The most humanane approach to Coronavirus is to let it spread without overwhelming the hospitals in any location. Mitigation orders, such as wearing masks, stay-at-home orders, and maintaining six feet of distance, while well-intentioned, actually prolong the agony, except when required in places that are in danger of overwhelming the hospital system.
The idea that we can maintain this near-complete shutdown of society for as long as Coronavirus exists is a recipe for disaster on a Biblical scale. And it is the “good people”— the ones who fret over accidentally infecting someone else—who are inflicting the most pain on humanity.
There Probably Won’t Be a Coronavirus Vaccine #
Since early March, researchers around the world have been warning us that a vaccine for Coronavirus is highly unlikely for a very simple reason: they have been searching for vaccines against Coronaviruses for decades and have never produced one. None.
Dr. Ian Frazer of Australia, the man who created the HPV vaccine, explains why in simple terms:
He said the challenge is that coronaviruses have historically been hard to make safe vaccines for, partly because the virus infects the upper respiratory tract, which our immune system isn’t great at protecting.
Despite your upper respiratory tract feeling very much like it’s inside your body, it’s effectively considered an external surface for the purposes of immunisation.
“It’s a bit like trying to get a vaccine to kill a virus on the surface of your skin.”
Your skin, and the outer layer of cells in your upper respiratory tract act as a barrier to viruses, stopping them getting into the body.
And finding a way to neutralise the virus “outside” of the body is very difficult.
This is partly because only the outer layer of cells (the epthelial cells) get infected, which, compared to a severe infection of internal organs doesn’t produce the same immune response, so is harder to target.
There are vaccines against wide ranges of viruses. But none for any Coronavirus despite decades of expensive, concentrated efforts. Now you know why.
Most Big Projects With Deadlines Fail #
I know that President Trump and others keep telling you about “encouraging results” from Coronavirus vaccine tests. But think back to the 1980s and 1990s, if you can. We heard about many “encouraging results” from HIV vaccines. This is because of a natural tendency to conflate the lack of early failure with success. We make this mistake in everything from dating to software development.
I’ve been involved in software development since the late 1980s. Most of the major projects I’ve been involved with have been, objectively, failures. That’s okay, because 68 percent software projects are failures according IAG Consulting. I won’t get into the reasons for this high failure rate. Instead, I’m going to show you the lifecycle of a failed project to explain how “encouraging results” early in a development cycle are almost always meaningless.
Here are the stages of a failed project. (I wrote this list for a friend of mine who’s wondering if the project he’s working on will end in doom):
Stages of a Failed Software Project #
Build enthusiasm for an idea
Create estimates at a moment of maximum enthusiasm and minimum information
Cut those estimates in half
Do the easiest, most visually appealing work first to make it look like the estimates were, if anything, too pessimistic
Try to do something of consequence with the system, and see the red lights blink on
Split the team in half: Team A attacks the problems, Team B keeps building new problems
Hide the problems to gain more funding
Convince management (or investors) that re-architecting some microsystem will solve the problems
Do a team reorganization
Promise to accelerate delivery of four new features to make up for time lost
Replace the people who quit because they’re pretty sure the whole thing is going down in flames
Let one of the new people on the team try something that worked at his last company
File into a big room where the CEO explains why he’s stopping the project
Another blogger recently posted this example of a failed software project. It’s pretty consistent with my experience, though he blames deadlines for the chaos. I don’t like to blame a root cause to failures, because most disasters have at least seven critical contributors, not just one.
Coronavirus researchers are just like software development organizations. They mistake lack of early failure for success. These “encouraging results” you’re hearing about are from Step 4 above. Vaccine developers, so far, haven’t made their prototypes fail. That’s a long way from being the next Facebook or Salesforce, or the vaccine equivalent thereof. Plus, they’re under pressure to not fail, which may lead to errors down the road.
Seventy Percent of Science Research Can’t Be Reproduced #
Over seventy percent of peer-reviewed, published scientific and medical studies cannot be replicated, as Hennessy’s View pointed out on May 3. Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Maybe a thumb-rule?
About 70 percent of human efforts end in failure. In software, smart companies figured this out long ago. They developed methods that are designed to achieve early failure. Failing early is failing cheap. Late failure costs a fortune.
If 70 percent of our work is going to end in failure, it doesn’t mean we should give up. It means we need to get through the failures fast so we can reap the rewards of the 30 percent that succeed faster.
The Coronavirus vaccine developers, though, are seeing billions of dollars thrown their way. And, like software developers in companies that haven’t figured out the failure rate of software, vaccine developers are under the pressure of a deadline. Deadline pressure increases the likelihood that a defective product will be certified as safe and effective..
That’s another lesson from software. If a development team is told to deliver a new widget by June 1 “or else,” deliver they will. Quality assurance teams will write tests that guarantee passing. Developers will hack together anything to meet that deadline. They’ll put on a showcase, carefully scripted, that convinces the executives the widget works, and, sadly, that browbeating and threats from executives lead to success.
Then, the customer gets the widget, uses it in a slightly different way than the QA happy path, and exposes its problems. The customer goes berserk and cancels the contract. Executives blame developers. Developers blame the deadline and “vague” requirements.
(If you’re a software engineer, you know what I’m talking about.)
The problem with vaccine development is that the widget is actually a life-or-death proposition. A bad vaccine combined with a desire to force every human on the planet to take it could result in billions of death. (Yes, I said “billions of deaths.")
I’m not predicting that. I’m predicting that I’m not the only one who sees this potential. I expect someone, sometime, to speak up and say “this vaccine can’t go to market,” either because it’s not safe or because it’s not effective.
That someone could be Dr. Fauci. He’s done it before.
The overwhelming evidence remains: Coronaviruses seem immune to vaccines.
And the rule-of-thumb tells us that there’s a 70 percent chance of failure in the hunt for a vaccine and only a 30 percent chance of success.
What this 70/30 Number Means #
There’s a 70 percent chance of no vaccine and a 30 percent chance of a vaccine in 12 months. What began as “15 Days to Slow the Spread” has turned into “15 Months to Eradicate the Disease.”
There’s a 70 percent chance that, even if we lock down completely for 15 months (total), there will be no eradication.
Meanwhile, unemployment, already above Depression levels, will continue to rise. And the unemployment problem is caused by the totality of mitigation, not just lockdowns. The six-feet “rule” means most restaurants can’t afford to open. It means many small businesses are better off closing for good, breaking leases, and defaulting on loans than operating at 25 percent capacity. It means the loss of most airlines and most hotels. For good.
It also means we will see a step-change drop in manufacturing as fewer and fewer people can afford what manufacturers produce.
All of these means less tax revenue for governments at all levels which, simultaneously, face increasing demands for welfare just to keep people alive.
And, to top it all off, the US government is approaching the actual market ceiling on its ability to take on new debt.
Have I mentioned pensions? I should. They’ll go bankrupt, too, if the pension-grade investments they rely on go belly-up.
Software giants? Most rely on either ad revenue or high disposable income. Without businesses to advertise and people with fun money, the coming tech bubble burst will make the dotcom bust look like a stock split.
Meanwhile, the people pushing for this total economic collapse believe they are doing the right thing to save lives and minimize human suffering. But they’re not. They’re actually promoting total societal collapse.
The “Karens” are leading us into disaster.
Coronavirus Mitigation Efforts and the Shiloh Baptist Church #
On September 2, 1902, hundreds of people packed into the Shiloh Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, to hear the words of Booker T. Washington. One hundred, fifteen of them died.
As Mr. Washington concluded his remarks, a dispute about an empty seat in the choir loft caused someone to shout, “A fight.” People mistook “fight” for “fire,” and began rushing the doors.
The church is raised about fifteen feet off the ground, meaning panicked people had to navigate over 20 steps. Bodies crushed into bodies pushing and shoving to reach the overcrowded exit. Hundreds were injured, and 115 killed, not by a fire, but by the reaction to the idea of a fire.
We’ve been told for years that early detection and treatment of myriad diseases, from cancer to diabetes, are the keys to survival.
Yet cancer detection is down 80 percent since March, as Coronavirus mitigation has shut down elective procedures, including screening, or scared people away from offices, clinics, and hospitals.
Moreover, cancel patients are foregoing treatment out of fear of Coronavirus, shortening their lives unnecessarily.
The result will be shorter life expectancy driven, not by Coronavirus, but by the social reaction to Coronavirus. It’s the Shiloh Baptist Church but on a national scale. And the “good people” who just want to protect everyone from Coronavirus are the modern-day patrons yelling “fire.”
Masks and Social Distancing Prolong and Increase Human Misery #
Then fact is that wearing mask will reduce the wearer’s ability to sneeze viruses onto other people. But it will not stop transmission of Coronavirus. Only a vaccine or herd immunity can do that. And there’s at least a 70 percent chance we will never have a vaccine.
The reason to wear masks is to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. Not to stop or eradicate a disease that will not be eradicated by behavior change.
If you’re not in an area where the hospitals are overwhelmed, wearing a mask will prolong suffering by delaying the point of herd immunity, driving up unemployment, increasing poverty, causing suicides, preventing treatment of deadly diseases like cancer and diabetes, and making life miserable for everyone.
Stop it, you do-gooders! You are the problem. I know you can’t see it. I know it makes you feel good to wear a mask and snitch on your neighbors, but you are not helping them. Coddling your feelings is prolonging and exacerbating human suffering–the very thing you claim to be avoiding.
This isn’t about your damned feelings! Our rights don’t stop where your feelings start. Get over yourself. You suck at critical thinking, so thinking “it might help” is dangerous. You’re not asking “but how might it hurt?” One way it will definitely hurt: masks make people meaner. Another: you are causing prolonged unemployment which increases depression, domestic violence, drug abuse, and suicide.
I’m going to Walmart without a mask despite their pleading, do-gooder signs asking me to wear one. Not because I care more about the fate of humanity than you do, but because I won’t participate your cruel game of false hope through useless suffering.