of the lived and publicized experiences of people in the field. This seems a great explanation for both the experts norms and the paper results.

Are you contesting that statisticians are miscalibrated in expectation in the utility they cause?

I think the “Bailey to your Motte” is that people are bad at predicting who they might infect, so this advice could lead to greater deaths. I think Zvi could have phrased it more carefully. But the broader point needed emphasis, that we are loosing so much for something we could fix. And that fix might not be so hard. That point is more important than quibbling one darn sentence. A tool to estimate COVID risk from common activities

Interesting. The study discusses fatigue. Do we know if the fatigue is caused by reduced lung capacity or by the hormones/neuro stuff our body does to conserve energy while sick. If reduced lung capacity is a big part of that 1/5 I would update upward on permanent lung capacity rate. A tool to estimate COVID risk from common activities

One way to bound the risk of long term consequences is to assume the long term consequences will be less severe than the infection itself. So if 1% of people in their 20's experience reduced lung capacity during infection, you can assume that less than 1% will have permanently reduced lung capacity. I have never heard of a disease which was worse after you recover than before.

I suspect that some people are hesitant to discuss the rate of long term consequences for young covid patients for fear of encouraging people not to social distance. But then the cost is a loss of trust between people and the information provider.

Status for status sake is a fact of political life

The commonness of the behavior suggests that most people can't help but seek it. The Jefferson Davis case certainly suggests that leaders do not reject status for its own sake. The self-esteem-seeking explanation from Bucky addresses your question.

I'm agnostic about why they do so. In the same way an economist might be agnostic about why people like having more goods and services.

Status for status sake is a fact of political life

That makes sense. I had no theories about why they seek status so hard. Now I have an interesting one.

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