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Astral Codex Ten Podcast

Mar 28, 2020


The United States now has more coronavirus cases than any other country, including China, marking a new stage in the epidemic. As before, feel free to treat this as an open thread for all coronavirus-related issues. Everything here is speculative and not intended as medical advice.

Hammer and dance

Most of the smart people I’ve been reading have converged on something like the ideas expressed in The Hammer And The Dance – see this Less Wrong post for more.

Summary: Asian countries have managed to control the pandemic through mass testing, contact tracing, and travel bans, without economic shutdown. The West lost the chance for a clean win when it bungled its first month of response, but it can still recover its footing. We need a medium-term national shutdown to arrest the spread of the virus until authorities can get their act together – manufacture lots of tests and face masks, create a testing infrastructure, come up with policies for how to respond when people test positive, distribute the face masks to everyone, etc. With a lot of work, we can manage that in a month or so. After that, we can relax the national shutdown, start over with a clean slate, and pursue the Asian-style containment strategy we should have been doing since the beginning.