The nCoV shock has also been very illuminating in terms of the conspiratainment ecosystem. So much of what we've grappled with here over the years has been utterly opaque stuff, plausibly deniable black ops often enacted by actors who don't even officially exist. This, though?
You can follow some of the lead researchers on Twitter. They're just talking shop with other epidemiologists, or supply chain policy wonks. (The supply chain people, actually, haven't done that well with this so far, very complacent & slow to understand.)
Go to the source material. It's out there, available right now and almost entirely for free, too.
In fact, really the biggest "info-hazard," as the PR poodles like to put it, is that same open source conversation, an international network of institutional expertise and over-educated amateurs all trying to hammer out some basic collective sense-making. For us, it's a boon, a blessing, but for leadership attempting to hammer out a messaging roadmap and control / coordinate / conceal information, a waking nightmare.
In an era where narrative control is the last real power governmental authorities have left, I expect that to come under fire, both covertly (new policies at institutions, pressure from the executive level) and overtly (expect a lot of op-eds from concerned dipshits about whether or not we should be letting genomics sequencers, microbiologists and emergency management thinkers share information in public). I expect that to happen quite soon, too -- like, March 2020.
Have some sympathy for the devils, though. It's fundamentally true that most people are simply quite stupid, and equally so that mass panic is not only counter-productive, but likely to do just as much damage to society as the actual pandemic.
The problem is agency
, after all, and people in cities have very little agency; you're woven into a fabric of mutual dependency that can unravel very quickly.
What's more, even in the first world, emergency resources are rather limited. What happens when America's approximately one million available hospital beds are over-run? Bad things. Which is why it's important to keep these concerns out of the minds of, as limnalOyster gently put it, "those with worrying or hypochondrical tendencies." CDC's bounded estimates put influenza hospitalizations at between 140,000 – 810,000 per year.
The system can, sort of, handle that over the course of a flu season, it cannot handle that in the course of one month
. And remember, back when nCoV was just a fixation of terminal paranoids like me, we were already balls deep in a high volume flu season -- this after the 2018-19 flu season, which went down as "the longest on record.
" The system was already creaking.
Via: https://www.outbreakobservatory.org/out ... 020-season
Each year, public health authorities and healthcare providers prepare in anticipation of the inevitable arrival of flu season. The past several flu seasons in the US have been particularly difficult, with the 2017-18 season proving to be especially deadly and the 2018-19 season lasting considerably longer than others in a decade. This week, Outbreak Thursday will cover the current status of the 2019-20 flu season, which appears to be unfolding in an unusual manner, with an early start and an unanticipated dominant strain circulating, that is worrying health officials due to an early rise in cases.
And that's not even the biggest part of why US leadership (and leadership anywhere else) are so hesitant to pull the trigger on things like school closures or quarantines: most Americans (most people anywhere) live financially precarious lives, "paycheck to paycheck," and they cannot afford any disruption to their weekly routines. These measures will have dire long-term economic consequences; stated less obtusely, it will destroy millions of people's lives. Immediately, as soon as it happens.
And that's almost entirely thanks to the fragile, shitty system our ruling classes have built. "If the truth would kill them, let them die."
Civilization: somewhere between a feeding trough and a gun to our heads.
So, if you're Extremely Online, or have the ears of people in policy circles, keep hollering at them about DIRECT DEPOSIT STIMULUS to citizens instead of helicopter money for markets. The demand-side destruction is going to be massive and the sooner governments get in front of this, the better. It's for their own good.