All of vidro3's Comments + Replies

April Coronavirus Open Thread

Thanks for this, I was not aware of the Bedford lab's work.

Wondering if you (or any other LW reader) has any thoughts on on the emotional aspect of this.

Seems folks are very attached to the idea that they had Covid-19 earlier than it was identified. It's starting to get into that 'can't be reasoned out of something they haven't reasoned into' area.

I'm curious why people are so adamant that an extremely unlikely scenario is actually the most likely explanation. But i guess this cuts across all kinds of mental models and not just covid-19.

4Spiracular1yI don't really know, I wouldn't do this. Here are a couple of possibilities that ran through my mind. * COVID's symptoms are basically "see: undefined flu-like symptoms." This might just be an equivalent of "I looked up my symptoms on WebMD and it's definitely cancer," only with COVID. * There was that revelation that Washington got it earlier than expected. Maybe they're pattern-matching blindly to this. It's really easy to do so, especially if there was another nasty flu or cold going around back then (which there probably was). * Motivated reasoning * People want an excuse to go about their life as normal (or to complain if they're not) * People especially hate taking the possibility of their own death seriously * Nobody wants to deal with the guilt of knowing that their "normal" actions may be endangering others (cough asymptomatic transmission), and they would rather believe something potentially-false than contend with that It's probably a mix of all three, or even more. With all due affection, I've heard that New Yorkers as a whole are fairly prone to contrarianism. So the frequency with which you're hearing this might also partially be local variance.
April Coronavirus Open Thread

I'm trying to formulate a response to, what at least in my circle of friends and acquaintances, is an increasing insistence that people had Covid-19 in November 2019.

If we assume someone did have Covid-19 in upstate NY for instance what else would have to be true?

I think mainly, that a novel virus made its way around the world without detection would be pretty major. And then it mutated in Wuhan, China unleashing this second, more virulent strain, meaning that the pattern of outbreak that we all witnessed beginning in Wuhan was some kind of 'sec... (read more)

TL;DR: No. The earliest I'd buy for pandemic-track COVID is early-to-mid December, and in China or maybe Australia. Otherwise, it'd have to be a non-pandemic substrain that died out early, and left no children behind except the first Wuhan strain. The theory loses in an Occam's Razor fight with "your friends probably had something else back then."

ETA: This post mentions a second independent line of evidence on the matter (using antibodies), and also dates the first COVID-19 cases to no earlier than December.

I'm going to be basing most of this on nextstrain

... (read more)
What should we do once infected with COVID-19?

is something like pedialyte a reasonable OTC solution for electrolytes or would you suggest mixing out own concoctions?

1romeostevensit1yeasy way is (per litre of water) 1 tsp nusalt or no-salt (potassium chloride) 1/2 tsp salt 1/8 tsp epsom salt (food grade) (it's okay to eyeball small amounts of this, high therapeutic index) 6 tsp sugar
3Elizabeth1yAFAIK Pedialyte is a perfectly good solution for the problem of electrolytes, if maybe on the expensive side. I've heard more complaints about its flavor than the other options, but if you know you like it that's not an issue. The liquid form is also bulky, so if it were me I'd get a powder or drops, but maybe you have lots of space in which case it doesn't matter.
March Coronavirus Open Thread

1) are we going to create some super-bacteria by using a ton of hand sanitizer and wipes?

2) Is this report of 40-70% infection rate world-wide reputable, realistic, useful?

In my view we don't know what percentage of infections result in a) symptoms, b) serious symptoms. It's pretty easy to take those estimates coupled with current death rates and get a result of 100million deaths due to COVID-19. That seems super extreme and unlikely to m... (read more)

5TobyBartels2y1. Alcohol and bleach are both extremely common in our current environment, so if it's possible to create these superbugs, then we should already be doing it, although this could speed up the process. And quick Google searches tell me that nothing is evolving resistance to bleach; but we are indeed creating alcohol-resistant superbugs that are starting to infest hospitals. So those may get worse.
March Coronavirus Open Thread

honestly have no idea what that all means. thanks for trying though.

1justin_dan2yR0 tells you how many others each person infects on average. So R0 is in one sense the measure of contagiousness--it just tells you how contagious people with the disease are on average. Consider two different diseases with the same R0, let's say R0 = 2. So each person on average infects 2 others. For the first disease, almost all patients infect exactly two others, but for the second, plenty infect two, many infect one, and a much smaller number infect 10 or even more others. So the average is the same, but the distribution is very different. Given some other assumptions, this paper shows that diseases more like disease one will end up infecting many more people in the end than diseases like disease two, even though they have the same R0. So it is important to understand the distribution of secondary infections in addition to the average when predicting the final outbreak size. Contact tracing (seeing who people with the disease came in contact with and checking to see whether they end up getting infected) allows epidemiologists to do that.
March Coronavirus Open Thread

Is it anticipated that COVID-19 will have more estimated cases than the seasonal flu? Would appreciate a link to supporting info.

Is R0 the best way of measuring contagiousness?

5justin_dan2ySomeone on Reddit linked to this preprint paper [] arguing that the other moments of the secondary infection curve (variance, skewness, kurtosis) can overwhelm the mean (i.e., the R0) in predicting the number of people ultimately infected. With a high variance, right-skewed, high kurtosis curve (loosely, with relatively few "super-infectors" bringing up the average), there are more chances for the outbreak to stochastically die out before those super-infectors get their chance to keep things going. The authors conclude that "higher moments of the distribution of secondary cases can lead a disease with a lower R0 to more easily invade a population and to reach a larger final outbreak size than a disease with a higher R0. " I'm not positioned to evaluate all of their arguments, but their reasoning based on the models they provided made sense as far as I could tell, using some assumptions that seemed fairly reasonable to this layperson. The practical consequence of this is that effective contact tracing in the early stages of an outbreak (before too many so-called "community spread" cases) would provide invaluable epidemiological data.
4Elizabeth2yR0 is not a great way of measuring contagiousness. For example, Ebola [] has an R0 of 1.5-2, and Influenza [] 1.1, but obviously many more people catch Influenza than Ebola. I don't know if this is the cause of the problem with these particular numbers, but in general, R0 is very much a compound function of disease and environment, and therefor doesn't tell you much about how contagious something will be if you change behavior.