The Ethics of the Coronavirus

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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13 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    The virus is patient.

    People are talking about a second wave and many are making the point that we’re still in the first wave.

    What was the original projection made a million years ago? Two million people dead because of this thing?

    We’re at 5% of that.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      There have been some Magic 8-Ball missteps, but the two million figure assumed minimal action on our part. It was foolish to promote that number because *of course* people would take action (whether the government required it or not). But it is not a good benchmark of success.Report

      • Avatar Reformed Republican in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        Not to mention, models are based on assumptions (transmission rates, mortality rates, rate of asymptomatic transmission). Just because a model said two million dead does not mean we would actually have had two million with no action. There is really no way to confirm that number, because you cannot do a control experiment. I imagine if you made a model using what we know now, starting at time 0 (way back when), if would look different than those earlier models, and probably closer to what really would have happened without taking action.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        We crushed the curve in the economy while we only flattened the curve with our behaviors.

        We’re going to get to herd immunity, like it or not. With or without a vaccine.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Herd immunity may well be where this ends up. in which case, likely more than that two million will die. Back of the envelope calculation (80% to get herd immunity, death rate of .5%) is roughly 12 million.

          That – and especially the fear surrounding that and alsotoo a lot of illness along the way some lifelong – will be really bad for the economy.

          Which if that’s what has to happen, that’s what has to happen. I think maybe it does (I’ve been pretty loud on my views about schools and lockdowns through 2021 were always impossible). But it’s really quite unclear that herd immunity is “for the economy”, as some would have it.

          Maybe also not something we should resign ourselves to on the fourth month.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman
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            says:

            We may be fortunate in that some folks seem to have some inherent immunity or resistance to it.

            My sons spent several days with their mother while she was infected. Four of these were during her pre-symptomatic period and two after the onset of symptoms. I’ve seen some research that suggests people are not at all or only very mildly contagious absent symptoms, which may change the interpretation of this situation. All the same, they were in as close contact with her as possible: sharing a smallish home, her preparing their meals, giving them baths, tucking them into bed and snuggling them good night, etc.

            Two months later, they test negative for antibodies. Now, it is possible the tests are wrong. But I also tested negative and the three of us spent the next 16 days together. Which would mean that if their tests were wrong, my test was probably wrong, too. I’ve seen reports that the antibody test may only be 50% accurate. So we’re looking at a 12.5% chance of all of us being negative. Not impossible but pretty low.

            Why didn’t they (seem to) get it? Beats me. Luck? Fluke? Some genetic predisposition to not get it? I have a quasi-informed theory that kids are more resistant to it because the “common colds” they basically live with 6 months out of the year are from the family of Corona-viruses so maybe that helps them fight it off better?

            So there is a lot we still have to figure out with this whole thing. If kids just don’t or very rarely get it… well, then we’d never get to 80% infection rate. So the death toll would be lower. And if kids do get it and get it much more mildly than adults, than the fatality rate is going to be lower.

            Lots and lots and lots of ifs in there, undoubtedly.

            I hope that our response gets smarter… more scalpel then machete. Learn what works and doesn’t work to slow the spread. Learn who needs more protection and who doesn’t. I read that a hairdresser (in GA, I believe?) saw 140 clients while infected, but because they wore a mask, none of them became infected themselves. Holy shit… that is a big fucking deal. Let’s get everyone wearing masks when they’re indoors!

            We know that nursing homes can be disaster zones if the virus gets in. Let’s *NOT* do what NY/NJ did and maybe do what other states did to offer extra protection to those populations.

            There are options between “full lock down” and “totally open”. Let’s explore those and use them wisely, focusing on what, when, where, and who.Report

        • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Megan McArdle wrote a while back that even if we (or most of us) (or a goodly number of us) will get covid eventually, it’s better to get covid 6 months from now than to get it right now, because then we’ll have understood the virus and illness at least a little better.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    As I understand it, the virus does not spread so easily outdoors. The virus does spread easily in closed confined spaces. This is why the big outbreaks seem to be in places like cruises ships, offices, restaurants, choir practices, old age homes, bars/clubs. There might be some stuff about circulating air that helps spread the virus as well.

    The United States sort of took a half-assed approach to social distancing/lockdown. Part of this is because we have extreme disagreements over social spending/welfare compared to other countries combined with one party dedicated to nothing but own the libs.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    CoronaDave: What about that guy? No mask, elderly, overweight, in poor health. He’s like our dream host.

    CoronaBill: Are you kidding? He’s the best friend we’ve got.Report

  4. Avatar Brandon Berg
    Ignored
    says:

    CoronaSteve’s not even alive, and he’s still woke as fish.

    That’s not a euphemism. It’s just a well-known fact that fish are pretty fucking woke. Some don’t even have eyelids.Report

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