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Thread: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    Speaking of the United States, the errors of the early response were not the product of one person, whether it be the President or any other one leader. I saw an article in The Atlantic recently saying that the coronavirus debacle is "Trump's Fault", an assertion ridiculous on its face. The debacle is the product of a country in denial as a whole - that these periodic epidemics break out elsewhere, but they'll never really harm the United States. SARS and Ebola both made it to our proverbial "front door". But then they subsided. We'd been repeatedly spared the worst, so why would coronavirus be any different? After all, this was yet another outbreak of an exotic, alien pathogen on the far side of the world.

    But this time was different, and having been spared repeatedly in the past, there was a denial that permeated virtually everything. This was exacerbated by inaccuracies and fabrications of a periodically hostile foreign government ruling the country where the virus originated. We had a state of denial that permeated the U.S. - that global trade and ease of travel did not have severe drawbacks. We ignored the lessons of things like the Emerald Ash Borer and other invasive plants and animals that were brought here as a byproduct of global trade. Our country, as a whole, asked for cheap goods, electronics and other items that come from trade, but never considered the darkside of it - the rapid transmission of pathogens and invasive things from other places. If we are as connected as we are to foreign countries, we must be prepared for the darkside of globalization as well. Nothing comes free.

    As far as the U.S. is concerned, this is not about Trump. Clinton, Biden, and the whole lot of the present political leadership would have fallen into the exact same traps. This is about our country living in denial of how dangerous the world can actually be, and in a state where this sort of thing happened in other countries, but "never here". We fell into the old trap that our prosperity and vast distances would protect us again. But like past times, we are finding our feet more and more as time goes on as a country - most people are trying to slow or stop the spread of the virus, and various levels of government are beginning to churn their machinery to protect people. But the country should also learn the lesson that if we're going to have travel and trade as we do - on a global basis, we need to be prepared for the downsides and to have a plan in place to address it.
    Last edited by Ray-VIgo; April 9th, 2020 at 09:13 AM.

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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    Trump vocalized this denial even once the experts were saying publicly otherwise. You're not wrong, but only one person is president right now; only he is responsible for his actions and words. Even though he also said publicly that he did not take responsibility "for anything", I plan to hold him responsible through my vote.

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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    I think the comments on U.S. society’s perception of being insulated from those things that affect predominately the 3rd world are insightful, I would ask that we leave the political aspect and personalities for the political forum; lest this thing spiral out of control.

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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    Quote Originally Posted by dneal View Post
    I think the comments on U.S. society’s perception of being insulated from those things that affect predominately the 3rd world are insightful, I would ask that we leave the political aspect and personalities for the political forum; lest this thing spiral out of control.
    I promise not use invective against another FPG member here. I certainly don't promise not to criticize (or support) leaders, scientific or political. Politicians and scientists make comments every day on this topic, and are part of establishing what is considered "conventional" in outlook or response. Easter, for example, became a target of hope for many people and a much discussed topic, because the POTUS said it. He also said, to hundreds of millions, that this disease would disappear in the summer. I heard this idea repeated by many others because he said that. It became a commonly traded notion. I consider it irresponsible that he made those pronouncements in those words, and it was no wonder to me that so many others in the medical/science fields who backpedaled and qualified and retracted those comments. Their efforts were to avoid the president's words becoming "conventional" understanding. There is nothing rude or inflammatory about my saying this.

    If we all not degrade into personal invective against each other, we should be fine. What is so hard about that?



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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    If we all not degrade into personal invective against each other, we should be fine. What is so hard about that?
    It’s what I’ve posted time and time again, and I don’t understand it either... but it happens, usually with passive aggressive or snide condescension. I’m a crusty old soldier, and I’m happy to talk trash and use salty language if that’s what people want to do (although they usually don’t like the two way street). I don’t take it personally.

    Problem is that once it starts down that road, people get butthurt and hold grudges.

    p.s.: I thought you had me on “ignore”?

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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    [QUOTE=dneal;288715]

    Problem is that once it starts down that road, people get butthurt and hold grudges.
    Is "butthurt" a crude anal sex reference, or maybe anal rape reference toward people whom you disagree with or spar with?





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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    This guy has been questioning the conventional wisdom for a few weeks now.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnXzGB170GI&t=5s

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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    In my opinion, any discussion about where this virus originated, and whether to blame that place, is irrelevant in the face of what needs to be done to combat it. The exception is if the place of origin holds information that could be used in the search for effective treatment/prevention. It is understood that this blame game is purely political - after all, as I note in another post (and paraphrasing myself), the US could be considered a net exporter of H1N1. So it works both ways, and neither accusation is at all helpful.

    Despite this, the US is in the unfortunate position where one man spends far too much airtime promulgating inaccurate, misleading or plain false information about the pandemic. While he may be part of the national feeling of "these things happen in other countries, not here", he also has sufficient expert advisors to avoid worsening the situation. That he doesn't speaks of some difficult issues ahead of the American people.


    As for questioning conventional wisdom on the virus, I will say this: something obviously had to be done. While what is being done could be considered conventional with respect to how other outbreaks are dealt with, it is still a good place to start. It would not surprise me if the approach gets modified as we go along. In fact I would be surprised if it didn't. So, I don't question the conventional wisdom per se, because at the start of a novel viral outbreak you can only you use the tools you have. How long it may take to figure out other plausible approaches to dealing with this situation is beyond my ability to sensibly predict.

    Apologies to a bit of Capt. Obvious there. Just thought a couple of things needed re-saying, and wanted to clarify my position re conventional wisdom vs new ideas.
    Last edited by Dave; April 9th, 2020 at 03:12 PM.

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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dneal View Post

    Problem is that once it starts down that road, people get butthurt and hold grudges.
    Is "butthurt" a crude anal sex reference, or maybe anal rape reference toward people whom you disagree with or spar with?
    *sigh*

    Butthurt

    I like this definition in particular:

    "Being butthurt means being aggravated, pissed off, or bugged over something completely trivial. Usually when people are butthurt they are really dramatic about it. Most people like to laugh at or even mock the annoyance of butthurt people because their reasoning for being so butthurt is ridiculously stupid."
    Last edited by dneal; April 9th, 2020 at 04:11 PM. Reason: fixed quote format

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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    Quote Originally Posted by rocl View Post
    This guy has been questioning the conventional wisdom for a few weeks now.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnXzGB170GI&t=5s
    I suffered through the 29+ minutes of that. The number one rule of using slides it to not just read the slides! (sorry, pet peeve) I would like to see them in just a power point file and read them for myself.

    Now that I'm done with that silly rant, he makes very salient points. Thanks for sharing it. For everybody else, the theme is: You’re going to die. That’s just life. It’s just exceedingly unlikely that Coronavirus is the thing that’s going to kill you. He presents a lot of data to demonstrate.

    --edit--

    He did post a .pdf version of the slides HERE.
    Last edited by dneal; April 9th, 2020 at 04:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    We know what it means, dneal. I was asking what it "referenced." Nevermind. I'm clearly done here.

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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    We know what it means, dneal. I was asking what it "referenced." Nevermind. I'm clearly done here.
    To paraphrase Shakespeare, you were too cunning to be understood.

    I assumed you were trolling. I ignored it. I think it's probably best that you move on too. You seem really angry about something. Life's too short to be angry at people on the interwebz.
    Last edited by dneal; April 9th, 2020 at 04:45 PM.

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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    Quote Originally Posted by dneal View Post
    Life's too short to be angry at people on the interwebz.
    True dat. I myself can be a little obsessive, in case you hadn't noticed. I always try to remember this one.



    Doesn't always work. But you haven't seen me engage politically in this thread, so it works a little bit.
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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    Quote Originally Posted by mhosea View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dneal View Post
    Life's too short to be angry at people on the interwebz.
    True dat. I myself can be a little obsessive, in case you hadn't noticed. I always try to remember this one.



    Doesn't always work. But you haven't seen me engage politically in this thread, so it works a little bit.
    One of my favorites, and an inside joke between me an the wife (referencing her uncle, who the meme clearly depicts).

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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    On the argument that (1) the Coronavirus deaths are not as many as from car accidents or gun violence or the seasonal flu; or, (2) the Coronavirus death numbers are exaggerated, see Philp Bump in the Post:

    "To advocate for a quick or immediate return to America as normal, one must figure out how to rationalize the fact that this week alone, tens of thousands of people have died of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus that emerged in China last year. You can’t simply say, “open up the economy and let the bodies fall where they may.” Instead, we get two different arguments: “open up the economy because the number of deaths is comparable to other causes,” or “open up the economy because the number of deaths isn’t a high as suggested.”
    Both of those arguments, though, have significant flaws.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/polit...avirus-deaths/

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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    This has undoubtedly been a time of considerable fear, disruption, and uncertainty for everyone. When stressors run high, so do tempers and reactions. I would ask that we all please take a step back, unplug for a while, and try to focus on something else for a bit.

    FPG is clearly an important place to many of us, but the direction it has taken during this crisis highlights the uglier, baser side that prevails on so many social networks. This is heartbreaking. We have already seen some members distance themselves from this beloved nook in the worldwide web because of heated exchanges and the uncomfortable atmosphere that has permeated the forum. There are currently no less than three separate threads in The Lounge on COVID-19 in some way, shape, or form. Regardless of why any of them may have been started, every one of them has degenerated into something toxic, malicious, and nasty. I believe this has occurred, to a large degree, because of the overall lack of moderation here at FPG. While this freedom has made FPG a great place, it also provides the opportunity for FPG to become an ugly, hostile, and extremely unpleasant place.

    I’m certain that none of us intentionally or overtly want this to happen, but every one of us must also be careful to prevent it from degrading in this way.
    We have a dedicated area for topics concerning inflammatory subjects. If you must discuss the pandemic—including theories, models, projections, or perceptions of political failings—or anything else that may become objectionable, provocative, or incendiary, I would ask that you take—and contain—the discussion to the “Politics, Religion and Society” area. Let the current, out-of-place threads die. Enough damage has been done. Enough finger-pointing and accusations have occurred. Enough words have been said.

    I would also ask that each one of us act to self-moderate by not engaging in or responding to these threads or discussions outside of the forum dedicated to “Topics pertaining to politics, religion, philosophy, and social issues.” Without Eric swooping in to take broad actions and correct our current path, we have only ourselves to make FPG the great, friendly, fountain-pen place we all want it to be.
    Online arguments are a lot like the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
    As soon as the audience begins to participate, any actual content is lost in the resulting chaos and cacophony.
    At that point, all you can do is laugh and enjoy the descent into debasement.

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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray-VIgo View Post
    Speaking of the United States, the errors of the early response were not the product of one person, whether it be the President or any other one leader. I saw an article in The Atlantic recently saying that the coronavirus debacle is "Trump's Fault", an assertion ridiculous on its face.
    It's very hard to interpret that sentence in any other way than "I know things just by looking at them". Which is never a good start...

    The debacle is the product of a country in denial as a whole - that these periodic epidemics break out elsewhere, but they'll never really harm the United States. SARS and Ebola both made it to our proverbial "front door".
    This is silly. It isn't the job of "the country as a whole" to order more medical supplies or to make the decision for a lockdown. The country as a whole doesn't receive expert briefings strongly advising these things. It's Trumps job, he got the briefings, and he ignored them.

    It's also ignorant. In fact, experts and competent politicians realised that SARs would be repeated - that's why the Whitehouse had a dedicated pandemic unit until Trump shut it down...

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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    [QUOTE=dneal;288730]
    Quote Originally Posted by rocl View Post
    This guy has been questioning the conventional wisdom for a few weeks now.
    Now that I'm done with that silly rant, he makes very salient points. Thanks for sharing it. For everybody else, the theme is: You’re going to die. That’s just life. It’s just exceedingly unlikely that Coronavirus is the thing that’s going to kill you. He presents a lot of data to demonstrate.
    .
    I'm bemused at the thought that anyone needs telling this. It also has nothing to do with anything that any intelligent person would care about: if C19 kills 500,000 people in the USA - which it probably would without extraordinary measures - then yes, you're very unlikely to be one of them. But that's still 500,000 dead people. Unless your worldview is based on utter selfishness, this is something you should want to avoid...

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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    Quote Originally Posted by Dreck View Post
    FPG is clearly an important place to many of us, but the direction it has taken during this crisis highlights the uglier, baser side that prevails on so many social networks.
    It has nothing to do with social networks. It's because most people here are American. I really doubt that any major "social network" approaches the level of bitterness and division normal in the US now.

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    Default Re: Questioning Conventional Wisdom - The virus

    Quote Originally Posted by mhosea View Post
    I don't think Fauci or Birx would disagree with the assertion that we don't know the true mortality rate. There was a question at one of the press conferences, maybe 3 or 4 days ago (who can remember days anymore), where a CNN or other anti-Trump person was trying to manufacture evidence that Trump had "fiddled while Rome burned", i.e. if Trump had raised the alarm sooner and without ambiguity, could lives have been saved. Both Dr. Fauci and Birx responded that it was unknowable whether earlier mitigation would have helped precisely because we have no idea whether the virus was present and prevalent at earlier dates or not. Birx then emphasized the need for a test that determines whether someone has been exposed in the past and is now immune.
    No, they really didn't. Because earlier mitigation always helps. If you restrict the spread at the point where the virus has infected 1% that's better than 2%. If you mitigate at 20% that's better than at 30%. Etc.


    One area where I vociferously disagree with Fauci, and I do so as a scientist, is the notion that we have to prove treatments safe and effective before employing them at a time like this. This is parochial thinking.
    I have to ask

    1. Why being "a scientist" is relevant?

    and

    2. What sort of scientist doesn't know what "parochial" means?

    Seriously - what sort of "scientist" are you??? I have a degree in theoretical physics but I'm not about to walk into the local hospital and tell them to change how they're treating people based on the first opinion I wake up with tomorrow morning...

    if in the worst case it is no better than placebo
    No one who knows anything about medical treatment would make that assumption. A *lot* of medical treatments have very high risks if even applied to healthy people who don't need them. If you give them to people already badly sick, the risks get much higher. To give one very simple example that you should have known about:

    https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m1086
    Scientists and senior doctors have backed claims by France’s health minister that people showing symptoms of covid-19 should use paracetamol (acetaminophen) rather than ibuprofen, a drug they said might exacerbate the condition.


    In the case of chloroquinine, side effects side effects can vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea

    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article...rs-coronavirus

    ...If you give a drug with zero effectiveness to very sick people - many of who are old and have other medical problems - and it creates symptoms like this in some of them, then the mortality rate will go UP not down. This isn't quantum mechanics - it's basic stuff.

    Again - I really am curious what sort of "scientist" you are, because most of the ones I know stuff like this as basic general knowledge and would NEVER assume that a active drug can only be as bad as a placebo. Come to think of it - if you'd ever watched a couple of episodes of House you'd know better than that.
    Last edited by ilikenails; April 13th, 2020 at 03:27 PM.

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