We finally have a date. On May 11, the official Covid Emergency ends. The actual emergency is, of course, long over, but for technical reasons the official change will have to wait a bit.
A related question is when it stops making sense to continue writing weekly Covid posts. My basic plan for a while has been ‘when there stops being content for them’ and somehow I still end up with a bunch of content every week. That does not mean this is the right format for that content, or that this is the right content to be creating.
I will continue to think more about this, and have not made a decision yet.
The other news is that we finally have a reformulation of all shots of the Covid vaccine… to the version we approved for boosters that is already out of date. We will likely never have a properly up to date Covid vaccine again. Oh well.
A key source of misunderstanding and conflict is failure to distinguish between combinations of the following four cases.
Sometimes people model and describe the physical world, seeking to convey true information because it is true.
Other times people are trying to get you to believe what they want you to believe so you will do or say what they want.
Other times people say things mostly as slogans or symbols to tell you what tribe or faction they belong to, or what type of person they are.
Then there are times when talk seems to have have gone strangely meta or off the rails entirely. The symbolic representations are mostly of the associations and vibes of other symbols. The whole thing seems more like a stream of words, associations and vibes. It sounds like GPT-4.
One can refer to these as the simulacra levels as a useful fake framework for understanding this. When looking at talk, one can ask what level or levels a statement or discussion is on, and which ones people care about in context. One can also ask about the level a person, group or civilization most cares about. That is also how they default to understanding new talk.
This concept has important details that are difficult to understand. The posts linked up top offer discussions of four definitions that all point at the same dynamics. Each is stronger at capturing different elements.
As a more concise alternative, this post gathers together the most vital information.
A large decline in cases, right at the end of January.
This week’s fun exercise is the clash between a call for the CDC to focus on being a center for disease control and offload its quixotic side quests, versus a former head of the CDC insisting that people will die (die I tell you!) if such dangerous changes are implemented.
Cases down by 27%.
Former FDA head calls for CDC to be CDC, former CDC head returns fire.
Jury duty? School? Covid positive? No problem, come on down.
Transformative aligned AI would increase real interest rates. A lot.
Transformative unaligned AI would increase real interest rates. A lot.
Markets continue to have low interest rates not pricing this in.
Therefore, either (A) AI not only isn’t about to end the world it also is not about to do anything economically that powerful or (B) the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) is false.
There is no one in the market to price this in. Beyond avoiding wrong-way investments and locking in low-interest loans, the few who buy the hypothesis have better trades to make than betting on future interest rates.
Nor is the market meaningfully considering and then rejecting the hypothesis.
The pre-Covid-pandemic market did not peak until February 20, 2020.
Quite a lot of deaths got reported by quite a lot of different states this week. Case numbers did not spike, and instead actively declined. What’s going on? It is right after Christmas and New Years, which means the least reliable reporting of the year, and no one cares much anymore – Indiana and Illinois didn’t bother reporting anything on either front – so the obvious explanation is this is a lot of backlog dumping with the new year. It could however also be that XBB.1 is doing its thing and no one is bothering to test anymore. Error bars are very high for next week.
What I am not worried about, given the case numbers, is that this wave is going to get out of hand. Even if things are worse than we thought right now, it is a bounded worse, and mostly should not much alter our behaviors.
Huge spike in deaths, likely holiday reporting issues. Some chance it reflects a lot of unreported XBB.1 cases. Cases actively declined this week.
New ‘Twitter files’ on vaccine information is a hack hit job, nothing to see there.
The origin of the athlete death claims is dumber than you expected.