WANTED: Rational Coronavirus Analysis

Its interesting to think that violence is sort of infective like virus, another way of man bringing misery on man.

I read Cicero was a pompous a-hole. Catiline, now theres a hero. 'How long will you go on testing our patience, oh Catiline'?
Whooooa ... your gravitas is off-the-charts. Thx...
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Where who knew what when … does that explain why on this tangential cellphone meta-evidence of a Wuhan lab going dark in the months leading to the pandemic (5/8)? So much uncertainty to sift through...
More meta-data for analysis comes our way … so while the cellphone call-volume suspiciously dropped at a Wuhan virology research lab late last year (see earlier links, above), Wuhan hospitals' parking-lot traffic and internet searches for intestinal disorders and coughing went way up.

Satellite images of Wuhan may suggest that Coronavirus was spreading as early as August (6/8, Guardian paywall; also here and here, with a comprehensive Good Morning America video). By taking the miles-high perspective of analyzing the number of cars parked at Wuhan hospitals and Baidu searches of symptoms in that region, Harvard Medical School theorizes that the COVID-19 outbreak could have happened months earlier than was claimed.


Predictably, in the article, China’s foreign ministry rejected the not-yet-peer-reviewed study, calling it “extremely absurd” ... perhaps, but not nearly in the league of this whopper: the claimed Chinese COVID-19 death toll.

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Pandemic to pandemonium to … [REPEAT?]

Here’s an odd HERE-WE-GO-AGAIN datapoint, from the source of this 'topic': Yet another potential Coronavirus pandemic threat has popped up at a Chinese wholesale-food market (6/16) -- allegedly caused by infected salmon, imported from Europe (6/15) -- and this has become a top news item in the US. Although the number of infected Chinese is relatively low (106, so far) in comparison to the ongoing caseloads in the West (millions), for some reason, the Chinese uptick is now the more newsworthy. [Drudge milks it below.]


Perhaps the upside here is that China is reporting outbreaks early..?!? Then again, as a (thorough) cynic mulls the Chinese Communist Party's suspiciously-timed announcements (6/16):

The CCP's commitment to transparency in sharing these 'warnings' about the Beijing outbreak seems almost overdone, as these non stop drip-drip headlines hammer US stocks. It's almost as if they're saying these things solely to hammer the US market (what's the point of announcing these measures when it's the middle of the night in China?).

A CBS News article on the Beijing outbreak (6/16) helpfully notes that Tokyo -- with a population of 37 million in its urban area -- is also having a COVID-19 resurgence ... adding a massive 20+ cases/day. Their bottom-line conclusion, for those who are missing the message:

The surges in two of Asia's biggest capitals serve as a clear warning to America and all other countries: reopening risks reinfection.
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Uh oh ... now we find out that the World Health Organization first heard of the Wuhan outbreak from a US website, rather than directly from China (7/2), as was earlier claimed.

Hey, why not … Suspected Bubonic Plague Case Reported in China’s Inner Mongolia (7/5).

The Wuhan “bat woman” -- Dr Shi Zhengli -- notes the striking similarity of the virus causing COVID-19 to one studied at that same lab earlier, as “it was 96.2% similar to a coronavirus sample named RaTG13 obtained in Yunnan in 2013” (7/5; for reference, human and chimp genomes are also about 96% similar). What's odd is that this information was initially disclosed in a paper in February 2020 by the scientist, but it's only being reported now...
UPDATE: Perhaps the study's release has something to do with this ... Why no one should believe COVID-19 is naturally-occurring (7/4).​
Oh, and now China is unhappily crowing again about importing their exported virus on seafood ... this time, the packaging of Ecuadorian shrimp is the alleged culprit (7/11; also Bloomberg, paywall).

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In contrast to the dovish Sinophile WHO administration, a controversial “ultra-hawk on China” claims that Chinese defectors are now sharing with Western intelligence agencies what actually happened in Wuhan (7/12), where the virus in now acknowledged to have been brought to the wet market, rather than originating from. That said, even if it was just a could-happen-to-anyone accident, it’s claimed that “95 per cent of the lives lost and the economic carnage would have been contained”, if the Chinese Communist Party hadn’t engaged in a cover-up.

At least WHO and billionaires agree ... Elon Musk: ‘China Rocks,’ America Is Full of ‘Complacency and Entitlement’ (8/3).
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The ongoing societal turbulence from the nexus of pandemic, pandemonium, etc was accurately predicted by Dr Peter Turchin, a UConn professor (6/16) who teaches cultural evolution. Turchin theorizes that overproduction of (troublemaking) elites is the primary cause of the rise of the dissatisfied All Other oppressed (both links from 2013, when turbulence was on the upswing) ... looks like this is yet another monatomic zero-sum relationship.

Turchin characterizes human history in 50- to 60-year cycles of order and disorder … the 1960s were an unrest peak, and alas now we have arrived at...

2020 (6/1).
The incidents of riots and anti-government demonstrations are charted below for the US and Europe.

Since his recent told-you-so column on 2020 (above), Turchin has issued an explanation of his methodology -- The Science behind My Forecast for 2020 (6/15) – which includes the following chart for the US from 1955-2020 with his custom metric:

Political Stress Indicator (PSI … under pressure, indeed) .

Oddly, the 1960s is shown as pretty tranquil. Also, it seems that this chart has an inflection point around the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal

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Practice makes perfect..? The Pandemic Is a Dress Rehearsal (8/3, WSJ paywall): “The world is entering a transformative era. Prepare for more chaos and instability.”
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TS Contributor
Hey, ex post rulez ok.

At any time, there are many, many prognoses about any type
of upcoming crisis, e.g. economic crash, violent conflicts, epidemics etc.
After a crisis has happened, the one correct out of 3416 prognoses is
picked up and some people inevtiably say "see, Professor XY told you
so before" (and if Prof. XY is clever, he will make a living from his
supposedly magical precognition, introduced where ever he appears
as "this is the man who predicted the crash of 2008" or something like that).

Personally, I would have been interested in that stuff if you had cited it last
year, in order to point predict what will be happening 2020.

With kind regards

Personally, I would have been interested in that stuff if you had cited it last
year, in order to point predict what will be happening 2020.
Despite my being a fan of Turchin since his 2013 prognoses on his 60-year order-disorder cycle, this material wasn't applicable/relevant, until our pandemic lockdown recently transitioned into social-justice pandemonium.

That said, Turchin was cited earlier in this thread, commenting on the impact of COVID-19 on the US, before the pandemonium started...
The leading cliodynamist, who sees world history in unit-metrics of centuries, has a gloomy outlook on the impact of COVID-19 on the US, well beyond the eventual death toll (4/20). Back in 2013, this historian had (way too) accurately forecast our present social turbulence: Blame Rich, Overeducated Elites as Society Frays (reprint, not behind Bloomberg paywall).
Guess we'll need to wait until 2080 to see if Turchin can truly take a victory lap on his cliodynamic theory.

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Here’s an earlier thorough statistical overview by Turchin on the ‘Impending Crisis’ (c.2008; lots of relevant charts, data going back to 1780) ... of course, the crisis is now no longer pending. From the probability/prediction standpoint, Turchin has noted that, historically, social upheaval can lead to civil war, and this 2020 turbulence could possibly lead in that unfortunate direction (6/17, and here).

Turchin had already noted The Strange Disappearance of Cooperation in America (2013), with the decline of 'social capital'. He argues that "general well-being (and high levels of social cooperation) tends to move in the opposite direction from [income] inequality".

For more perspective on Turchin’s broad cliodynamic theories, his book War and Peace and War (2006, the title a wry reference to the cycles of human history) maintains that asabiya – the Arabic term for social cohesiveness and capacity for collective action – is critical for a successful society.

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Dr Turchin himself rightfully boasts, and then wonders … "I predicted 2020 would be a mess for the U.S. Could that help prevent a second civil war?" (7/3, The Globe and Mail paywall)
Excerpt: Nevertheless, ours may be the first society with the opportunity to perceive the deep underground currents underlying the current crisis. Complex systems, such as our society, resist simple linear solutions, which often make situations worse through unintended consequences. We need to use the novel methods of complexity science, translating our analytical insights from studying past and current crises, into evidence-backed, probabilistic and scientifically rigorous computational models that leaders and the public can use.
What are the odds of a 'self-defeating prophecy'? And even if we can’t learn from our mistakes, perhaps at least we can benefit from the ‘Observer effect’..?
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A Nobel-winning economist suggests that ‘Narrative epidemics’ now drive the wacky valuation of equities: Understanding the Pandemic Stock Market (7/7). Markets no longer react to the news, instead react to the reaction to the news. This could lead one to ponder: Cui bono? …the 0.001% is certainly doing just fine, while 99% of America is divided and distracted. [UPDATE: In case you were wondering, the rich continue their winning ways (7/31).]

In Narrative-epidemic news, the US media continues to crow loudly about the increased COVID-19 case rate with the massive increase in testing, but avoids reporting the falling death rate (7/8).

In theory, this data could provide opportunities for rational analyses...
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This is a continuation of post

Finally, we have detailed thorough academic rational analyses -- by Imperial College London* -- on the overall impact of the COVID-19 shutdown (7/17, PDF):
Excerpt: The lowest estimate for lockdown costs incurred was 50% higher than highest benefits from avoiding the worst mortality case scenario at full life expectancy tariff and in more realistic estimation they were over 50 times higher.

This paper is now apparently still in peer-review, so it might get yanked for being contrarian to the missions of the WHO, CDC, Gates Foundation, American media, DNC, local government administration, my neighbors, most of my family and friends, etc.

* Ironically, Imperial College’s Neil Ferguson was the prime conveyor of the early COVID-19 doomsday projection that was used to justify said lockdowns.
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I don't doubt it. For me, I just always have an aversion to these 'quality life years lost' and related metrics. Its just not a 'hard' outcome in the clinical trial sense. I'm all like: 'fine, but can we get back to biology now?'. I like endpoints like dead: check yes or no.
For me, I just always have an aversion to these 'quality life years lost' and related metrics. Its just not a 'hard' outcome in the clinical trial sense. I'm all like: 'fine, but can we get back to biology now?'. I like endpoints like dead: check yes or no.
While the concept of ‘Life’ is indeed binary -- in the classic ON/OFF sense -- the more nuanced concept of time in biology is a meaningful metric to understand and monitor the impact of novel forces on an organism’s population and environment. In the animal realm, this applies from mayflies to quahog clams, although the relative time-scale would vary for each organism.

Unfortunately, the human organism’s unique self-awareness can lead to irrational decisions, with regards to the impact on the population and environment of a given force (Coronavirus) and the resultant reaction (global pandemic and economic shutdown).
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I have doubts you can actually model US cultural responses to the virus, but that is a purely personal opinion.
Your doubts have merit in a general sense, but at least some folks like the intrepid cliodynamist, Dr Turchin, take a crack at the 'Big Picture' (see earlier post).

And let's not forget that making projections about the future are part of the essence of being human. As is socializing, although that's been restricted by government-mandate, until further notice ... any projections on when that inaction will be eased?
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I have doubts you can actually model US cultural responses to the virus, but that is a purely personal opinion
to me, it just seems that some of the health-economics things are too open to seeing it the way you want to. The score keeping just seems open to manipulation. Its hard enough to agree on basic things like 'did they die of the disease y/n', and the data is all a mish-mash of various sources and methods with no real control or standardization.

I guess im saying that if there is some sort of 'flat earth society' for health-economics you could probably sign me up. Its like budget reports on how many billions of dollars various policies will save. Sure man, let me know when you got the billion!

with that said i don't doubt the basic conclusion, which seems to be 'lockdowns dont pay for themselves', but that could be said of alot of medical interventions if you think about it.
to me, it just seems that some of the health-economics things are too open to seeing it the way you want to. The score keeping just seems open to manipulation. Its hard enough to agree on basic things like 'did they die of the disease y/n', and the data is all a mish-mash of various sources and methods with no real control or standardization.
** BINGO ** The nuance between dying with, and dying from, COVID-19 makes all the difference in clouding the official check-marked fatality data … right, Dr Birx? (early April press conference, where she outlines the difference between US official policy and that of other countries). Also back in April, the follow-the-money incentive for hospital administrators to classify patients as COVID-19 sufferersconfirmed or not, pre-existing conditions or none -- was revealed by a physician-politician, a claim that survived debunking.

Courtesy of the CDC, a look at the concrete raw macro-data of all US deaths shows the diminishing effect of COVID-19 on overall weekly fatalities:
Excess Deaths Associated with COVID-19 (7/22, reformatted chart below)

From that Big Picture study, it certainly appears that the impact/threat of COVID-19 is dissipating ... but you wouldn’t know that from what’s being squawked about by health officials, politicians and the media. It's almost as if these pillars-of-the-community have an agenda.

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Dr. Rebel Cole -- a business-analyst professor from Florida, a COVID-19 epicenter -- notes the faulty recording/reporting on the incidence rate of infection and fatality (7/20). His team at Florida Atlantic University created a ‘COVID tracker’ that more accurately accounts for these statistics in the state. In a TV interview (7/24), Dr. Cole laments that government data is irretrievably screwed skewed by:

1) Dr Birx’s April mandate that a death with COVID must be counted as a death from COVID,​
2) many testing facilities reporting only positive tests, not their negative tests, and​
3) deaths and new cases tending to be reported in clumps, not on the day they occurred.​
In the first link above, Dr Cole points out that the original strain of the COVID-19 virus, known as ‘D614’, mutated into a new strain known as ‘G614’. Researchers have determined that the new strain is about 10 times as infectious as the original virus, but is much less lethal. It is G614 that is prevalent across the Sun Belt, where positive cases have soared.
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yeah i dont know, i sholdn't encourage you with this but its more entertaining than the usual normal curves fair.

I just wonder how some of these people get to such high places in these government agencies without knowing how to kiss up better. If el jefe says the trend is down, then draw a graph with a downward trend, if he/she says up then up. Simple. Why make a huge project of finding 'correct figures' when no ones got a clue anyway?
Well don't look at me, i just *accidentally* stumbled in here as well. But since we were all spotted at the scene of the crime, I think that honor among thieves dictates that we all go our separate ways and not speak of it again.
Every time I accidentally stumble into this thread it feels like an entirely different site in a bad way.
Sorry if this thread stirs emotions, with its overall way-badness.

It's just kinda hard to find goodness in this global pandemic ... then resultant societal lockdown and, with it, economic collapse ... then widespread violent pandemonium ... then [who-tf knows what's next]...

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Finally, a 'feel-good' angle, during our COVID crisis ... please note that this personalized therapy should only be practiced during self-quarantine. On a related note, Dr Fauci recommends wearing goggles (7/30).

Hey, another bad-news COVID-19 tangent ... this budding known-known infectious-disease crisis was certainly predictable, if inconveniently concurrent … ‘The Biggest Monster’ Is Spreading. And It’s Not the Coronavirus (8/4, NYTimes paywall): “Tuberculosis kills 1.5 million people each year. Lockdowns and supply-chain disruptions threaten progress against the disease as well as H.I.V. and malaria.” Worldwide progress could be set back 20 years.
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