Nefarious Industrialist

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  1. I don't think greed has anything to do with it, for either side. Both groups are losing a ton of money in this. Both are negotiating to mitigate their losses. As anyone in their position would do.
  2. I agree that the people who immediately dismissed it as a hoax, and basically continue to do so, are making a mistake. Yet I can understand - and in some ways, share - their overall skepticism of anything coming from what they consider to be an incredibly biased mainstream media. I'm not on board with the conspiracy theorists, but I do think that human beings - all of them - are fundamentally self-interested. It's very obvious when you look at someone like say, our current president, who seems to have no idea how he comes across to most people. It's less obvious when you look at, say, a socially intelligent, highly respected immunologist who's suddenly become a household name. To some degree, I agree with your point about the virus causing harm that I'd like to attribute to the lockdowns. I shall now endeavor to compromise somewhat and blame the politician- and media-driven fear instead. Honestly, I think our chief disagreement is the old one - I'm inclined to err on the side of individual liberty, whereas you're inclined to err on the side of the public good. I swear, I really do care about the same stuff you do, I just don't believe government institutions have the ability to behave selflessly, no matter who's in charge.
  3. First of all, I blame myself. I went from denial to panic just like everyone else. And it is the people that encourage the media to do what they do, which is scare the living hell out of us every chance they get. And of course the politicians have every incentive to scare us, so that we think they're the only ones that can save us. There's no one person I'd like to blame, but I will agree with most people here (I think) that what we really needed was a strong president taking things seriously from the start. And we did not get that. We also needed our federal agencies like the CDC and the FDA to recognize that this was their big moment and step up. Instead we got the usual, feet-dragging, arrogant bureaucratic BS we always get. I specifically blame them for our painfully slow response to get testing. So there's plenty of blame to go around. Right now, it's difficult not to believe that there are a lot of people in denial about how panicked and disastrous our response has been, so they're doubling down instead of facing reality.
  4. What I was saying was that nobody knew for sure what level of response was warranted. I have zero problem admitting some measures had to be taken. I have zero problem admitting the measures have been effective in slowing the virus to some degree. From the beginning, the only thing everyone seemed to agree on was that it was too late to stop it, it was too contagious and difficult to detect to stop it, and so it was going to spread. It was going to infect a lot of people. It was going to kill plenty of people, no matter what we did. The question was, could we mitigate the damage - not by stopping it, which was never on the table. But by slowing it so that the healthcare system didn't get overwhelmed. That was it. That was the goal, and that was the rationale for the measures we took. And that's where the disagreements began. And that's where yes, lots of people immediately started to have questions about the tradeoffs we were about to make. And lots of people didn't - at least not right away. It's slowly dawning on people just how much suffering the lockdowns have caused, and continue to cause. Not just "people losing their jobs and having to collect unemployment". It's the people afraid to go the hospital for anything from important procedures to well checks where some of them are not going to find out they have a major problem until it's too late. It's increased child abuse, suicides, drug abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence, and other crimes that may be associated with the substantial economic reverses that the United States is enduring. Things that will be difficult to quantify but likely to be significant. And have been largely ignored or downplayed from the start by people desperate to justify the extreme nature of what we've done here. That's my main problem - the idea that we should have all just gotten together at the beginning and just agreed that there's this elite group of scientists who know exactly what we ALL ABSOLUTELY MUST DO WITH NO DISCUSSION, NO EXCEPTIONS AND NO COMPLAINING. Because they're the smartest and they know best. Sorry, not how it works. If you're going to destroy people's livelihoods, mental health, completely turn their lives upside down and inside out - by force - you really need to prove that these extreme, one-size-fits-all measures are absolutely necessary.
  5. I guess that's my problem, too - nobody really knows, nobody really knew - but they behaved as if they did know for sure. You still hear people shaming others for the sin of wanting to live their lives, based on what they believe are the facts that they're literally killing people by doing so. When they absolutely do not know that. And if you're going to literally prevent people from living their lives, the burden is on you to prove that they're definitely endangering others. There was so much uncertainty at the beginning, and everyone was so freaked out, the panic was somewhat understandable. There was some leeway because it seemed the danger of overwhelming the healthcare system was real. As the months have passed, that danger has looked less real. And the burden of proof is naturally shifting from "Prove you're not killing people" to "Prove I am killing people". I don't see this as a theoretical "learn for next time" thing - sure, for next time we know that any actions we're going to take, the sooner the better - there's plenty of evidence of that. But the continued measures are definitely causing untold amounts of suffering, in some places with no end in sight. And we're doing it to ourselves. The severity of the lockdowns are looking more like a much bigger tragedy than the virus itself every day.
  6. As I understand it, her contribution was mainly about how many people schoolkids come into contact with on a typical day - "Laura, with some guidance from her dad, devised a computer simulation that showed how people – family members, co-workers, students in schools, people in social situations – interact. What she discovered was that school kids come in contact with about 140 people a day, more than any other group. Based on that finding, her program showed that in a hypothetical town of 10,000 people, 5,000 would be infected during a pandemic if no measures were taken, but only 500 would be infected if the schools were closed." I agree this sort of thing is important and helpful. My problem is when people start treating these theoretical things as "earth is round" fact. And start basing incredibly important decisions that affect the lives of millions of people on them. And it looks to me like there are so many hypotheticals being thrown around from every direction, all looking very "science-y" and being treated as fact by anyone with an agenda to do so. The entire situation has become so politicized - from every side - we all get to pick and choose what we call "fact". Things being treated as true one day turn out to not be true the next.
  7. Hey, at least I'm aware of my biases. Not everyone is, you know. That's true - actually there was another recent article on the same site about this. The gist of it is that after the H5N1 situation, George W. Bush asked for some experts to submit some plans to him about what to do when the real thing came along. Two federal government doctors came up with a proposal that brought back the idea of self-isolation, first employed during the Middle Ages. So yes, it's an old strategy, but this particular plan was not developed by epidemiologists. This is it, here: One of the co-authors, Laura Glass, was the 14-year-old daughter of one of the scientists who authored the paper. Her contribution was a computer simulation she did at school. So you're right that it's an old strategy, but it was considered ridiculous by many, especially since we've grown so accustomed to relying on the pharmaceutical industry for this sort of thing. So yeah, it sounds to me like the particular plan we're living under right now may have actually been "dreamed up" by "computer scientists and theoretical physicists". I guess that's fair. It does sound like you were looking for a reason to dismiss it and were happy to find it right away. Thanks for the reply though.
  8. Interesting article I saw - "Part of the problem is that as economists, historians, and political philosophers people are telling us to stay in our lane and not comment on medical matters. In general that is good advice. But there is a problem. The computer scientists and theoretical physicists who dreamed up this lock down haven’t really had serious medical training either and they sure haven’t stayed in their lane. They certainly have cared very little for the economic implications of their plans. Where do we turn for competent commentary on the medical aspects of quarantine and lockdowns? Where is our credentialled and experienced expert who can provide weighty evidence that this is the wrong course? Let me introduce you to Donald A. Henderson (1928-2016). He was the twentieth-century’s most acclaimed disease eradicator. In particular, he is credited with ridding the world of smallpox. He was born in Lakewood, Ohio, son of a nurse and an engineer. He went to Oberlin College for undergraduate and graduated in medicine from the University of Rochester. He trained two more years at the Epidemic Intelligence Service of the Communicable Disease Center, and moved to Geneva to head the World Health Organization’s division focussed on smallpox. I encourage you to read his entire biography posted at Johns Hopkins, where he headed a brilliant epidemiological team. In 2006, at the order of the Bush administration, some computer science programmers with a small group of public health officials began to resurrect a premodern idea of quarantines, closures, and measured lockdowns. This way of thinking is not just premodern; it turned the logic of modern medicine on its head. It was based on a theory that we should just run away from viruses, whereas Dr. Henderson’s whole life had been devoted to implementing the great discovery of modern virus theory that we need not flee but rather build immunity through science, either natural immunities or via vaccines."
  9. Human beings are human beings. You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to see that a crisis like this benefits some people. Fauci is a guy most people never heard of before, now he has Brad Pitt playing him on SNL. Bet he hates that. And if you're a *public* health professional, you absolutely have political motivation as you work for a government agency, which means the growth and power of your agency depends not on its performance in the marketplace among competition but on public opinion. So the more scared people are, the more they feel better knowing we have these big public health agencies with smart fancy doctors designed to protect them. Even if they're like the CDC and the FDA, both of which arrogantly insist on monopolizing testing in the US as much as possible, dragging their feet and getting in the way of private and academic development of diagnostic tests that might have provided an early warning and a head start on controlling the virus. Yes, most doctors are saying generally the same thing - this is a serious threat and it would be a big mistake to ignore it and pretend it's just gonna go away with no consequences. Not all of them are saying that the solution is to lock down the entire world as much as possible for as long as it takes, don't you worry about how long, we're the smart ones, we'll tell you when you can come out and by the way if you question us it's obviously because you want people to die because we're the doctors and you're not. Plenty of them have advocated from the start that we've overreacted terribly. Which is predictable if you think about it - the initial models used to create that "flatten the curve" graph were absolutely terrifying, and we really had no other information to go on. Now as we have more and more information emerging, many people - especially government and the media - are never going to admit they may have been spectacularly wrong in a way that's caused immense needless suffering for countless people. Bottom line is we're all human beings here. There is no magic person with a magic answer, but that's the attitude I pick up when I'm told I'm "anti-science" for questioning the people who continue to tell me I'm selfish and irresponsible for wanting to live my life. If it's true, prove it. Not by appealling to authority. I mean actual proof.
  10. I mean, sure, under normal circumstances. But like I said, in this particular situation there are compelling reasons to question not just the expertise but the motivation. I’m sorry, but it’s true. The other issue in this instance is that from a medical point of view, it’s easy to dictate that everyone just hide inside indefinitely. As we’re finding out, that has dire consequences that aren’t necessarily addressed by a doctor of infectious diseases. So no matter what medical expert you consult, you still need to resolve the practicalities of a sustainable solution, which I don’t know that any of them are accustomed to taking into account. The whole thing is very complicated, and it can’t be a one-sided “just listen to the experts” conversation.
  11. It's convenient to say "just listen to the experts" when the "experts" are saying what you want to hear. Unfortunately, there's no way to tell if Fauci is the Mike Trout of infectious diseases or the Brett Gardner. As far as I can tell, there are no objective numbers - in medicine your reputation seems mostly based on impressing the right people. I could be wrong, though; let me know. The entire situation is so politicized - on both sides - there's no reason to trust any "expert" either side puts forth. We all have to judge for ourselves based on the best information we have. But for ordinary schmucks like me, who've never heard of any of them, I think it's natural there's a skepticism, especially when you're being commanded - not asked - to set your life aside because this expert says you must. And the burden isn't on the expert to actually prove you're killing people by simply living your life; the burden is on *you* to somehow prove you're not. Combined with the constant shifting of the goalposts, it's fair to wonder if these "experts" aren't simply tools, no matter their supposed credentials.
  12. Not ignored, but understood in the context that he's a flawed, self-interested human being like everybody else. It's incredibly dangerous to just pick one expert and just believe them because you like the cut of their jib. It's disingenuous to pretend you can't find find "well trained medical professionals" with equal credentials to Fauci saying things that contradict him.
  13. If there's potential motivation on one side, there's potential motivation on the other. The most frustrating thing about this entire situation is being bombarded with so much contradictory information you can find the numbers to support any opinion you want.