Wuhan Coronavirus: This is serious. Also: Fear is the mind killer.

in #coronaviruslast month

7,783 confirmed. 170 deaths. 133 recovered. (source)

My wife and I enjoyed a run in the open air this morning. No masks, no fear, no concern at all about our wellbeing, enjoying the beauty of Puerto Rico. Millions of people in China right now don't have that luxury. The rationing of masks, the 100-person lines to obtain them, the complete lockdown, the people fighting over rice in the market (I've seen videos that are not pleasant) all create a level fear I can barely comprehend.

First of all, be grateful.

Be thankful.

You are alive. Though we will all die someday, that is inevitable, and we cannot control when it happens, living in fear will kill our soul while still breathing, walking, talking, and existing. This virus is very, very serious. There are rational reasons to take serious precautions. That said, fear does not serve you.

Fear: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

To quote Frank Herbert of Dune:

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

This is not a time for negative emotion. This is a time for facts, data, and reasoned logic. This is a time to help each other and protect ourselves.

Please, don't give in to fear. We are a species of miracles. We go to the moon with less technology than my phone. We navigate the globe using wind and sails and oars. We are exploring the infinite cosmos from our little blue dot along with the fractally connected infinitely small quantum realm.

We got this.

You got this.

Previous post on Wuhan Coronavirus: Wuhan Coronavirus: Can you separate fact from fiction?

Sites I'm using to track things:

Sharing a Facebook post from my friend @sean-king:

Despite what has been described as “draconian” and “unprecedented” interventions, spread of the novel Wuhan coronavirus STILL remains on its exponential growth trend (slightly ahead of the exponential “prediction” in the chart below). India and the Philippines have now reported their first cases, bringing the total number of countries with infections to 22.

Multiple sources, even some medical journals, have now confirmed with some certainty that the virus can be spread even before symptoms appear, and the most reliable estimates are that each new carrier appears to infect between 2 and 3 others.

Given those things, and with nearly 8000 confirmed cases and likely 10 to 20 times more unconfirmed, this thing is now, baring a miracle cure or mutation, unstoppable. Multiple airlines have now cancelled all commercial flights to China; Russia, Hong Kong and other places have close their borders with China; China has placed entire regions (holding nearly 1 percent of the world’s population0 on lockdown), etc. But, the cat is out of the bag already and there’s no getting it back in.

The great uncertainty for me is still the actual mortality rate. Based only on confirmed cases that have been fully resolved, that number would appear to be greater than 50%. But, that’s almost certainly too high for reasons explained in previous posts. Likewise, the so-called “case mortality rate” (the number of deaths divided by total number of known cases, active and resolved), which is about 2.5%, is almost certainly way too low for reasons also previously explained (it will always be understated when cases are spreading exponentially but deaths tend to happen may days or even a couple weeks after exposure).

My best guess at this point is that actual mortality is somewhere between 5% and 15%, but only time will tell. SARS was about 10%. The ordinary flu is less than 0.1%. So, if the 10% figure is correct, then this thing is 100 times more deadly than the common flu.

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you should fear the ordinary flu as much or more than this novel virus. They are either ignorant or misleading you.

Baring a miracle, this thing is going to be the gravest health crisis of the last few generations and will remake entire economies and nations.


Diary of a woman in the Wuhan lockdown:

Powerful. Thank you for sharing.

Great info & analysis. I appreciate the mortality estimate as around 100x more deadly than flu.
The really scary thing is that:

  1. The true fatality rate can't be known for weeks or months;
  2. no one trusts the information out of Chinese authorities about number infected;
  3. Hong Kong and Thailand are super exposed and could be next to fall decimating global air travel.

Hong Kong now saying as many as 75,000 may be infected.

Latest News: https://nationalpost.com/news/world/coronavirus-live-updates-wuhan-virus-china-2019ncov

Thanks for sharing this information, I have become numb to all the over reaction so have been downplaying how dangerous the virus actually is. Ive been of the assumption the flu is just as dangerous because of ignorance and click bait reporting.

Its good to get information with numbers and clear explanations of assumptions to come to given solution thats written in a way thats easy to understand.

All that to say thanks for sharing.

I'm very happy to know friends like @sean-king who use their reason and logic when discussing highly emotional topics. I'm not about FUD, but I do think we need to better understand exponential systems to truly appreciate the potentials here.

Aren't we all overreacting just a little bit on this?

By what mechanisms would you determine your answer to this question? What comparisons should we be making? Should we compare against other linear growth examples or focus on exponential growth examples? Should we research previous epidemics that also had exponential growth characteristics such as the 1918 Spanish Flu?

It infected 500 million people around the world, including people on remote Pacific islands and in the Arctic. The death toll is estimated to have been 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million (three to five percent of Earth's population at the time), making it one of the deadliest epidemics in human history.

Should we consider SARS that was also growing exponentially but, thankfully, happened to be a rather weak virus and didn't survive long? What about how this virus spreads with no symptoms and how does that impact our models for contagion? How does our hyper-connected society with millions of people on flights every day change the distribution models?

Some might say we aren't reacting enough. Every day we get more information to tell us if our world is about to change forever or if this will blow over as a "wow, that was really close" event.

You give two options:

  1. "Our world is about to change"
  2. "Wow, that was really close event"

I propose a third one:

  1. "Look, classic FUD. Another media hype, which will dissolve in a few weeks"

Yes, it's bad. People die from ailments. Heart diseases, strokes, respiratory infections, cancer and diabetes take many casualties every single year. Why no panic over those?

Why no panic over those?

Many reasons, IMO. Are you familiar with what I linked to? 50 to 100 million people dying unexpectedly is a big deal. Heart disease and the like are known risks. People make life choices to engage with those risks. This is completely different. If you're comparing linear things to exponential things, you're not quite getting it.

It's possible this is just media hype. It could be media hype 50 times in row. The one time it's not, where people didn't probably prepare and take action, changes our world completely.

Pseudoscience to the rescue! The Indian government is recommending homeopathy:

It is very serious. Simple math would indicate it is far more serious than we are being told by the Chinese authoritarians and even the Western ones.

The overriding attitude I sense here in Australia is one of complacency. A kind of "It couldn't happen here" type of attitude which is of greatest concern. This is not SARS, or flu, or Ebola - it is something new and we have zero immunity.

Scientists in Hong Kong now estimate 75,000 people infected..... still nowhere near how many get the flu each year....


The flu has a less than 0.1% fatality rate. Huge numbers get it, a very small percentage die.
Coronavirus is equally or more contagious and 100x more deadly

Yeah. It is spreading quickly. I think I will avoid public transit for a few weeks. Just in case. I’m all set up for video and teleconferencing .... so really no need to leave the house for a few years. Many people can work from home these days. No need to drive or fly anywhere.