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D&D and the rising pandemic


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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I read about science/fact deniers all the time, and they never really seem real to me. Flat-earthers, Antivaxers, Illuminati watchers, they all just sound so laughable, like a comedy bit or a cartoon. "Surely nobody actually believes that rhetoric," I'll chuckle to myself. And then I meet one in real life and have to do a double-take.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
FYI for everyone: A bad flu year is 60,000 deaths. An average one is 35,000. 360,000 deaths is not a bad flu year by a long shot.
And we can actually detect and distinguish between influenza and covid-19.

So the thing is nobody is rational. "Rational" people are at best people who have as psrt of their self image that they are rational, so feel discomfort when confronted with rational arguments that disagree with their behaviours or beliefs.

But really, people are a near random collection of habits and beliefs. And irrational habits or beliefs? They don't really harm you that much. You don't end up dead very often from believing false things; so long as you mosey along and mostly do things that other people around you do (plus a bit of random crap), you'll do fine, ish.

Thing is, deciding what to do "rationally" is insanely hard. Nobody is actually smart enough to do it. And even people who think they are rational? They can be hacked with "rational" arguments that lead to false conclusions. Being "rational" can make you a mark, because you just exposed your OODA loop.

What more, as luck (of birth, skills, or habits) tends to matter much more than "rational" does, it doesn't even correlate with power.

The bigest sanction 90/100 people will get from being a flat earther is a social one. Hell, it would only be marginally harder to learn how to fly a plane as a true flat earther believer; just compartamentalize the job from your beliefs.

So you got this bundle of random behaviour, and people actively hacking you with belief systems that make you feel good and make you a mark for the next one.
 

ccs

41st lv DM
I read about science/fact deniers all the time, and they never really seem real to me. Flat-earthers, Antivaxers, Illuminati watchers, they all just sound so laughable, like a comedy bit or a cartoon. "Surely nobody actually believes that rhetoric," I'll chuckle to myself. And then I meet one in real life and have to do a double-take.

At least with the Illuminate watcher types they MIGHT actually be seeing {something}. After all, there ARE people who're plotting things, acting suspicious, etc. Add in a dose of imagination &/or crazy on the viewers end &....
 

Probably worse; if you completely overwhelm the medical system, besides saveable COVID cases dying, you also lose people who you'd normally save at risk from other causes because they don't get treated as promptly or properly as they could be. That's bound to already happened to some degree, we just don't know how to attach proper numbers to it.

To give an example of this, the mother of a good friend of mine recently had to be rushed to hospital for an operation. Due to how much covid had overwhelmed the hospital, they had to set priorities and determine how urgent this operation was. Doctors determined that it was urgent enough to get her into surgery immediately, but many other patients have to wait. Covid has overwhelmed the hospitals so much, that people could (and will) simply die from having delays of their operation.

After the operation, there were complications. Although the operation itself was succesful, she experienced internal bleeding afterwards. A new operation had to be scheduled amidst this crisis. Normally they'd get you under the knife again asap, but that simply wasn't possible this time around. She had to wait a few days.

She's alright though. Everything went fine. But it is easy to see how simple delays like that can cost lives.
 
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Do they need to come pile the bodies in front of your door before you believe it?

I tried to explain this to my covid-conspiracy crazy friend. I showed him pictures of the military convoys in Italy carrying all the bodies. But there is no reasoning with people consumed by this cult.

According to a Dutch nurse, and I quote:

'They are so far down the rabbit hole that they'll keep insisting that "it's just a flue" as they are on ventilators and breath their final breath. It is horrific.'
 

Hussar

Legend
Just how everyone runs and cowers from it. One out of every 7 people in the 19th century died of tuberculosis. And then there was measles, whooping cough, small pox, wars and more. I think we have raised a society of cowards that will be let authoritarians lock them up while their livelihoods are being destroyed and we are put into another Great Depression. That’s my opinion of these reactions to the pandemic.
Yup. Took centuries for it to kill that many people. In a single year, Covid-19 has killed 1% of the US population. One year. With the best modern medicine on the planet.

Say we step back and do nothing. So, in 10 years, Covid-19 will surpass the total deaths of Tuberculosis.

And this is a good thing? You figure losing 10% of your population in 10 years won't devastate your country?
 


NotAYakk

Legend
Yup. Took centuries for it to kill that many people. In a single year, Covid-19 has killed 1% of the US population. One year. With the best modern medicine on the planet.

Say we step back and do nothing. So, in 10 years, Covid-19 will surpass the total deaths of Tuberculosis.

And this is a good thing? You figure losing 10% of your population in 10 years won't devastate your country?
It is currently between 0.1% and 0.2%, not 1%.

In areas where it mass infects it hits around 1%.

Death rates have fallen. Apparently mostly because doctors are no longer trying crazy treatments en mass, and just accepting a large fraction of people on vents die; with crazy treatments, more died. And I think they found like 1 or 2 non-garbage treatments. (The next time you have some expert talk about novel treatments remember this. Doctors are people, and they want to do something to prevent death, so they try. And often it fails. When about 50% death is baseline, it is hard to tease out if your intervention helped or hindered.)

Manhatten is well passed 30% infected, but short of 100%. Dakotas are also up there now; they are approaching 0.2% total population dead with only a modest slow down in death rates.

Vaccinations should reduce death rates faster than it does infection rates, as we innoculate the vulnerable first. So hopefully the next wave (in places where the first stopped) won't be as deadly.
 

briggart

Explorer
Yup. Took centuries for it to kill that many people. In a single year, Covid-19 has killed 1% of the US population. One year. With the best modern medicine on the planet.

Say we step back and do nothing. So, in 10 years, Covid-19 will surpass the total deaths of Tuberculosis.

And this is a good thing? You figure losing 10% of your population in 10 years won't devastate your country?
Minor nitpicking, it has killed about 1.5% of the infected, corresponding to ~ 0.1% of total US population. Not that this changes anything about the gravity of the situation.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
So the thing is nobody is rational. "Rational" people are at best people who have as psrt of their self image that they are rational, so feel discomfort when confronted with rational arguments that disagree with their behaviours or beliefs.

My understanding of the neuro- and cognitive sciences say this is not quite right. It'd be more accurate to say that people can be rational, but they have to work at it and don't always manage it.

Thing is, deciding what to do "rationally" is insanely hard. Nobody is actually smart enough to do it.

Sure we are. The issue isn't one of being "smart enough". It is about being aware what it going on inside your head, and purposefully setting up patterns to avoid traps. You might consider that, in fact, each of us is of two minds. They speak with the same voice, though, so it can be hard to distinguish them if you aren't careful.

The human brain has a set of structures collectively called the "limbic system". It is responsible for regulating your endocrine system, processing your response to emotional stimuli, and reinforcing behavior. For our purposes, you may consider this the "Oh sh*t, jaguar!" portion of your brain. It isn't precisely illogical, so much as it is based on getting you a fast response based on only small bits of information. When there is, in fact, a jaguar in the tall grass, you want the limbic system, as it gets you the fear response you need to rev up your adrenaline and get your feet moving. When there may be a jaguar, the cost of being wrong is small, compared to the value of being right, so the limbic response is useful and appropriate.

You also have structures in your brain that can process cold, clear logic very well. But they are glacially slow compared to the limbic system. By the time you have processed a rational response, the limbic system has already gotten its answer out there, and you're already acting on it.

Also relevant for our discussion - the limbic system does not differentiate between physical and social threats. Someone coming at you with a club is not all that different from a person about to cause you great loss of face, from the limbic standpoint.

Our collective problem being that there are very few jaguars any more. For modern life, we really want the reasoned response that is so often drowned out or colored by the limbic response. And, we can get it, but it takes practice to filter out the nonsense, and anyone can occasionally fail.
 

Thomas Shey

Adventurer
To give an example of this, the mother of a good friend of mine recently had to be rushed to hospital for an operation. Due to how much covid had overwhelmed the hospital, they had to set priorities and determine how urgent this operation was. Doctors determined that it was urgent enough to get her into surgery immediately, but many other patients have to wait. Covid has overwhelmed the hospitals so much, that people could (and will) simply die from having delays of their operation.

After the operation, there were complications. Although the operation itself was succesful, she experienced internal bleeding afterwards. A new operation had to be scheduled amidst this crisis. Normally they'd get you under the knife again asap, but that simply wasn't possible this time around. She had to wait a few days.

She's alright though. Everything went fine. But it is easy to see how simple delays like that can cost lives.

I live in Los Angeles County; when you hear about ambulances driving around for hours and paramedics treating people outside the hospital because they just can't wait any longer, you know its gotten pretty bad.
 

Thomas Shey

Adventurer
I tried to explain this to my covid-conspiracy crazy friend. I showed him pictures of the military convoys in Italy carrying all the bodies. But there is no reasoning with people consumed by this cult.

According to a Dutch nurse, and I quote:

'They are so far down the rabbit hole that they'll keep insisting that "it's just a flue" as they are on ventilators and breath their final breath. It is horrific.'

Yeah, I've heard of that sort of thing from doctors in the U.S. Its become so much of their world view that they cling to it until literally the end.
 

Thomas Shey

Adventurer
Vaccinations should reduce death rates faster than it does infection rates, as we innoculate the vulnerable first. So hopefully the next wave (in places where the first stopped) won't be as deadly.

Might get lost in the noise given the new strain though; if the infection rate is 70% greater (the number I've seen quoted) but the death rate once infected is the same, its going to take a little bit before you get much net gain there.
 

My sister-in-law (a nurse) just got her first Covid vaccine shot. Super-excited for her, but she did have a nasty reaction - a brief spike in fever up to 104. Thankfully it was brought down to 99 with some aspirin.

My brother apparently also qualifies for earlier vaccination, much to his surprise (he's a psychologist). Me, as an IT worker, I figure I'm going to be waiting a good long while.
 

cmad1977

Hero
I live in Los Angeles County; when you hear about ambulances driving around for hours and paramedics treating people outside the hospital because they just can't wait any longer, you know its gotten pretty bad.

We’re literally triaging people in the streets. “But it’s a hoax!”
 

Thomas Shey

Adventurer
My understanding of the neuro- and cognitive sciences say this is not quite right. It'd be more accurate to say that people can be rational, but they have to work at it and don't always manage it.

One of the biggest parts is working against confirmation bias. That can be an uphill fight.

(Good discussion of limbic response, by the by).
 

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