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[Phys-L] We already know what needs to be done!

We know what needs to be done; we're just not doing it.

There are some short-term things that are urgently and desperately needed:
— Healthcare providers need more PPE. This is a scandal of historic proportions. While workers are working 48+ hour shifts, risking their lives to help others, #orangemandias is fixated on propping up the stock market, and arguing with doctors about whether they really need respirators.
— Ordinary folks need masks.

There are also some medium-term things that are being scandalously neglected:
— We need comprehensive testing.
— It should go without saying that the tests need to have high reliability and specificity.
— We need thorough contact tracing.
— We need subcritical isolation facilities for patients who might be contagious but aren't sick enough to require hospitalization.
— We need more hospital capacity.

It has been obvious since February that we need such things. The fancy models tell you this. The simple models tell you the same thing. All the successful examples tell you the same thing: South Korea. Iceland. Singapore.

A lockdown is *not* going to solve the overall problem.

A lockdown is like a tourniquet:
— It can be applied quickly. No great skill is needed.
— It is temporary. You still need skilled surgery, REAL SOON.
— Even while it is saving your life, it causes injury.

A lockdown is crude, clumsy, and costly. It cannot be continued for long. So the question is, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

To suppress the disease without an endless lockdown requires a complex multi-step process. Alas, AFAICT *none* of the required steps are properly in place now, and we are not even on a path to put them in place.

Blithering about prolonged or repeated lockdowns is a waste of time, and distracts from the real issues. There are things we need to be doing RIGHT NOW, as itemized above.


More about models: The main difference between a simple model and a fancy model is how it communicates uncertainty. The guy who operates the model can see what the uncertainty is, by fiddling with the parameters, but this is not easy to communicate to bystanders. So let me just tell you in a few words:
— There is near-zero uncertainty in the short run.
— There is near-infinite uncertainty in the long run.

Both of those things are true for the same reason: latency. That is:
— Anything that is happening now is a baked-in consequence of decisions that were made three or four weeks ago.
— Anything that happens a few weeks from now depends on decisions that have not been made yet.

So, a simple model tells you everything you need to know, except for the stuff that's not knowable. The fancy models aren't very much more informative. Too much depends on decisions that haven't been made yet.

The fundamental problem is, authorities keep making the wrong decisions! Day after day, every day since January, appallingly bad decisions. We know what needs to happen. I just can't figure out how to make it happen.