In every age bracket, the vaccinated live longer than the unvaccinated. However as a group, the unvaccinated appear to have a longer life expectancy. This is because the vaccinated tend to be older (hence more likely to die). I explain Simpson’s Paradox in general.
Note: I used the vaccinated/unvaccinated ratio for 50-60 vs 10-20 of Oct 2021, so don’t bug me if it rose since; no effect on the point so long as there is an inequality.
Nassim and Yaneer discuss the Danish study on Face Masks published by Bundgaard et al., “Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers.”
In a “Squawk Box” interview, Taleb specifically pointed to the importance of coronavirus testing. While countries have improved their capacity since the early days of the Covid-19 outbreak, Taleb said there has been a failure to develop quick, efficient testing at a scale that can cut off chains of transmission early. It also has the least economic cost, he said.
We discuss common errors and fallacies when using naive “evidence based” empiricism and point forecasts for fat-tailed variables, as well as the insufficiency of using naive first-order scientific methods for tail risk management.
We use the COVID-19 pandemic as the background for the discussion and as an example of a phenomenon characterized by a multiplicative nature, and what mitigating policies must result from the statistical properties and associated risks. In doing so, we also respond to the points raised by Ioannidis et al. (2020).
Nassim Taleb, New York University distinguished professor of risk engineering, discusses what he sees as misconceptions about the coronavirus pandemic and comments on the Federal Reserve’s shift in monetary policy. He speaks with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb talks about the pandemic with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Topics discussed include how to handle the rest of this pandemic and the next one, the power of the mask, geronticide, and soul in the game.
About two years before the recent collapse, at a dinner, a then (slow thinking) member of the Lebanese parliament kept bugging me for an economic forecast. There was already some anxiety in the air. My answer was that we were facing imminent financial disaster, but that it was not necessarily bad news, long term. Why? Because such a total collapse could lead to natural responses that are better than the one we would have spontaneously, going from patching bad stuff to patching worse stuff. The lira was artificially kept too strong for any industry to survive and the financial system (the Ponzi) was sucking up all the money and destroying the economic substructure. But my point was that the (unavoidable) collapse would lead to an adaptation, the weaning from chronic foreign “loans” and, possibly, a huge bounce. De-financializing the country was a necessity, and people never do that spontaneously. Nothing was going to be fixed without a collapse. Was I optimistic? pessimistic? He was trying to figure out what I was saying and couldn’t get it as it did not fit his elementary static classification.
Incompetence and Errors in Reasoning Around Face Covering
SIX ERRORS: 1) missing the compounding effects of masks, 2) missing the nonlinearity of the probability of infection to viral exposures, 3) missing absence of evidence (of benefits of mask wearing) for evidence of absence (of benefits of mask wearing), 4) missing the point that people do not need governments to produce facial covering: they can make their own, 5) missing the compounding effects of statistical signals, 6) ignoring the Non-Aggression Principle by pseudolibertarians (masks are also to protect others from you; it’s a multiplicative process: every person you infect will infect others).
In fact masks (and faceshields) supplemented with constraints of superspreader events can save us trillions of dollars in future lockdowns (and lawsuits) and be potentially sufficient (under adequate compliance) to stem the pandemic. Bureaucrats do not like simple solutions.