May 2nd, 2020

Numbers -- thinking out loud

I guess I read a lot of news.  My background is that knowledge is power so the news does not typically increase my stress, just the reverse.  Knowing more makes me feel like I have control.  So I'm down the rabbit hole.  From National Review to Mental Floss to all the news stations, even alerts from the Al Jazeera app and I'm on a couple of erudite news emails that I at least scan.  I don't think it makes me any smarter but it leavens the Alex Jones noise so prevalent in the world.

Today's numbers lead me to a couple of conclusions I've circled before.  We won't have any idea what is going on today until probably 2025 or 2030.  It is like reading the economy.  I can pretty much tell you what happened to cause the 1930's depression now.  There has been enough research, or nearly enough, to lock that down.  This pandemic will be the same.  No one is hiding anything, just that no one has much more than a guess.  We don't have the measurement tools.  Here are the relevant numbers.

1 — The population of the U.S. is about 330 million.

2 — Of that number we've tested for COVID-19 about 6.5 million.

We are making decisions based on testing with an unknown but suspicious error rate when we've tested less than 2% of the population.

I apply no judgement to the fact that decisions are being made on so little data and questionable data at best.  I think the metaphor of war is apt.  Churchill and Eisenhower had to make decisions with equally questionable information.  As did Custer.

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