This is a follow up to some questions about this https://mikezintel.wordpress.com/2020/09/10/covid-19-by-the-numbers-sept-2020/, some analysis of these numbers, and (rare for me) some concrete predictions.
The formula for chance of dying from an event is chance of dying, as measured, per unit of exposure (hour, mile, flight, dive) x units of exposure. Skydiving and mountain climbing are fantastically dangerous per unit of exposure, but the average the death toll is tiny because so few people do these things.
Driving is much safer, but the average probability of dying much higher to higher exposure.
The mortality rate – the chance of dying from Covid 19, over the last 8 months has been 0.06%, or 1 in 1833.
That’s 330,000,000 / 180,000. It’s not CFR, or IFR, or a model, or a prediction.
It a backward looking measurement of what actually happened.
Now 1 in 1833 is still a little scary for me. But remember, in March the experts were predicting “up to”3%, (1 in every 34 people) and policy was made based on that.
Globally, if you believe the numbers, which you shouldn’t, the probability of death is 0.013%, or 1 in 8152.
For context, in the USA, over a year, the probability of dying in
Auto accident, 0.01%, or 1 in 9805.
Flu, 0.01% or 1 in 9661 (2018-19).
Cancer, 0.19% or 1 in 551.
Heart disease, 0.2%, or 1 in 504.
Now averages over large populations have serious limitations. If you are under 20, and in classroom, your chance of dying of Covid 19 is easily less than 1/100’th the average. If you are over 75 and in a New York nursing home under Comrade Cuomo’s regime, it was even money with surviving a firing squad or the Titanic’s maiden voyage as cook.
But consider the year: masks don’t work, masks are the only thing that works, the Grocery Dance, Karen, work from home (“work” from home as I used to say), lockdowns, bankruptcies, a spike in overdoses, suicides, depression, anxiety, debt and fraud on an Old Testament scale.
Was it all worth it? Did we win? What did we win? Are we still winning?
Now, let’s get to the hard stuff. What happens next?
To answer we need to know this:
What is backward looking death rate once infected? Will it remain constant?
How many are infected? How many have recovered? How many have immunity?
How many have to acquire immunity to stop the little bastard dead in it’s tracks?
What are the patterns of spread? Do we have any control over them?
Is a safe and effective vaccine coming, or should we just fly to Russia and mainline some Putin Juice we get on the street? (I have no clue)
Committees of government experts assume the IFR (death rate once one has the disease) will remain constant, that the thing will not ever stop – it is The Terminator – until 70% are infected and recovered.
Now, we’re going to have to use some noisy PCR data, which I’ll note may be mostly noise at this point:
6,600,000 positive test results. Assume this means immunity. That’s 2% of the population. So far, 190,000 have died, and to get to the needed 70% we’ll need another 230,000,000 million people to test positive, which will kill 6,621,000 more people.
Bad news. Fauci’s line is currently in “the millions”.
Is this likely to happen?
Around the world (except in places in the geometric rise phase) we’re seeing positive tests go way up, and deaths in the absolute go down, and deaths/M go way down. What is happening? Perhaps we’re getting better at isolating the vulnerable, or better at treating it, or it’s having a harder time traveling, or it’s exhausting the supply of vulnerable and is a mild illness in everyone else, or maybe the masking et. al. is working. Perhaps the PCR is crap.
Regardless of the cause, the lethality of this thing continues to decline. Sharply. So the 6,000,000 is likely high by maybe 5,500,000 or so.
Now maybe it’s the social masking. It’s hard to prove that it isn’t. But strangely the curves in different countries, with different policies and varying levels of compliance, are nearly identical. And Sweden’s curve, having never masked, barely doing the Grocery Dance, and not closed schools, is also identical.
But maybe masking and dancing and sacrificing virgins to volcanoes works. In which case we’re on track to do it for another decade.
I have often noted the odd “stops at 35%” phenomena. First on cruise ships and navy ships. In fact, there are few populations that have reached 35% outside of small high groups, that have not seem infections fall. Not just deaths, but infections/immunity. It seems – maybe – that herd immunity, or something, stops it long before 70%.
This observation has required some leaps of math, with huge margins of error. There are lots of weak indicators that the infection has already travelled much further than positive test indicate.
But if you trust 1 PCR as positive as 1 immunity, and you believe positive rate numbers tell you if you sample is large enough, then the thing has burned out at 10% infected, or we stopped it with the virgins in volcanoes.
I don’t believe them, and think we’re somewhere in the 25% range.
But this is pulling the magic 35% lower.
So far, in writing about Covid 19, I have not made many predictions. I have observed patterns and tried to model them, and worked on various hypothesis as to what dominant variables might be, hopefully working toward a functional model of what does and does not work in practice. What I have noticed is that committees of government experts are always wrong, always in the same direction, and often by the same magnitude. Indeed, the probability of a committee of government experts being wrong is better than even money. In an odd, unexpected development, banks’ research depts have been consistently doing far better than committees of government experts, or Dr. Fauci, who we honor as a saint of science.
Predictions are dangerous, with a faulty model and noisy data. Throwing caution to the wind:
1. Sturgis will not be a super-spreader event. The death toll will be low.
2. Places that have successfully maintained full suppression will find it increasingly difficult to maintain for another year. The price to be paid will be closed boarders.
3. Places that lost control, and Sweden, that experienced exactly the same 4 month geometric spike, flat top / slow decline and then geometric decline will not see the same magnitude wave again, unless a very important dominant variable changes. A lot.
4. The dominant variables will be population density, local travel patterns, global travel in/out patterns, average age, policy around effectively protecting the vulnerable, healthcare systems.
5. Social Masking, the Grocery Dance, Authoritarian Karenism and restrictions on surfing will not be dominant variables, except if you are effectively implementing full suppression.
6. Once 1% of the population is infected, full suppression cannot be achieved outside of China.
7. Herd immunity will not require 70% infected. I’ve been predicting 35%, but now I think it might be lower.
8. Ten years from now, we will look back at this year as a bizarre synchronized cult-like global mania.
9. A random number generator, seeded with the average time of an eyeblink of 100 random people, randomized by multiple atomic level observations, will be vastly more accurate than anything Neil Ferguson says.
Or I could be wrong. About everything, and might die from an unsanitized credit card reader.