My Musings on the Coronavirus (Covid-19)

I’ve been in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand since right before public knowledge. At the time, it was just prior to Chinese New Year and there were tens of thousands of Chinese tourists here. Yet, I’ve never been concerned about it and to my mind, the only truly new strain of “virus” is a confluence of three general things:

  1. A fully developed Internet and its chief manifestation, social media
  2. The global, politicized leftist/socialist media
  3. Trump Derangement Syndrome

The last big thing of this type was the 2009/10 swine flu, which infected an estimated 1 billion people globally and killed upwards of a half million. Of course, this new gig is infecting and killing people too, and it’s still early, relatively.

But in no way does it justify the literal absurd hysteria we’re seeing on a global scale, and I attribute this to items 1, 2, and 3, above. I’ve never seen anything like it. People young and old seemingly have no memories or learned experiences anymore, beyond their quotidian social “news” feeds. Each day is a new day of ridiculous information, and nothing else matters. There’s no past—that’s way down the feed—only what’s coming out now. Quick, update the feed.

It’s all a stark manifestation of Trump Derangement Syndrome, where no cost is too great to purge the planet of this non-politician who doesn’t necessarily march to conventional entrenched political-party norms. The entire world hates him as the disruptor he is, and are apparently willing to endure any hardship, including job and business loss, to create realities of hardship and foreboding that don’t exist.

Compare it to the non-hysteria of 2009/10, when social media was just ramping up to be a significant part of everyday life for almost everyone, young and old. Plus, Black Jesus was president, and that’s a boat that could never be rocked, even had that virus taken the lives of a billion, or more.

Praise Black Jesus.

When it all came out, I looked at CDC info. The estimate was for an overall death rate of about 3%. That’s greater than influenza, but it’s also an early estimate. Also, the prediction was that it would take the old and sick, infants without developed immune systems, and the otherwise severely immunocompromised—pretty much like everything else. And that’s how it’s panning out. Even with the worst estimates I’ve seen of a mortality rate of 27% for those over 80, that means that 73% kick its ass, albeit under great discomfort.

But if you look at this thing by age breakdown, you see that for the healthy and young, under 40, it’s a 99.99% in dealing it an ass kicking.

Yet looking around, it’s the young and dumb who seem to be the most hysterical and cautious. Why? Because social media has created a 24/7 world of Virtue Signaling Olympics—each displaying more faux concern, thoughtfulness, caring, circumspection, deliberation, and caution than the rest. And it goes on from there, such that there’s nothing really new to say, so it becomes comment threads that are 90% “me too,” a bizarre menagerie of the banal and the boring—faux virtue signaling faux virtue. And the only offset anymore is not counter-balancing rational judgment, but faux outrage at anything that goes against the prescribed faux virtue.

What a fucking mess. And everyone is full of shit.

Fortunately, there still exists deliberate sobriety and rationality.

Corona Is Slowing Down, Humanity Will Survive, Says Biophysicist Michael Levitt

But then, the trend changed. When Levitt started analyzing the data on February 1, Hubei had 1,800 new cases each day and within six days this number reached 4,700, he said. “And then, on February 7, the number of new infections started to drop linearly and did not stop. A week later, the same happened with the number of the deaths. This dramatic change in the curve marked the median point and enabled better prediction of when the pandemic will end. Based on that, I concluded that the situation in all of China will improve within two weeks. And, indeed, now there are very few new infection cases.”,7340,L-3800632,00.html

Ironically, I began seeing this around the same time with my layman, dot-connecting eyes. I noted that the lame media generally only reports 2 data points: infections and deaths (because initially, both grow in exponential manner and this serves the scaremongering agenda). When I noted this around that time, I went looking for the other data point: recoveries. That grows exponentially as well, but goes counter to the scarative, so it’s not often reported.

At the time, as I recall, there were about 11,000 infections in China, 500 deaths, and 500 recoveries. So, death and recovery were 1 for 1. A week later? Deaths had grown a little, but recoveries had grown by a factor of more than 10, such that recoveries now outpaced deaths by 10 to 1. And it’s far greater now and will continue.

So that’s about all. For what good it will do.

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  1. Zach Bush on March 16, 2020 at 09:56

    Excellent point about non-reporting of recoveries.

  2. Anand Srivastava on March 17, 2020 at 04:03

    The only problem is that your post is ignoring the high death rate 2% at a minimum, and the fact that a huge number of people (5%-10%) need ICUs. Which has been overwhelming hospitals. This happened in Wuhan, and is now happening in Italy. Other nations that have been ignoring it will follow. Not sure how the hot climate affects it. It seems that the people in hot climates will be able to avoid it. None of the epidemics in the past few decades have done this. If there will be less deaths, it will be because people panicked and avoided meeting people, and the fact that technology has advanced enough to provide supportive breathing. In the beginning of the 20th century it would have been a disaster. I am sort of amused to see the west trying to save their economy rather than spending money to get better prepared to handle the developing disaster.

    • Derg on March 20, 2020 at 15:23

      Anand we don’t know the denominator in the death rate. We have no idea. We have no idea how many people contracted it and recovered.

      We have no idea.

  3. Gary J. on March 17, 2020 at 05:39

    I hope this does turn out to be an over reaction, but only time will tell.

    I will observe that the ruling class in China seems primarily driven by the desire to stay in power. And one of the principle ways they have done that, and avoided significant social discontent over their authoritarian ways, is to deliver good economic growth. Full employment is the opiate of the masses. And yet, when this virus started to take off, the response was rather draconian. They locked down 100 million people, and dealt their economy a significant blow, risking the thing they very much wanted to avoid, popular discontent. That response doesn’t fit with this being a flu-like illness that kills a small percentage of mostly older folks. I have to wonder what they saw that made them react so strongly? I seriously doubt that they took these actions because of Trump Derrangement Syndrome, or hysterical reporting by the leftist media in the West.

    That they appear to have gained control is reassuring. But we will still have to see what happens to the numbers once they restart their economy. And can we really be sure that they are accurately reporting events on the ground?

    • Richard Nikoley on March 17, 2020 at 08:17

      Decent thinking and analysis in my view.

      I think their reaction is to stay in Donald’s good graces.

      He has been very harsh but very fair with them.

      They respect him and that shocks the fuck out of them.

      They r was pect

  4. Mark on March 18, 2020 at 14:40

    But muh exponential growth!


    Article makes some great points about adaptation changes, etc.

    So much Dunning-Kruger going on in social media. Especially tech bros who think because they can create a FOR loop and some JavaScript front end, that they are all knowing about epidemiology.

    • Mark on March 18, 2020 at 14:42

      Anyways, excellent take and thanks for posting. Was curious about your thoughts on it.

      For awhile when I was overtaken with the panicDEMIC I wondered you were laid up with a horrible fever somewhere in rural Thailand, too sick to double bang like you’re required.

      And that was sad.

      So sad.

  5. Natasha on March 21, 2020 at 22:19

    You picked an awesome time to leave North America Richard, wow! Brilliant. It should also be safer in SEA. Can you imagine all of California on lockdown? Where I am in Canada, it’s bad. So many people sick, like I have not seen before. I would like to side with the, it’s an “over reaction” but it’s already moot. The bigger problem is that the economy will grind to a halt. So whether or not this was just a flu or not, real people are going to lose homes, jobs and families.

    • Stan on March 30, 2020 at 13:05

      The government of Thailand has been locking things down too.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 30, 2020 at 23:04

        Yep, Ive been in country since Jan 16.

        Simple math numbers crunching can be fun.

        Here’s some perspective. Thailand (where I currently live) has a population of 69 million. Each year, 7-8 people per 1,000 die of something (old age, heart disease, cancer, accidents, influenza, pneumonia, diabetes, etc.). That’s about 520,000 people dead each year.

        The first Corona case reported in Thailand was January 12, 2020. 78 days later, and a GRAND TOTAL of 9 years people have died of Corona. Over the same 78 days, about 110,000 have died in Thailand of everything else.

  6. VW on March 22, 2020 at 04:50

    In large part, I agree with most of this. My problem is that the train has left the station and the economic disaster that is about to play out cannot be stopped. I do not know what can be done to halt what is going to happen in America over the coming weeks.

    I have many friends who own small businesses. They’re about to be broke and somewhat without direction. Not all of them have a comfortable nest egg.

    The downtown I work in is now a ghost town. My city is in the top 15 in the country in terms of population, and it used to have an extremely busy and thriving downtown (way back in early March 2020). This past week, I’ll work a bit and then get out and walk a bit. During lunchtime last Friday, I walked for about half an hour downtown and didn’t see 10 people outside. It’s crazy.

    We’re supposed to be working towards telecommuting, and the people I supervise are and I’m not saying a single, solitary judgemental thing to them about it, but I’m going to continue working in my office. I’m sure our building will get closed down soon, and I’ll have to stay home to work.

    • Bret on March 24, 2020 at 02:20

      VW, fwiw I am optimistic due to Trump being in office. He knows we cannot endure long shutdowns, and I am confident he is aggressively & tirelessly cracking the whip behind the scenes on the pharmaceutical and testing fronts, and will jump start it again ASAP.

      Can you imagine how completely and utterly fucked we would be if Hillary Clinton was in office? Or a future Joe Biden?

      I know that probably sounds cliché, but I mean it 100%. That won’t erase the pain of lost revenue/income, but I don’t think it will be long.

    • Bret on March 24, 2020 at 03:45

      Course I just realized, being the pretentious cock that I am, that not everyone lives in the US and may not identify with that sentiment. But I think his administration’s actions & impact will influence the rest of the world as well.

  7. cman on April 2, 2020 at 21:11

    You know, if everyone wore a mask we could all carry on with our economic lives with minor disruption. We’ve been here before with HIV but everyone just wore condoms and life carried on pretty much as before.

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