The Skeptics Guide #776 - May 23 2020
Today is Wednesday May Twentieth Twenty Twenty. And this is your host. Stephen Avella joining me this week. Or Bob Novella. Everybody Cares Santa. Maria Howdy Jada Villa. Hey Guys Evan Bernstein. Good evening folks and we have a special guest rogue on the show this week. David Cheesman David welcome to the skeptics guide and honor so David a patron of the Hugh and as that's why you're here with us but we were just talking before the show how it's amazing. I all of the people that we've had on the show all the guest. Rogues who are patrons have been awesome like their experts in something right so you are like a nuclear engineer or something right yes I did. Two and a half years in the submarine Navy as a submarine officer got qualified on two different reactor designs the W reactor design. Which is what they use for trading you on land before they put you to about. That's designed to sink. Could sink really far if you don't do things right and then call S. Nine G. Which is the reactor of choice for the Virginia Class submarines and I was actually based in Groton Connecticut. Right right at your doorstep so yeah did that for about two and a half years got medically disqualified so I had to cross rate into information professional. Which does navy networks radio communications and CRYPTOGRAPHY FOR BASICALLY TO KEEP COMMUNICATIONS Six on the allied side. So the balloon and so. That's that's basically what I did. I for six years and then punched out work for a couple of startups which serious games company today company. So that's what I do now. Where's my three? I'm reactor actually which he may get to that later. Actually you're going to be talking about nuclear reactor news item later on in in the new segment. So how has the cove nineteen pandemic Ben for your industry for the most part? We are really resilient to it so our office was designed from the beginning to be like the actually. The first that I started with was remote work from the start which was a huge win for me in terms of quality of life and then the second company that I got hired onto and I worked for both concurrently is designed to be an office company but I was grandfathered in remote because I live in another state so I'm very lucky and very fortunate that it didn't affect my life too much and particularly my industry too much at least within our company. So let's let's talk a little bit about covert nineteen. We've been giving the update every week We'll we'll start the numbers we were just over five million cases worldwide. Three hundred twenty nine thousand deaths. It's looks like we're going up by about a million cases a week. Now you know last couple of weeks is a week. You mean globe. Yeah yeah course I in the US. We were at ninety two thousand deaths. Of course it will be higher by the time the show comes out the little bit of a downtrend but I think we mentioned the last week or the week before that that's entirely because New York state peaked early and it's on the downward trend. If you've factor out New York state the rest of the. Us is actually still on the increase. But we'll save me at some point. We have to be getting to the other side of this. This first wave yeah. The problem is now that we're reopening kind of across the country. A lot of experts are saying. There's probably going to be a quick second wave. Just from the social distancing. Relax as a better to have that second wave come earlier or dollar have come later. Well it's not it's not like oh a second wave is down to until we have a vaccine. This is going to keep happening. We're nowhere near her immunity. So as soon as you relax social distancing more people are gonNA get sick. It's just how it works and I wanted to correct if that's okay Steve. Something that a few people reached out Iraq but clarify a few people reach out. 'cause last week. I made an offhand comment about and I think this might be what the people who reach out were referring to about the fact that there seems to be a correlation between states that are relaxing social distancing and obviously rates increasing and a lot of those states are southern states or are more conservative states. I wasn't talking about individual people I think across the board the mentality on the show. We sometimes been a little less careful when we say that people want to get back to work because of isolation fatigue and that's where a lot of this drive is coming from and we may be might have made that seemed like that was a partisan issue of course people that are struggling financially across the political spectrum are ready to get back to work but the point I was making. Is that at a policy level like at a state level. We're seeing that those are the correlations are not that individuals thing that we A. We mentioned that conversation was the fact that the protests are largely due or like turf. What do you call that astroturf kind of movement? They're not really grassroots. Do not appear there are some people who are legitimate grassroots spiracy theories that there were part of this protest. But we're not talking about just somebody who is pushing back against the idea of continued isolation because it's really financially killing them talking about the people with guns and signs you know having armed protests against the government that racial mark on their liberty. Yeah I mean there's demonstrations. We know that that those are more orchestrated. They're making political statements. We were we. Were not trying to say that anybody who is like questioning like. How long do we have to do this? Lockdown you while they're struggling financially that it was somehow political or orchestrated. Whatever so just to clarify that but we are getting into this transition phase. Now where we're having a serious conversation and we do also get some pushback which I think kind of Mrs Pieces of our conversation about. It's not all about just the science of the pandemic itself. We have to balance the effect on the economy because that will kill people to versus the effect of the of the covid nineteen itself. But here's the thing. No one is saying that we're just GONNA shut down indefinitely or air on this. Even err on the side of shutting down we want to carefully calibrate exactly how to shut down and and how and went open up where there's good ways to do it and not enough good ways to do it the again. I will reinforce however nobody knows ultimately. We've we haven't been here before. This is first time we're doing this. I don't think anybody can say that we are. We have a clear map and exactly how to do this. We're feeling our way with just logic and evidence as best as we can but without really the experienced a know what the right thing to do is so what. I'm hearing that I think makes the most sense and these are the I think a lot of recommendations coming from the CDC etc is that you want to use some kind of metric you know like declining numbers of cases hospital admissions deaths over a period of time. Say Okay then we could start opening up you open up gradually and you monitor how what effect that's having if the gradual opening starts to cause another spike in cases and you gotTa shut down again and then also continuing to use handwashing masks and social distancing while we're opening up and then finally we need testing and contact tracing in order to do targeted isolation to a good article about it. Because he's at Harvard. He said listen we process you know processes every day you have to indicate whether or not you're having symptoms you get your temperature tested if you have anything then you get tested for. Covid nineteen and you stay away from work until you test negative if positive then obviously you have it than isolation for whatever two weeks. So they are. They are being very very careful. We're doing very similar things at Yale as well like my temperature taken every time I walk into my clinic for example everyone is wearing a mask. they're wiping down everything between every patient where we're going to be opening up our clinic next week and Connecticut is is opening up and we just got a big email. Here's our protocol this long elaborate protocol about how we're going to do social distancing in the clinic fewer patients you know wash wipe that longer times wiping down between every every patient etc. You know. We're we're going to be doing more continued. You tell telehealth for those that we can. It's a process. We're not just going back to business as usual for the Charter Linak. You're a medical facility where you obviously have the know how you have access to the tests. You have access to all of the necessary like it's GonNa take time before a hair salon is able to do this. You know. It can't be like everything just opens up on the same day and it's mony and people are going to say but I need a haircut is going to be sort of a hard truth that we're going to have to accept. Is that regardless of what we ended up doing in the long run until this is over. Were hindsight is always going to make it. Look like we did something wrong. There's always GONNA be family. Said we waited too long to reopen and people that lost their jobs because of it and they're also be people who lost family members. I think that we should have kept the controls longer and those people will exist in at the same time and it always looked like we did something wrong. Thing is we talked about this once on the show. I know but we've got an email asking if there's a name for this kind of like cognitive Isr this fallacy. Where basically you look. It's like y two K you look at a lack of things being worse and you say Oh look. It wasn't as bad as we thought it was going to be when really it's because of the actions that we're taking are preventing it from being worse part of hindsight bias. You're looking right information that you didn't have initially right but it's almost like it's hard to measure a lack of something you know what I mean? So it's like people say Oh look. We didn't lose as many lives as we thought we were going to. So obviously we shouldn't have been that worried and it's like no because we were worried. We did all the things we needed to do to prevent that loss of life where you could say or you could say oh look. The motto predicted two million. We only had two hundred thousand. The models are inaccurate. Like no because you took steps based on the model so then everything changes xactly so the other thing to point out. I think we mentioned this but just to reinforce it. A lot of economists as well as a medical experts are saying you know Turkey opening up the economy to restart. The economy is not the the the overused metaphor is not like flipping a switch. That whole point is people are not going to necessarily listen to what the government is saying. If the government option open up too early Pe- you have to make people feel safe..