Friday, June 12, 2020


You will be shocked to hear that, as I am a scientist, I am also an intolerable pedant- I mean, deeply invested in scientific correctness.

This pandemic is going to make me have a stroke.

Between the WHO repeatedly screwing up their public messaging - which is literally their job!- and the CDC screwing up everything from testing to symptom definition to drug trials - plus our sociopathic government- it's all on fire all the time. (I should note that once you have the amount of community spread that was already present in Seattle in February, a large scale epidemic is extremely difficult to prevent, and contact tracing will not save us, my friends.)

And then on top of that! The amazing credulity displayed by medical professionals, journalists, government officials, and the general public! (I suppose the last is not actually surprising.) I told people the first week of March that this was primarily airborne droplet transmission! Also that HCQ was never going to be a widespread treatment because it's too toxic for a disease with a single-digit mortality rate.

Today's two pieces of Wrong, which I will not link, are this:

1) ZOMG this virus causes clotting problems! We thought it was respiratory but it does OTHER THINGS! See also: so many other viruses, Guillane-Barre syndrome, every postviral rash in the world....

2) The utterly bananas right-wing conspiracy theory that deaths are overcounted because "people were going to die anyways." Look, if my grandma, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, is T-boned by a semi, did she die of breast cancer? No, of course not. Amazingly, infectious disease works the same way as other acute events.

I'm going to go take a walk until my irritation level subsides again.


  1. Yeah, I'm enjoying the "old people in care homes were probably going to die anyway, and since there wasn't an actual positive test on them, you can't count that" approach to the covid-19 stats. It's like they think nobody has heard of excess mortality figures, or the concept that we have pretty good data on how many people normally die at different times of the year. David Spiegelhalter is pretty good for statistics if you need a nice voice of reason.

  2. labmonkey1:57 PM

    I'm worried that you might still be walking, a week later, as the whole thing is not really going to allow for subsidence of irritation.
    I have had a few friends yell at me for being right that the lockdown here would be until June. As though I had made it continue for so long by predicting it.

    1. You are NOT WRONG. Don't even get me started on the university's 'policies '.


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