I have increasingly believed in the following thesis: the heavily affected patients and regions (Wuhan, Lombardy, 53-year-old fat Prague Uber driver) were infected by a much larger amount of viruses to start with, and that's why their disease is more serious.— Luboš Motl (@lumidek) March 28, 2020
You know, the troubled spots, e.g. in Wuhan and Lombardy, seemed to have a higher fatality. But it's the first Czech "domestic" infection, the 53-year-old obese Uber driver (who is receiving Remdesivir with some first good news after 3 days or so), that has hugely provoked my pattern recognition instincts. Why a cab driver (who also rents a house, perhaps via Airbnb)? He's surely confined much of the time and he could have met very many customers. They may be spluttering at him for a long time and he can't defend himself.
So I posted that tweet yesterday. LindyCat, a user, quickly led me to a "soulmate", a Virginia (George Mason Univ.) economist named Robin Hanson who posted the following, among other things:
To explain COVID-19 CRF vary by region, people invoke selection effects, differing strain severity, medical sys overload. But my guess of biggest effect: IT'S THE DOSE DUMMY. Dose/deaths high if catch at home via family, low if via train station handrail. https://t.co/2bDq5e0MWJ— Robin Hanson (@robinhanson) March 25, 2020
It's the dose dummy. Clearly, Hanson independently ended up with the same hypothesis.
He went further than me, however, and found some papers:
Dose effect on mortality is factor of 3-20: https://t.co/Zns8FxCJ0Fhttps://t.co/hd933fBWWmhttps://t.co/hRcuCXyylM— Robin Hanson (@robinhanson) March 25, 2020
More cites on dose effects on outcomes:https://t.co/PAboe07Y0Phttps://t.co/y3iIRT3hQXhttps://t.co/kyfzCm2tiKhttps://t.co/wj4tNoEmgo
The dependence of the risk of death on the viral dose could be substantial, a factor of 3-20, and he's found several papers that did discuss the effect of the dose of the viruses (in some older viral diseases: SARS, measles, dogs' and animals' diseases). Naively, you think that one virus is always an equally good start of the infection. But it may be wrong. One virus needs a long time to reproduce and become a substantial colony. When you start with thousands or millions of viruses, the disease may be far more rapid and harder to defend against. According to some measures, the virus behind COVID-19 is capable of shedding much higher doses of copies of the virus than some seemingly similar viruses.
But look at these two followup tweets he wrote:
If so, lockdowns may have perverse effect of increasing ave infection dose, via more infect via family & less via train station handrail, etc. May kill 10x more that way!— Robin Hanson (@robinhanson) March 25, 2020
And big dosage effects offer big argument for deliberate infection (DI) - you can control the dose and make it the very smallest that way. This in addition to DI helps flatten curve, ensure critical personnel, allow controlled study, etc.— Robin Hanson (@robinhanson) March 25, 2020
He also wrote a blog post about these matters. As your humble correspondent, he defends the intentional infection of the younger people to increase the herd immunity which would particularly help if the dosage matters. The controlled infection could start with a minimal, and therefore a maximally safe, dose but it could end up with a full-blown immunity. See his explanations.
The Italian families may give huge doses to their senior members exactly because they're being squeezed to very small spaces and it's these doses that may be so lethal. The lockdowns may have a very negative effect and they may actually increase the fatality counts, perhaps by an order of magnitude.
Just look at the empirical data, they may make a preliminary but quite a strong case for these assertions. Japan had its first COVID-19 cases on January 14th. It avoided lockdowns of adults and national emergencies – except for a temporary closure of schools – and it has 52 deaths as of now. Italy, a smaller nation, actually started to see the disease later, on January 29th, has closed almost everything in the affected areas almost immediately (and declared the national lockdown rather soon, too), and has 10,000 deaths by now.
Thank God, a City that doesn't sleep hasn't fallen yet although the hysterical sheeps and tyrants have wanted to permanently hibernate it including the Astoria park.
A problem is that in most of our nations, the people who should be elites are not elites at all and they are completely failing to discuss these topics rationally. They have joined the instinctive irrational behavior of the most unhinged emotional masses of fanaticized morons. This herd instinct dictates "hide in the closed spaces" so all these individuals, despite their sometimes impressively sounding degrees, are promoting such policies. But these policies may very well make all the problems worse and perhaps much worse.
In particular, I think that even these memes promoted by Bill Gates – with self-evidently predetermined conclusions that "social distancing" is helpful – are atrocious medieval pseudoscience. They just study a graph-like model of the spreading infection that has absolutely no reason to have anything to do with the real world. In particular, the actual distances between the people and doses are completely neglected. In fact, similar "research" doesn't really care about the empirical data at all. It is just some rationalization of predetermined conclusions that may be complete superstitions and perhaps very harmful ones.
If you're a leader of a country, I intensely urge you to ban any restrictions on people's motion outside their houses and apartments. There is absolutely no evidence that such restrictions make the situation better. Instead, there is emerging, so far not quite conclusive, evidence that the confinement of the people into closed spaces makes the fatality count worse and perhaps much worse.
And that's the memo.
Again, the Italo Disco song may be a good model of the Italian families. Try to think about the similarity between this video and what's happening to most Italians of various ages. Estimate the dosages. Clearly, the viral dosage absorbed by each human is much higher than when the people are coughing at random places in nature, for example. And the "doctor" makes the conditions much worse, not better.
The Czech conditions are a bit healthier, as shown in this well-known song enumerating about 20 unhealthy habits and 50 diseases.
"I am your old age, invite me home." Michael Kocáb may be a globalist but he's still been a luxurious musician. See a playlist of his Prague Selection Band songs.