Wuhan2K

 

Prediction: Due to the precautions taken, the number of infections and deaths in the U.S. will turn out to be much lower than most models predict. Because the precautions are so disruptive to the economy, and our everyday lives, it will be remembered as a foolish freak-out over just another periodic flu outbreak. (Which is far better than it being remembered as the national tragedy that killed millions.) This is the Y2K bug, but more disruptive and with some actual deaths involved.

Twenty years on, the popular mythology tells us the Y2K scare was just tha: a scare. A panic. A mass hysteria, but without the witch-burning. A small fortune (or, probably, several large fortunes) was spent on changing line after line of computer coding so that our computers wouldn’t think it was 1900, and then turn upon us, rending their masters limb from limb. Or something like that.

Few pause to consider that maybe the Y2K roll-over was no big deal because we “over-reacted,” and mitigated the disaster before it could occur. In the same way, I predict that people in late 2020 (us) will mock those idiots (us) who hoarded toilet paper* and canceled sportsball. Even though we idiots are saving (some of) their lives. Let’s hope so.

And I hope all of us will be there to join in the mockery.

*I’m pretty sure the toilet paper thing really is stupid and will save no lives, though.

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  1. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    Indeed.  As I’ve said before, public health efforts are only noticed when they fail.  When they are successful, they are often considered draconian or invasive (ie. measles vaccination).

    • #1
  2. danok1 Member
    danok1
    @danok1

    Joshua Bissey: Few pause to consider that maybe the Y2K roll-over was no big deal because we “over-reacted,” and mitigated the disaster before it could occur.

    Yup. Even someone like Victor Davis Hanson missed this point. He wrote in a March 5th column, “Such duplicity only fanned the fears of a global plague — a hysteria not seen since the groundless fears of a Y2K global computer meltdown in the year 2000…”

     

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    A big part of the problem is that we can’t seem to separate taking drastic measures from drastic emotional reactions. I certainly wish they would identify steps going forward that aren’t as draconian, but can we please just notice that the sun still rises every morning, it’s allergy season and many of us are sneezing like crazy, and it’s almost Spring with leaves a-poppin’ (at least here in Florida). I hate when Trump says “Relax” because I think it’s condescending. But he’s right. Let’s try to relax.

    • #3
  4. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    They’ve tanked the markets,  maybe have caused a Depression to “save us” from a flu strain with a mortality rate of maybe between 3.4-1.2%? 

    Maybe they should set off some nukes too to sterilize things a bit,  for our own good of course. 

    • #4
  5. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    I like to think that somewhere in the multiverse, all permutations have played out and that part of the afterlife is being able to see the events of our lifetimes and find out whether we got the answer right. 

    • #5
  6. Ralphie Inactive
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    It seems everyone in the world is in the same boat.  

    Choices are like would you like to be hit in the kneecap or listen to Slim Whitman.  I  think Slim Whitman is the defense against Martians.

    • #6
  7. Trajan Thatcher
    Trajan
    @Trajan

    *shrugs* my county just decided to amp up the panic by enacting a shelter in place. 

    Our schools were already closed, k-12 thru Grad school, social awareness/distancing etc etc etc. ……( I live in the Bay Area Oblast).

     

    Heres my prediction; there will be no causality rate that will make this measure of shelter in place seem a reasonable response on top off the already enacted responses,  and that will occur to oh, 65% of the folks here pretty  much at the same time, like say next Wed., the latest.

    Of that 65% over half, easily, will ignore the shelter in place wholesale, then the rest will too.

    Like probation soured respect for authority and turned over the half country into cheerful law breakers for continuing to find ways to get or drink alcohol, this too will drive peoples already low respect for authority even further….and viola’ another high water mark for progressives re;  unintended consequences.

    • #7
  8. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Trajan (View Comment):

    *shrugs* my county just decided to amp up the panic by enacting a shelter in place.

    Our schools were already closed, k-12 thru Grad school, social awareness/distancing etc etc etc. ……( I live in the Bay Area Oblast).

     

    Heres my prediction; there will be no causality rate that will make this measure of shelter in place seem a reasonable response on top off the already enacted responses, and that will occur to oh, 65% of the folks here pretty much at the same time, like say next Wed., the latest.

    Of that 65% over half, easily, will ignore the shelter in place wholesale, then the rest will too.

    Like probation soured respect for authority and turned over the half country into cheerful law breakers for continuing to find ways to get or drink alcohol, this too will drive peoples already low respect for authority even further….and viola’ another high water mark for progressives re; unintended consequences.

    We know you meant prohibition, just pointing it out. 

     

    • #8
  9. Paul Erickson Inactive
    Paul Erickson
    @PaulErickson

    THANK YOU for justifying 4 years of my career and many million$ spent fixing Y2K.  One wonders, had we let a few more lines of code slip by, would people maybe not have called it an IT hoax?

    • #9
  10. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Paul Erickson (View Comment):

    THANK YOU for justifying 4 years of my career and many million$ spent fixing Y2K. One wonders, had we let a few more lines of code slip by, would people maybe not have called it an IT hoax?

    I didn’t do millions of lines of code for Y2K, or cost millions of $; just thousands of lines and thousands of $, but it was all done by ME.  And even before that, I learned long ago that sometimes the only way for people to understand they really don’t want something, is to let them have it.  I didn’t mind doing that for IT “managers” who couldn’t actually write decent code to (as the saying goes) save their – or anyone else’s – life.  But when it actually comes to situations of possible life or death, I refuse to be so flexible.  Especially when the consequences of someone’s foolishness might be not just their own life – which only makes them candidates for the Darwin Awards – but the lives of others.

    • #10
  11. Joshua Bissey Inactive
    Joshua Bissey
    @TheSockMonkey

    Paul Erickson (View Comment):

    THANK YOU for justifying 4 years of my career and many million$ spent fixing Y2K. One wonders, had we let a few more lines of code slip by, would people maybe not have called it an IT hoax?

    Thank you for your service. 

    And for you kids following along at home; when you see one of these old soldiers of the Y2k war, don’t call him a grizzled old code-monkey. Instead, look into his thousand-yard stare, and thank him for his service. Buy him a Mountain Dew or a Red Bull. You’ll be glad you did.

    • #11
  12. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Y2K might have “only” caused great economic and job losses, etc, but considering the people who seem to think it’s not worth “shutting down the economy” (which is very overstated) for possibly a few weeks in order to hopefully stifle more run-away infection, you’d think they would be more grateful for averting the economic damage that Y2K likely would have caused if a lot of people hadn’t put a lot of work into mitigating it.

    I mean, come on.  Is the economy worth it, or not?  Make up your minds!

    • #12
  13. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    WI Con (View Comment):

    They’ve tanked the markets, maybe have caused a Depression to “save us” from a flu strain with a mortality rate of maybe between 3.4-1.2%?

    So is there an “acceptable” mortality rate that would have balanced economic concerns with only some deaths of the particularly susceptible? 

     

    • #13
  14. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Joshua Bissey: Few pause to consider that maybe the Y2K roll-over was no big deal because we “over-reacted,” and mitigated the disaster before it could occur.

    This has been my working theory since then.

    • #14
  15. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    WI Con (View Comment):

    They’ve tanked the markets, maybe have caused a Depression to “save us” from a flu strain with a mortality rate of maybe between 3.4-1.2%?

    So is there an “acceptable” mortality rate that would have balanced economic concerns with only some deaths of the particularly susceptible?

     

    Yes.  Because an economic crash will kill people too.

    I don’t know anyone personally who’s afraid of getting the virus.  I know a lot of people that are very afraid about the economy right now.

    • #15
  16. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    WI Con (View Comment):

    They’ve tanked the markets, maybe have caused a Depression to “save us” from a flu strain with a mortality rate of maybe between 3.4-1.2%?

    So is there an “acceptable” mortality rate that would have balanced economic concerns with only some deaths of the particularly susceptible?

    Yes. Because an economic crash will kill people too.

    I’ve seen that perspective advanced here, and it’s undeniably true in an “unquantifiable” sort of way.   Perhaps we should scale the “panic” back, and work up a video explaining to those who then find themselves in critical condition that they’re really helping the economy and saving the the future lives of some people that they’ve never met.

    • #16
  17. ParisParamus Member
    ParisParamus
    @ParisParamus

    I’m confused. You’re suggesting that all the work that went into mitigating the Y2K computer limitation had no effect? That makes no sense—I’ll leave it at that. Except for offering the word idiotic.

    I will repeat my only serious question about what’s going on right now: how did hundreds of thousands of Chinese visitors not bring a significant amount of the virus to the USA by, say January 15, 2020, and why did significant numbers of deaths only surface two months later?

    • #17
  18. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    WI Con (View Comment):

    They’ve tanked the markets, maybe have caused a Depression to “save us” from a flu strain with a mortality rate of maybe between 3.4-1.2%?

    So is there an “acceptable” mortality rate that would have balanced economic concerns with only some deaths of the particularly susceptible?

    Yes. Because an economic crash will kill people too.

    I’ve seen that perspective advanced here, and it’s undeniably true in an “unquantifiable” sort of way. Perhaps we should scale the “panic” back, and work up a video explaining to those who then find themselves in critical condition that they’re really helping the economy and saving the the future lives of some people that they’ve never met.

    As has been pointed out on other threads, we accept a certain number of “casualties” as part of life.  Tens of thousands of people die in car crashes every year, and many more are maimed or crippled for life.  Many/most of those lives could be saved if we instituted a national 25 mph speed limit, or banned auto travel entirely.  But we don’t because the cost would outweigh the benefit.

    • #18
  19. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    WI Con (View Comment):

    They’ve tanked the markets, maybe have caused a Depression to “save us” from a flu strain with a mortality rate of maybe between 3.4-1.2%?

    So is there an “acceptable” mortality rate that would have balanced economic concerns with only some deaths of the particularly susceptible?

    Yes. Because an economic crash will kill people too.

    I’ve seen that perspective advanced here, and it’s undeniably true in an “unquantifiable” sort of way. Perhaps we should scale the “panic” back, and work up a video explaining to those who then find themselves in critical condition that they’re really helping the economy and saving the the future lives of some people that they’ve never met.

    As has been pointed out on other threads, we accept a certain number of “casualties” as part of life. Tens of thousands of people die in car crashes every year, and many more are maimed or crippled for life. Many/most of those lives could be saved if we instituted a national 25 mph speed limit, or banned auto travel entirely. But we don’t because the cost would outweigh the benefit.

    As may also have been pointed out, those are everyday events approaching randomness, unlike a virus, and we’ve made choices because they are everyday events.  And the analogy is very imperfect in any event because, in cases of drunk driving where the cause and effect is much more quantifiable, we chose to completely change societal attitudes and expend significant resources to combat it.  We found it unpalatable to have families “accept” drunk driving and we should seriously consider whether we want to force selected families to “accept” deaths from COVID-19 in the name of the economy.

    • #19
  20. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    WI Con (View Comment):

    They’ve tanked the markets, maybe have caused a Depression to “save us” from a flu strain with a mortality rate of maybe between 3.4-1.2%?

    So is there an “acceptable” mortality rate that would have balanced economic concerns with only some deaths of the particularly susceptible?

     

    Yes. Because an economic crash will kill people too.

    I don’t know anyone personally who’s afraid of getting the virus. I know a lot of people that are very afraid about the economy right now.

    There will be increased domestic violence, some of which will result in fatalities. There will be heart attacks from increased stress. There will be increased suicides. There will be people who simply “give up.” Deliberately crashing the economy will kill people. And will permanently damage the health of many more. 

    If preventing deaths from a particular disease were really the all consuming top priority, we would have been shutting down the economy every autumn for the annual flu season, since flu kills many people every year. 

    • #20
  21. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Y2K might have “only” caused great economic and job losses, etc, but considering the people who seem to think it’s not worth “shutting down the economy” (which is very overstated) for possibly a few weeks in order to hopefully stifle more run-away infection, you’d think they would be more grateful for averting the economic damage that Y2K likely would have caused if a lot of people hadn’t put a lot of work into mitigating it.

    I mean, come on. Is the economy worth it, or not? Make up your minds!

    My objection is I do not believe the “run-away infection” claim that makes up so much of the media story-telling. I am not aware of any biological function in history that has followed a run-away path. The claims of infinite exponential growth remind me more of the “hockey stick” global warming fraud than the Y2K computer issue. 

    Plus, the media hypes the scare tactics by presenting their stories as though every person who comes into contact with the virus catches it, and once a person catches it, the person is doomed to a miserable death. The media almost completely ignore that almost all people who “test positive” have no symptoms or generally mild symptoms. The media scare people into thinking that “testing positive” is a death sentence. 

    • #21
  22. Marythefifth Member
    Marythefifth
    @Marythefifth

    Something I long to see that you’d think would bring some calm and sanity is side-by-side real time comparisons of covid-19 cases vs. seasonal flu cases. One would think that corona is the ONLY flu virus affecting the world right now. Every time a new case is reported for corona, the current numbers for regular flu must be shown as well. I’m hoping that data isn’t being suppressed or going unreported. Why the heck is no one doing this?

    • #22
  23. Roderic Reagan
    Roderic
    @rhfabian

    I hope that the measures being taken are so successful that people will be able to characterize them as an over-reaction.  But right now it looks like there will be plenty of reason to say the opposite, that is, why wasn’t more done?

    So far this thing is not slowing down.   We could still see that, and hopefully we’ll see it soon.

    We have chosen to take these measures to limit spread of the virus in part, I think, because they are supposed to be temporary.

    • #23
  24. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    WI Con (View Comment):

    They’ve tanked the markets, maybe have caused a Depression to “save us” from a flu strain with a mortality rate of maybe between 3.4-1.2%?

    So is there an “acceptable” mortality rate that would have balanced economic concerns with only some deaths of the particularly susceptible?

     

    Yes. Because an economic crash will kill people too.

    I don’t know anyone personally who’s afraid of getting the virus. I know a lot of people that are very afraid about the economy right now.

    Well, I know someone personally on a ventilator right now. In his 30s and (was) in great health. Now cannot breath and heart trouble.

    So, maybe people are not afraid. I have to say, at 50, that I am concerned to have been in contact with him in the past 10 days. 

    • #24
  25. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    If preventing deaths from a particular disease were really the all consuming top priority, we would have been shutting down the economy every autumn for the annual flu season, since flu kills many people every year. 

    But you know all those dead people don’t really matter because it’s only the flu.

    • #25
  26. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    WI Con (View Comment):

    They’ve tanked the markets, maybe have caused a Depression to “save us” from a flu strain with a mortality rate of maybe between 3.4-1.2%?

    So is there an “acceptable” mortality rate that would have balanced economic concerns with only some deaths of the particularly susceptible?

     

    Yes. Because an economic crash will kill people too.

    I don’t know anyone personally who’s afraid of getting the virus. I know a lot of people that are very afraid about the economy right now.

    There will be increased domestic violence, some of which will result in fatalities. There will be heart attacks from increased stress. There will be increased suicides. There will be people who simply “give up.” Deliberately crashing the economy will kill people. And will permanently damage the health of many more.

    If preventing deaths from a particular disease were really the all consuming top priority, we would have been shutting down the economy every autumn for the annual flu season, since flu kills many people every year.

    Except it looks like it may spread differently and be more fatal. We are not sure.

     

    • #26
  27. Roderic Reagan
    Roderic
    @rhfabian

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    My objection is I do not believe the “run-away infection” claim that makes up so much of the media story-telling. I am not aware of any biological function in history that has followed a run-away path. The claims of infinite exponential growth remind me more of the “hockey stick” global warming fraud than the Y2K computer issue. 

    The problem is that the infection is, right now, spreading fast enough to crash our medical system like it’s doing in Italy.  Eventually it will peak out, but when?  It’s got to be slowed down, and that hasn’t been happening. 

    • #27
  28. Roderic Reagan
    Roderic
    @rhfabian

    OldPhil (View Comment):
    But you know all those dead people don’t really matter because it’s only the flu.

    This is different.  The seasonal flu has never crashed the medical system.

    • #28
  29. Ralphie Inactive
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    Paul Erickson (View Comment):

    THANK YOU for justifying 4 years of my career and many million$ spent fixing Y2K. One wonders, had we let a few more lines of code slip by, would people maybe not have called it an IT hoax?

    I do think the comparision to y2k is not the same. We had a coder in our office who worked the year before y2k. The time frame is much different, the solutions also more likely to work based on information or we wouldn’t have had a coder working for a year, and yet, people worried that all that work on coding wouldn’t work.

    I would think, based on what the experts are recommending to flatten the curve, hospital capacity should be at or near capacity.  

    We are comparable to land size of China, but have 330,000,000 verses China’s 1.4 billion. We also do have more resources, but these are static numbers. The dynamics will be that the entire county will not see the same number of breakouts or health care stresses. 

    • #29
  30. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    I am seeing doctors now (it is a great time to get medical care, since they have cancelled all electives, and patients have cancelled all non-urgent appointments). In 3 offices in the last 2 days, I have seen a handful of other patients, TOTAL. So if you are not afraid to be up and about, this is a great window to get routine stuff done (in my case, physical, blood work and a scan).

    The US healthcare system is fully staffed, and twiddling their thumbs.

    • #30