Saturday, March 21, 2020


Duran Duran with Serious. From the album Liberty (1990).

I passionately hated The Reflex stuff, and loathed their image. But nevertheless, they provided us with a couple of good hits. Serious, a classic poppy tune, is one of them. The lyrics mean nothing, but hey... it doesn't have to be serious.

The Stranglers with Skin Deep. Album Aural Sculpture (1984).

Originally called the Guildford Stranglers when they formed in 1974, this is a band that I will forever associate, first and foremost, with Hugh Cornwell, although he left in 1990 already. But honest is honest: all hail to Jean-Jacques Burnel, who like Cornwell was there too in 74... and who still is.

Good night, and stay safe.



Via Medium.

Hat tip CDR Salamander. Caveat: Medium tells us they don't fact-check so you shouldn't take everything Mr Ginn says at face value, but the article probably nails it in the sense that the panic and hysteria is spreading faster than the virus itself.

I do not want to imply we should sit back and relax - BY NO MEANS. Rather, we should acknowledge that the current pandemic constitutes indeed a grave threat, and act accordingly: very very strict personal hygiene of especially the hands; social distancing; put your kids under house arrest; avoid all unnecessary movement; use vinyl throwaway gloves every time you have to pin, push parking ticket dispensers, elevator buttons (better: use the stairways) etc...

But consider this: a century ago, the Spanish Flu ravaged practically the entire planet, claiming anywhere between 17 million and 50 million lives worldwide. In general, the number of 20 million plus is widely accepted as the best estimate. The world's population at the time was about 2 billion plus. Currently, it stands at 7 billion plus. This means that if we extrapolate the numbers of 1918-1920 (yes, the Spanish Flu lasted 2 years), the death toll two years from now (alas, with upflares I do think the Corona virus will be with us for more than a year and a half)...

... that the death toll today would be around 70 million. That's the population of France and Belgium combined.

With all the medical progress made over 100 years, we can, with mathematical certainty, say that that is NOT going to happen.

True, I fear that many more lives are going to be lost. But never something on the scale our grandparents or great-grandparents witnessed. And they lived through it. And thrived.

So, while we should be extremely careful, panick and hysteria are NOT the answer. We should face the crisis with a cool head, common sense, and, dare I say it, a little bit of optimism.

Aaron Ginn:

"After watching the outbreak of COVID-19 for the past two months, I’ve followed the pace of the infection, its severity, and how our world is tackling the virus. While we should be concerned and diligent, the situation has dramatically elevated to a mob-like fear spreading faster than COVID-19 itself. When 13% of Americans believe they are currently infected with COVID-19 (mathematically impossible), full-on panic is blocking our ability to think clearly and determine how to deploy our resources to stop this virus. Over three-fourths of Americans are scared of what we are doing to our society through law and hysteria, not of infection or spreading COVID-19 to those most vulnerable.

The following article is a systematic overview of COVID-19 driven by data from medical professionals and academic articles that will help you understand what is going on (sources include CDC, WHO, NIH, NHS, University of Oxford, Stanford, Harvard, NEJM, JAMA, and several others). I’m quite experienced at understanding virality, how things grow, and data. In my vocation, I’m most known for popularizing the “growth hacking movement” in Silicon Valley that specializes in driving rapid and viral adoption of technology products. Data is data. Our focus here isn’t treatments but numbers. You don’t need a special degree to understand what the data says and doesn’t say. Numbers are universal.

I hope you walk away with a more informed perspective on how you can help and fight back against the hysteria that is driving our country into a dark place. You can help us focus our scarce resources on those who are most vulnerable, who need our help.
Note: The following graphs and numbers are as of mid-March 2020. Things are moving quickly, so I update this article twice a day. Most graphs are as of March 20th, 2020.

Aaron Ginn

Table of Contents

1.) Total cases are the wrong metric
2.) Time lapsing new cases gives us perspective
3.) On a per-capita basis, we shouldn’t be panicking
4.) COVID-19 is spreading
5.) Watch the Bell Curve
6.) A low probability of catching COVID-19
7.) Common transmission modes
8.) COVID-19 is likely to burn off in the summer
9.) Children and Teens aren’t at risk
10.) Strong, but unknown viral effect
11.) What about asymptomatic spread?
12.) 93% of people who think they are positive aren’t
13.) 1% of cases will be severe
14.) Declining fatality rate
15.)So what should we do?
16.) Start with basic hygiene
17.) More data
18.) Open schools
19.) Open up public spaces
20.) Support business and productivity
21.) People fear what the government will do, not infection
22.) Expand medical capacity
23.) Don’t let them forget it and vote"

Like I said, don't take anything Ginn says at face value. His points 18 and 19 are nonsense, as I can all too well confirm from my neck of the woods, Belgium, where they closed schools, pubs, restaurants whereas they did not do so in The Netherlands and the UK. It is already plainly apparent that Belgium took the right decision by implementing exactly that which Mr Ginn disadvocates. Still, his material, often backed by offical stats, should give you something to ponder.

So don't panic. Don't raid supermarkets.

Cool heads. Common sense. Precautions. (Moderate) optimism.

Everybody stay safe.