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What To Do About Coronavirus

We can stop the pandemic if we slow it down plus heavily ramp up testing. We don’t need to give up and accept that everyone will get it. And we don’t need to stay home for over a year until there’s a vaccine. We just need to do enough testing to figure out who to quarantine. Once we mostly know who has it, the rest is pretty easy, and we’ll be able to manage it when a few cases initially sneak by us. Until testing gets things under control, we must do a lot of social distancing. We can probably get this under control in one month if we take it seriously, which will save hundreds of thousands of lives in USA alone.

To prevent exponential growth of the pandemic, the average person needs to avoid around 70% of their regular contact with other people. That’s a reasonable, achievable number even if most people keep their jobs and go to the grocery store. (70% is a rough estimate based on several sources. Maybe the correct number is actually 80%, but it’s not 99%, it’s something achievable.) People who can isolate extra are a big help who will bring the average down. They’ll make up for some people, such as medical workers, who stay in contact with a lot of people. I’m staying home now.

Don’t go outside for non-essential reasons. Don’t congregate in groups. Stay home as much as you reasonably can. Do your best to leave public spaces for people who need them, e.g. utility workers who keep the water, sewers, power, internet, and phones working. Some people have really good reasons to go outside like healthcare workers, police, firefighters, delivery people, grocery workers, and pharmacy workers. Everyone needs to stop going out for entertainment, luxuries or socializing.

If you can cut down your going out just to work (if you can’t work from home and are in a bad situation to take a break from work), getting medicine and getting groceries when you actually run out (stay home and get stuff delivered if you can), it’ll be a big help to everyone. Get more food at once and eat non-perishables so that you have to shop less often. If you go out, shower when you get home and put all your clothes in the laundry. And don’t place unimportant orders for deliveries right now.

Once the pandemic is under control – we stop it from spreading exponentially, most currently infected people stop being contagious, and we do a lot more testing to find out who has it and who doesn’t – then we can go out more.

Remember: You can spread the disease before you have symptoms or even if you never get symptoms! This appears to be common and is part of why the disease is spreading rapidly.

The best time to get things under control is now, not after the bodies start piling up like they are in Italy.

More Info

Slow the coronavirus spread so we can test way more.

Coronavirus info thread (multiple updates per day; anyone can share info or ask questions)

My Coronavirus video

I tweet coronavirus info. Follow me or read my tweets directly at @curi42.

There is a coronavirus channel on the Fallible Ideas Discord

Elliot Temple on March 17, 2020

Messages (14)

Once the pandemic is under control, things can quickly return to mostly normal:


Anonymous at 3:15 PM on March 17, 2020 | #16020 | reply | quote

I'm concerned about my personal safety in light of recent actions taken by local American governments with regard to the coronavirus outbreak, including:

1. Letting prisoners out of jail

2. Ordering police to stop making arrests for theft and burglary

3. Preventing firearm purchases (ceasing to issue permits, not maintaining or taking down background check systems, and closing stores that primarily sell firearms for being "non-essential")

I live in a relatively low-crime district in one of the larger U.S. cities (top 100 by population), but there are high crime districts nearby. I wonder just how bad things could get here and how fast. Maybe it would be smart to rent a house or Airbnb in a small rural town far away from everything, pack up my computers and other valuable stuff, and go there for a while.

Alisa at 8:04 PM on March 18, 2020 | #16031 | reply | quote

#16031 Why would people want to break into your home or attack you? Food shortage? I think grocery stores will resupply and people won't starve. The pandemic will make people sick but won't give them direct motive to attack you. It'll just give criminals some extra cover (a distraction).

A rural place you don't own sounds sketchy to me. If shit hits the fan, the owners will want it back.

curi at 8:49 PM on March 18, 2020 | #16033 | reply | quote


> Why would people want to break into your home or attack you?

I'm concerned about:

- people robbing houses (electronics, jewelry, etc.)

- home invasions

- criminals who were let out of jail early due to coronavirus

- mob actions like looting and rioting

I'm worried that some of the above are more likely to occur because of the pause in arrests.

> A rural place you don't own sounds sketchy to me. If shit hits the fan, the owners will want it back.

I expect the shit to hit the fan in the city harder than in rural places. So maybe, if I were staying in someone else's house, the owners would be happy to have a dependable person paying them money to stay there.

Buying my own place is also an option, but it's not as easy to do on short notice as finding someone else's house to stay in.

Alisa at 10:04 PM on March 18, 2020 | #16041 | reply | quote


> Why would people want to break into your home or attack you?

If what Alisa says is true, I believe that the risk of break ins / attacks could increase:

> 1. Letting prisoners out of jail

> 2. Ordering police to stop making arrests for theft and burglary

> 3. Preventing firearm purchases (ceasing to issue permits, not maintaining or taking down background check systems, and closing stores that primarily sell firearms for being "non-essential")

My reasoning for this is:

Some people do not care much about e.g. social distancing during the corona pandemic. I assume this would be true re the prisoners that are let out as well.

If a substantial number of these prisoners are robbers / assaulters they might see #2 (police not engaging with theft and burglary) as some kind of green light to do this under lesser risk than during non-corona pandemic.

If a lot of non-criminal people stay at home, robbers and assaulters might see this as a lower risk of civilians being in their way as well.

So on the question "Why would people want to break into your home or attack you?" could be 1) that there are more people that break in / attack ppl out in society than usual, and 2) that those who want to break in / attack ppl see the current situation as a higher chance of getting away with their behaviour.

N at 11:37 PM on March 18, 2020 | #16042 | reply | quote



If you're not already prepared to bug-out, it's almost certainly a bad idea. Risks are increasing everywhere and rural does not necessarily mean safe, especially for someone with little or no knowledge or history in the area.

The culture in rural areas is less formal / transactional and also more sensitive to and aware of insiders vs. outsiders than in cities. People expect to already know who they're dealing with more of the time, and they won't know you. You'd be an outsider, which may make it significantly harder to get help, supplies, etc. if things do get bad.

I live in a medium sized city (~1 million people) and I expect the crime rate to rise here for the reasons you said. I have both a bug-in and bug-out plan, but for this particular situation I think it's highly unlikely that I'll bug-out.

For theft & riot type concerns that are most relevant to this situation, securing your current house could help a lot.

I have steel security screens like these on all my windows and patio doors: https://crimeshieldsecurityscreens.com/

You can throw rocks, bricks, baseball bats, or molotov cocktails at these without breaking them or the window (a brick house instead of wood helps with long-term surviving the molotovs of course). So they're better than "burglar bars" and also more attractive - they just look like darker than normal window screens covering the whole window, instead of looking like you're living in a jail cell.

I also have dead-bolts + standard out-swing security doors on the entries, like: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Unique-Home-Designs-36-in-x-80-in-El-Dorado-Black-Surface-Mount-Outswing-Steel-Security-Door-with-Heavy-Duty-Expanded-Metal-Screen-5HS620BLACK36/202326389

Is all this impermiable? Of course not. But it's going to take significant time & make significant noise for anyone of ordinary skill to get through. The physical barriers insure I won't be caught unaware by some random thief in the night or hoodlum with a brick. And if I'm aware, then I'm also prepared to defend myself.

If you haven't already got a gun & can't get one now, at least get some bear spray, a baseball bat & practice with a long kitchen knife on a sandbag. If somebody's working on your outer security door or window screen you can open the inner door or window and spray them with bear spray.

You can get the swing-out security doors at home depot. Depending on your skills and tools you could install them yourself or hire a handyman to do it (nothing special). The window screens have to be installed by someone with the right tools & skills; check for a contractor in your area for those.

Andy Dufresne at 9:20 AM on March 19, 2020 | #16043 | reply | quote

Wanted to run this by ppl here:

The cases per day continues to climb in Italy despite lockdown. So why?

Lots of reasons. Family units now living 24/7 in close contact. Ppl not taking lockdown seriously.

Another possibility is there is a secondary spreader. Possibly rats as Italy has a massive rat problem exacerbated by streets full of uncollected garbage. They are in the apartment buildings. Lockdown forces ppl into closer contact with rats and rats will be entering buildings more as food sources dry up on the street.

If this is true, lockdown alone is never going to work. Rat extermination has to take place. But is it plausible?

Bianobia at 6:27 PM on March 19, 2020 | #16047 | reply | quote

#16047 SARS-CoV-2 takes from 3-14 days (avg 5 days) for you to start showing symptoms after you get infected. During that time you can spread the disease even though you seem fine. Even if we assume that everyone who gets symptoms goes to the hospital immediately and stops spreading the disease, it would still take a while after lockdown for new cases to stop showing up.

Alisa at 7:07 PM on March 19, 2020 | #16048 | reply | quote

Yes, that could be a reason and I thought of that too. The Italian lockdown has been going for 9 nine days. R-value from Mar 17 to Mar 18 is 1.15. Log curve still not too far from a straight line since Mar 10 with slight curve down:


I think this is still how we should expect things to be right?

Not sure how the curve would look if rats were also spreading the disease.

Anonymous at 10:25 PM on March 19, 2020 | #16049 | reply | quote


> Italian authorities have pressed charges against more than 40,000 people for violating the lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus, according to figures from the interior ministry.

An indication of how much people are violating quarantine. Article from March 18.

curi at 11:07 PM on March 19, 2020 | #16051 | reply | quote


Article from Canada about the same kind of situation, warning that Covid-19 will continue rising after social distancing has been enacted:


> It takes about five days for symptoms to appear and another six or seven days for people to become sick enough to seek medical help.

So basically the "new" cases you see are people who were infected 11 or 12 days ago, before quarantine was enacted in Italy.

They also say it takes 16 days before people become critically ill. It's March 19th now, so the critically ill people in Italy would have been infected around March 3rd, about a week before quarantine.

Anonymous at 11:28 PM on March 19, 2020 | #16052 | reply | quote

#16043 Andy Dufresne: Thanks for the helpful info on bugging in vs bugging out, home security, and home defense. It's good to hear that you don't consider the situation at this point to be dangerous enough to bug out. Neither does Jonathan Hollerman, a prepper I follow.

Alisa at 5:43 PM on March 22, 2020 | #16097 | reply | quote

Disinfecting Groceries and Mail and Packages

I saw this video about disinfecting groceries: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjDuwc9KBps

That's basically what I was doing with groceries for the last couple of weeks. I hadn't been removing bread from its bag though - that was a good suggestion.

I have a designated intake area I use to process stuff coming in from outside.

For mail, papers, any small packages that can tolerate some heat: We have a large metal box that can still fit in our oven. It's just something that was holding a bunch of bolts in the garage - nothing special but I don't actually remember where I got it. Anyway, I leave the lid off the box, and when stuff comes in that I'll want to handle with heat it goes in the box. Once a day I preheat the oven to 160 F, put the lid on the box, put the box in the oven, set a timer for 30 minutes, come back later when its cool, then I can use everything in the box.

For large packages or stuff that might be heat sensitive it's harder and I don't have a single approach. Right now I'm letting them sit for a day or 2, spraying and/or wiping the outer box with bleach rag, then opening. Depending on what's inside I may put it in the sun for an hour (UV), wipe it with bleach rag, wash it with soap and water, or let it have additional sitting time. I don't have clear standards for what to do in advance.

After touching anything from outside before it has been processed, I wash hands. I try to do things like pick up stuff with 1 hand and use other to close and lock doors. If I can't, I wipe down the door handles I touched with bleach rag after washing hands.

Andy Dufresne at 6:41 PM on March 25, 2020 | #16142 | reply | quote


Unlike some other papers this one seems to have tested the virus on some surfaces until it wasn't detectable (instead of saying it was detectable after X days but not when it wasn't detectable).

I think it implies my process for mail is overkill. If the virus is undetectable on paper after only 3 hours at room temp, all I'd have to do is leave the mail in the box at least 3 hours after delivery even if the mailman was the infection source. My box is outside, but absent some strange weather that's going to be higher than room temp during the day for at least the next 6 months, plus it sits in the sun so it's even warmer than ambient temp.

BTW I recommend the mailbox I have. It allows me to remove the mail without touching anything the mailman touched other than the mail. It's: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000XQCT5U

I can open the bottom section (where the mail drops) using only the key, never touching the box itself. Also really good for protecting mail & small packages from theft.

Andy Dufresne at 6:31 PM on March 27, 2020 | #16166 | reply | quote

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