Recorded on March 27, 2020
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya is a professor of medicine at Stanford University. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a senior fellow at both the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and the Stanford Freeman Spogli Institute. His March 24, 2020, article in the Wall Street Journal questions the premise that “coronavirus would kill millions without shelter-in-place orders and quarantines.” In the article he suggests that “there’s little evidence to confirm that premise—and projections of the death toll could plausibly be orders of magnitude too high.” In this edition of Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson we asked Dr. Bhattacharya to defend that statement and describe to us how he arrived at this conclusion. We get into the details of his research, which used data collected from hotspots around the world and his background as a doctor, a medical researcher, and an economist. It’s not popular right now to question conventional wisdom on sheltering in place, but Dr. Bhattacharya makes a strong case for challenging it, based in economics and science.
In this conversation Dr. Bhattacharya says that within a month time they will have the first mass epidemiological study with serological tests to determine the scale of the virus. Instead of testing if the virus is currently present in the system, it instead tests for markers if you've previously been infected. By testing thousands of people, they can extrapolate the mortality rate of the virus (measured case fatality rate), which can inform government policy on maintaining the 'quarantine' or instead implementing targeted quarantines in specific regions, where the healthcare system can cope with the projected Covid-19 cases.
Dr. Bhattacharya claimed in his WSJ article that if the virus had hit the USA in January 1, that by March 9, three million people should have already been infected. The 499 Covid-19 related deaths by March 9 would have led to a 0.01 percent mortality rate.
He further states that the economic fall-out of the quarantine measures can exceed those of the viral impact in causing more deaths.
He also states, that this being the third corona-related pandemic in the 21th century, that they would have to set up new large scale serological testing surveys up around the world in order to deal with this new threat in a globalized world.
Forum-autist, coming through!