Sunday 15 March 2020

Born to do Math 161 - Coronavirus/SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2)/2019 novel coronavirus/2019-nCoV/Coronavirus Disease 2019/COVID-19/Covid-19

Born to do Math 161 - Coronavirus/SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2)/2019 novel coronavirus/2019-nCoV/Coronavirus Disease 2019/COVID-19/Covid-19
Scott Douglas Jacobsen & Rick Rosner
March 15, 2020

*Sessions conducted earlier.*

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is it comparable to here?

Rick Rosner: Everyone will realize how bad this thing is. Shortly after this interview comes out, people will have a better idea of how bad it's going to be. Unless, the world gets extremely lucky. It is going to be bad.

The Swine Flu of 2009 infected between 10% and 20% of the entire population of the world. But it wasn't very lethal. The U.S., about 59 million people were infected and only 12,000 died, according to the CDC, but the coronavirus looks like it has a death rate of upwards of 2% around the world. The more people get infected; there's no stopping it.

It is in 87 countries now. It is in 18 U.S. states. Nobody has a natural immunity to it. It is going to rip through the population. Unless, the entire world becomes extremely careful. I don't know how you make the entire world extremely careful.

It could infect 2.5 billion to 5 billion people. If it infects 1 billion people with a death rate of 2.5%, that's 25 million dead people around the world. That's in the range of how many people died from the Spanish Flu in 1918/1919. 

Jacobsen: This is where you're thinking about WWI. This is the Spanish Flu corollary.

Rosner: It was hard to say because death was on such a wholesale, massive scale. I have seen statistics claiming Hitler was responsible for 30 million deaths. Yes, it is, anyway, in the range of the death of a world war.

It was when the world had only 2 billion people. This may kill a smaller portion of the population. But it will still kill, if the mortality statistics hold up, or has the potential to kill tens of millions of people. 

Since there is no community immunity, nobody is naturally immune to it. There is nothing to stop it from going through the population. Unless, there is a vaccine. A vaccine is 6 months and probably closer to a year away.

The most we can do is try to protect ourselves and slow it down by practicing the big rules of pandemic hygiene: wash your hands, keep a social distance. I was reading somebody's tweet chain, tweet thread, in how it had all sorts of side effects.

It may mark the end of handshakes as the standard greeting. You should not be shaking hands. If you get rid of handshakes for a year or two, what is to make them come back? We have reduced physical contact with our electronic contact with people.

It will increase telecommunication. Somebody on Twitter, as I said, noted that it may mark the end of frequent flyer programs. It may change flying, the airline industry, irrevocably. Airlines will have to be bailed out by their governments of the countries where they are headquartered. 

It is just going to change daily life. It will take roughly 3 to 6 months to get undeniably bad. It may stay undeniably bad for another 8 months after that. All the schools in Japan, as we've talked about, are closed. Seattle closed down a bunch of its schools.

All around the world hundreds of thousands of schools may get shut down. Millions of businesses may temporarily either shut down or have most of their employees work from home. Or six months into it, people may decide that it is mostly old people dying from it.

That it is not worth it to keep civilization shut down just to save old people. So, people may decide to freakin' re-open stuff and deal with getting sick because, for 80% of the people who get it, the symptoms are mild, like having a cold or a cough.

Jacobsen: It is probably disproportionately prime-age health men and women.

Rosner: Yes, it is. It may change. We're at 100,000 cases and 3,400 deaths. That's a lot of people. It is a small enough sample that things may change as the number of people infected climbs above a million and ten million. 

Jacobsen: It came from a snake.

Rosner: That's what I've heard.

Jacobsen: We're back to the Garden of Eden, eh.

Rosner: I'm hoping it doesn't get worse. What is going on in America, America has only tested about 1,400 people compared to South Korea, which is a much smaller country that's tested about 110,000 people. People speculate that it is a combination of ineptitude on the part of our government and intentional shittiness to try to keep the numbers down, so Trump doesn't look bad.

Because if you don't test people, then you don't find cases and the numbers don't look so bad. American is currently in 9th place among nations. It will not stay in 9th place. It will be a top 5 country within the next couple of months.

Jacobsen: It is also in reverse order of its science education rankings.

Rosner: Yes, you could say that. As you know, we have a born again guy who doesn't believe much in science or evolution. Trump went on Hannity and said a bunch of bullshit, said it is no worse than flu and acted like it's no big deal with people going to work.

It looks like, basically, tacitly endorsing people going to work sick. He says that he has a hunch that the mortality rate is actually under 1%.

Jacobsen: "A hunch" [Laughing]. Let's take the viewpoint of Mike Pence, he has denied the foundations of biological and medical sciences.

Rosner: He can do this when it is not in front of him. But when he is tasked with fighting something that has the potential to kill a lot of people, if 50,000,000 Americans get it, and if this has a 2% mortality rate, it could kill 1,000,000 Americans. If he is tasked with preventing the deaths of 1,000,000 Americans, then his beliefs will play much less of a role. 

In Indiana, he didn't believe in needle exchange programs. He had a moral judgment about this, I guess, and it leads to a disease outbreak.

Jacobsen: If he doesn't believe in these foundations of science, and if he is a highly religious evangelical who believes in an intervening god, the Christian God, as selectively literally read in the Bible, then I would probably point to whoever is reading this as him seeing this as a punishment from God.

Rosner: He is a bureaucrat. I don't think he will let his beliefs get in the way of letting people who know better than him tell him what to do. He went to 3m today. 3M makes the masks. We will need a lot of masks if this becomes an epidemic in the U.S. There's a picture of him shaking hands with the CEO of 3M, which is retarded.

They're shaking hands! There's a person from the CDC making a statement from the White House or something. She says not to touch your face with your hands. As she gives the speech, she licks her hand.

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Rosner: Those are cosmetic things. But as we talked about, there are bigger ineptitudes. Trump fired the pandemic response team, preparation team, from the CDC, just cut them loose. All this stuff is going to make a difference in the rate at which Americans become infected. 

Jacobsen: Will this idiocy and ignorance cost lives because of the way American governance works?

Rosner: Yes, it will. The game they're playing, say this was a video game. The idea is to have the lowest body count from this thing. The deal would be to make sure that measures are in place to help and encourage people to not pass this onto other people, which means knowing who has it and everyone is really afraid of passing it on. 

If not for their own selves, then for the people that they love. If you keep the transmission rate low or low-ish, or if you get through the next 8 months while they rush a vaccine into production (if only 15,000,000 Americans can be infected in the next 8u months compared to 30,000,000 or 40,000,000), then you've reduced the mortality rate by 50%.

That's if you take measures that most Americans are not used to taking now.

[End of recorded material]

[Beginning of recorded material]

Rosner: Overnight, in the last 12 hours, since we last talked, the White House, Kellyanne Conway, is saying coronavirus is contained and then acted surprised when people said that it is not contained. Coronavirus is not contained. The numbers are getting worse at an accelerating pace.

It has gotten a little bit crazier. As I said last night, it is not really containable. The only thing that can save us from many millions of people getting it is if somehow rising temperatures in the Spring and Summer work against it. 

Otherwise, we're in for tens of millions of people coming down with it. 

[End of recorded material]

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: For coronavirus, if you are 70+, you are the death rate. 18-to-39-year-olds sit around 0.2%. 

Rick Rosner: Most of the people killed will be 70+. There's a small chance the death rate will go down. If you look at places that have done a lot of testing, like South Korea, then they have a death rate of about 0.7% compared to the U.S. rate with only testing about 2,000 people and finding 545 cases with 22 deaths, which is a death rate of 4%. It is because we haven't fucking tested. 

For every American tested, South Korea has tested 360 people. We're testing at a rate of less than 1/3rd of 1% of what South Korea is doing per capita. If this behaves, and there's no sign that it won't behave like a flu pandemic, the last flu pandemic was in 200910 with H1N1 Swine Flu. 

By the end, that infected 59,000,000 Americans. Let's say the death rate goes down to 1% when we actually test people, 1% of 59,000,000 is 590,000 people. This thing, even if it doesn't infect that many or simply 20,000,000 people in America, is going to kill 200,000 people or more. 

How long it takes to do that will determine how miserable the country is, every year, we lose 60,000 people to the flu in this country. But it doesn't overwhelm. This stuff mostly takes people with pre-existing conditions. It doesn't make the hospitals overflow. 

If there's a lull, or if there is a decline in deaths over the Summer months, but not a certainty that it will, then 200,000 people will make people freak out. But it wouldn't feel like an all-out apocalypse. It would be loved in the family who would be taken by it. 

It wouldn't necessarily lead to an interruption in civilization. The stock market, the Dow Jones is supposed to open up 5% down. All the major average according to the futures will take a 5% hit, which will make it the biggest point drop in history for the Dow if it does that.

It is not just coronavirus. Saudi Arabia has decided to sell a bunch of oil for well under the going rate. I am not sure why. We can't catch the contagion curves. Last time we talked about coronavirus, in the last few days, the number of infected per day has doubled from 2,000 new cases per day to 4,000.

If that keeps going up to 6,000 and 8,000 a day, then it will go pandemic. It is 109 countries and territories. 33 out of 50 states have confirmed cases. In the words of a CDC official who was interviewed on the radio earlier today, we've gone from trying to confine or contain this into mitigation.

We just try to reduce the rate at which this spreads through public awareness. 

[End of recorded material]

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is new with coronavirus?

Rick Rosner: People who know what they are talking about, talk about the flattening of the disease curve. Until a vaccine comes out, it means the disease will spread. Assuming the same amount of people will get it across the next year, regardless of what you do (e.g., everyone getting it all at once or spreading out the contagion more), the reason that is preferred is to spread out the contagion because hospitals can manage this more.

If not, hospitals overflow and they can't manage coronavirus or what other shit people go to the hospitals for. You see this in Italy. Doctors have to pick and choose who to treat. So, that's the primary reason to practice sanitary precautions and stuff. 

It is to keep the rate of people getting infected in order for hospitals to deal with it. You may not significantly reduce the overall number of people who get infected. Anyway, you understand. There's some demographic evidence or epidemiological evidence from China.

Although, China's numbers are always a little bit suspect. I don't know. I haven't heard much about China's numbers being bad in the last few days. Anyway, China and South Korea, if you really get in there and make a concerted effort to hold down new infections, South Korea and China by testing people. 

China by locking down a whole province or big area. It looks like the number of new cases for them is dropping. Korea has had four consecutive days of dropping. They've gone from 500 cases a day to 250 cases a day. Obviously, there's some statistical wobble that is possible.

It is also possible different stages of contagion can take time to be detectable. But it is a reason for hope. Even if you have as many cases as China or South Korea, you can still practice whatever you need to do to knock it down and keep the new cases from exploding exponentially. 

However, in the U.S., the government is not being helpful. We have only tested 5,000 people. Even though, Pence and Trump seem to be lying and saying that there are a million tests available. They said 75,000 tests sent out.

If they were, then I don't know what happened because only 5,000 have been tested. They said 1,000,000 tests by this week and 2,000,000 by later this week. I have seen no evidence of this. If you can't find out who has it, then you can't fight it. 

But we are a big spread out country. People with it have popped up in 36 states and the District of Columbia. I don't know if we are practicing much of the things that South Korea and China have been doing to really hold down further infection.

I am still thinking that we are going to get exponential growth in the U.S. There are 1,000 confirmed cases now. Because we have only tested 5,000 people, it is likely that there are 8,000 or 10,000 cases out there with each of those people potentially infecting 2 to 5 or more people.

The update is some countries are doing better than others at updating, apparently. The time frame, it is still early days. We're not sure how successful anybody was until it is 6 months or a year later.

[End of recorded material]

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: How does this compare to H1N1 or others?

Rick Rosner: If your model is the H1N1, that thing infected a billion people around the world plus or minus 300,000,000/400,000,000. In the U.S., they estimate that it infected 59,000,000, which is a little less than 20% of the population. Since this thing is more deadly than H1N1, there is more concern about it.

Maybe, people will work a little harder to tamp this down. So, this doesn't infect 1,000,000 people worldwide. Maybe, it will only infect a million people worldwide. Let's say that they get really good at detecting cases in countries that they aren't good at it. South Korea is testing far more than in other countries.

They found a bunch of cases that were pretty asymptomatic. They found so many cases that it drove the rate down to 0.7%. Compared to others, you have to be really fucking sick to get tested, like here. Let's say that there are 100,000,000 cases when this is over with community immunity and there is a vaccine, a year or a year and a half from now, there's a possibility that the death rate may only be 1%. That would only be 1,500,000 people.

But that rests on really the whole planet engaging prophylactic measures, sanitary measures, until they can hold the rate down to the point of what the Swine Flu did and the death rate is a half or a third of what it looks like right now.

If those two things hold, or if we get really lucky and the warmer weather knocks the virus down, or if all that stuff happens, then you only lose 1,500,000 people, mostly old people. I saw statistics today. Again, it is early days. So, these statistics will not stay or hold, probably. 

The death rate for people 80 and above is more than 100 times the death rate of people in their 20s. It is going to be mostly old people. I've heard the argument that these people are on their way out anyway. That is bullshit.

I have run the actuarial numbers. People in their 80s have a life expectancy of 7 years. By writing off those people by saying, "It is going to happen, get used to it." You are costing people the last 10% of their lives because you cannot be bothered to help contain this shit. 

Another reason for holding down the infection rate is just to avoid the massive societal disruption that we're only in the beginning stages of. The stock market is down 15%. We went 11 years without a recession, which is either the longest or the second-longest in history/modern history.

So, stock values were a little bit fluffy anyhow. I don't see how we avoid a recession now. If the virus gets out of hand and hospitals are overflowing and many more countries are locked down, then that guarantees a recession. 

I don't see how we avoid that. But it would be possible to mitigate it by everybody exercising some discipline. Unlike, our fucking president who is holding a rally in the next few days. Biden and Bernie both cancelled rallies. 

That they were holding to get ready for the Ohio primary. They listened to sound medical advice and realized that we were endangering people and maybe even themselves, as they are old and in the risk group.

They cancelled the rallies. Not Trump, he is going full-out with his rallies against all medical advice. A good 30% of the country is either only a little worried or not worried at all about the virus. They either think it is mild or that it is democratic hype designed to make Trump look bad.

So, with a third of the country, if those people put their behaviour where their attitudes are and do not practice sanitary measures, then it'll be even harder to contain it. So, it is not unreasonable to think that we will have 1,000,000 cases by late May in the U.S.

Given that we do not detect it until it is serious, if we have a million confirmed cases, then you are looking at 20,000 dead. Republican pundits, or just Republican assholes, like to say, "Flu kills 60,000 or 37,000 people per year in the U.S. So, it is just like another flu."

That's asshole-ish because the 20,000 could just be the first wave. Also, you're adding another 20,000 deaths of loved ones. Rudy Giuliani tweeted something like this. And he's an old demented asshole who may have been an asshole all along and people didn't notice it. Because he had been governor during 9/11.

But just because the death rates from a new disease are roughly commensurate with the death rates from other things doesn't mean that it isn't a tragic thing that you've added 20,000 deaths to your year of people dying.

Jacobsen: That was depressing.

[End of recorded material]

[Beginning of recorded material]

Rick Rosner: I've been following this site. Ten days ago, it was 2,000 new cases worldwide a day. A week ago, it was 3,000 new cases. Three days ago, it was 4,000. Yesterday, it was 7,000. If you look at the curve, then it looks pretty exponential.

Although, shit can only be exponential for so long. At the beginning of something like this with a huge population to feed into it. That exponential can keep going for a while. I am guessing that we could see 2,000,000 cases worldwide by June. 

That's being a little conservative. If you wanted to go pure exponential, then you could be over 100,000,000 by June. I am thinking that some of the mitigation might be effective in some countries. In some countries, you might be able to contain it.

It is in over 100 countries and territories now. probably, 20 of those countries and territories have 1 confirmed case. If those countries have an effective government and enough infrastructure to really do testing and keep this down, some countries may be in the containment phase. 

I think that there are enough shitty countries in the world that if it gets loose in a failed state. It will spread across the whole region. I hear Africa has a lot of countries with zero testings. So, we do not know what is going on there. 

So, if you have enough countries where it gets out of hand, is the U.S. the third most populous nation in the world? You've got India. You've got China. Brazil is up there.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Yes, it is the third-largest.

Rosner: I think the number of people tested has reached 8,300. we've confirmed 1,300 cases. There are probably, at least, 5,000 undetected cases because we have not done enough testing. So, those people or many of those people are bumbling along going about their business. 

They will soon turn 5,000 undetected cases to 10,000 and beyond. The U.S. may become a huge generator of it and can not contain it.

Jacobsen: I would argue given the inability to contain this in the U.S. that eventually, speaking in the rapid and short-term here, that the U.S. will become a pandemic-disease vector.

Rosner: Yes, we are going to fuck you up because there is a pretty porous border. Unless, you tighten it up. Canada doesn't think it has to do it yet. Mexico may do this soon. Who knows what will happen on the border there, in six months, this way to conservative of an estimate for how long things will be not normal. 

A lot can happen in the U.S. with 40,000,000 people having it. We will not ever have 40,000,000 people having this at once because people will get over it. I haven't done the math as to how many cases we will have at any time. Certainly, it will be enough to mess up you guys.

You guys will have to take it a lot more. You are taking it seriously, but not paranoid enough. You are not on defensive footing enough yet I don't think Canada has realized the U.S. is about to be overwhelmed by it.

Italy, the hospitals have been overwhelmed. Here, we aren't testing enough. There is a lot of room for exponential growth. What happens with exponential growth, the growth expands to exhaust the sources of growth, the uninfected people. 

There is mitigation where you can try to hold it down. The ultimate limit, if you fail at that, is the number of people available to be infected. The U.S. with 300,000,000+ people, it has a lot of doubling to go now.

China seems to have a handle on it. The world population is about 7,800,000,000. I can't imagine that there are more than 2,000,000,000 in countries and territories that will be able to hold this off. Let's say China really does close everything down or setup testing at the border, so every single person coming in is tested in such a way that there are early tests that can help you catch it if you have it at all.

Let's say China contains it, that's 1,500,000,000 people contained. India won't. U.S. won't. Now, you're already down to countries under 200,000,000. Maybe, if you find enough of those countries, you can get the total of those countries holding this off to a couple of billion. 

This still leaves more than 5,000,000,000 people living in countries where it will probably hit the entire population. It doesn't mean everyone will get infected. But you'll see between 10% and 40% of countries being infected. 

Conservatively, you'll see 20% of 5,000,000,000 getting it. 

[End of recorded material]


American Television Writer

(Updated July 25, 2019)

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.*

According to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing hereRick G. Rosner may have among America's, North America's, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher HardingJason BettsPaul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Awards and Emmy nominations, and was titled 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Directory with the main "Genius" listing here.

He has written for Remote ControlCrank YankersThe Man ShowThe EmmysThe Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He worked as a bouncer, a nude art model, a roller-skating waiter, and a stripper. In a television commercialDomino’s Pizza named him the "World’s Smartest Man." The commercial was taken off the air after Subway sandwiches issued a cease-and-desist. He was named "Best Bouncer" in the Denver Area, Colorado, by Westwood Magazine.

Rosner spent much of the late Disco Era as an undercover high school student. In addition, he spent 25 years as a bar bouncer and American fake ID-catcher, and 25+ years as a stripper, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. Errol Morris featured Rosner in the interview series entitled First Person, where some of this history was covered by Morris. He came in second, or lost, on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? over a flawed question and lost the lawsuit. He won one game and lost one game on Are You Smarter Than a Drunk Person? (He was drunk). Finally, he spent 37+ years working on a time-invariant variation of the Big Bang Theory.

Currently, Rosner sits tweeting in a bathrobe (winter) or a towel (summer). He lives in Los AngelesCalifornia with his wife, dog, and goldfish. He and his wife have a daughter. You can send him money or questions at LanceVersusRick@Gmail.Com, or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing

(Updated January 1, 2020)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:


[1] Four format points for the session article:
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