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The Fog of Omicron
600,000-2,000,000 deaths predicted
This message will have a little bit of present news, as well as projections, mixed in. I would like to ask you — to beg you — to be forgiving of me, as the future is generally nearly impossible to predict, and also Covid is especially impossible to predict. The past, by the way, is also very difficult to know, but the future is doubly so.
I realize that most likely, this article will make me look stupid and will not age well. But I will write it anyway.
Chances are great that most of my predictions will be wildly wrong. If I knew that a given projection is likely to be wrong in one specific direction, I would correct it.
With the New Year coming, we probably all wish the fear, danger, insanity, and inconveniences to go away next year. But it does not seem like they will disappear very soon.
The most important part is that we are rapidly entering a period where official statistics and general news articles will mean next to nothing. Let me list a few reasons for this:
The current surge of vaccine-ignoring Omicron is a huge embarrassment to all vaccinating governments of the world, something to be hidden and downplayed as “mild illness of no consequence that is not worth counting”
Rapid tests at home do not have to be reported and there is no point to report them. Someone I know (not me) is having Covid right now, which was not reported because why bother
If hospitals get full, not everyone will go to hospital even if they are sick, so no reporting of seriously ill people suffering at home
The resulting home deaths will be recorded, as all deaths are, but possibly not classified as Covid deaths and will not be analyzed for cause or vaccine status
The capacity of general PCR testing network is limited and cannot easily be increased
The government offices whose job it is to track the “pandemic” are likely to become greatly understaffed for a few weeks, unable to match cases with vaccination status, submit any written reports, and so on
As more and more information technology workers get temporarily sick, even with a mild illness, the basic IT functions will be also disrupted
It is entirely possible that in a couple of weeks, attempts to impose “emergency rule” will be made by the current governments and globalists, under the guise of saving us, but really to prevent their fall in disgrace. This will additionally muddle the picture. This is most likely to happen near the peak of the curve, because it is not justified before and would be pointless after. So watch for major “emergency” hysterics around Jan 15
So when we continue watching “covid cases”, “covid hospitalizations”, and “covid deaths”, keep in mind that they are rapidly disconnecting from reality. If Adam predicts X cases next week, and Bob predicts Y cases, nobody will ever know with certainty, who of them was actually right.
Two weeks ago I developed a SIR-based Omicron model which you can download and play with. I adjusted it a little bit at first to match the speed in the United States (other countries I just set up for you to play with) and forgot about it. I looked at it again today and, oddly enough, it predicted the current numbers pretty well.
Here are the predicted numbers up to now:
I am pleased to report that so far, they decently agree with the Worldometer numbers. As always, all epidemic curves look exponential in the beginning, but start to slow down rapidly as people are scared (mitigation factor column) and as the virus starts running out of hosts.
Here are the predictions for the future:
Please note that SIR models have very important shortcomings, for example we all know that Covid comes and goes in waves. But Omicron is so rapid, that SIR model may be much more applicable to its beginning.
Some major assumptions of this model are:
128,000,000 Americans had Covid prior and are considered “recovered”. So in this model, not every citizen is vulnerable, but only 202,000,000 of Covid naive are. This actually slows down the pandemic.
I do realize that there are reinfections, but it complicates the model greatly and there are much bigger uncertainties to deal with. So just leave it at that.
As the pandemic goes on, minor mitigation measures will be undertaken by government, and some by individuals, like staying home. This is reflected in “mitigation” multiplier column but is assumed to have a small effect
I firmly believe that the federal government gave up on containing Omicron. If it is going to peak in January, it is too late to do anything. Some ridiculous things may be done, like closing movie theaters or banning vaccine-free persons from clothing stores, but in reality they are giving up for a good reason.
The model predicts 155,000,000 infected by March and 1,236,714 deaths. The prediction of deaths is the LEAST CERTAIN because fatality of Omicron is difficult to establish. But, think about it, fatality of Delta is about 1.2 percent. Fatality of Delta is somewhat mitigated by still remaining death protection from current vaccines.
Fatality of Omicron is unlikely to be so mitigated, as UK data shows vaccines providing ZERO protection from hospitalization. So whatever the case fatality rate is, it is likely that the vaccinated and the vaccine-free will have the same mortality, with a wide range of uncertainty. Another factor likely to increase mortality is the general mess that comes from not having enough medical workers, and 700k Covid patients hospitalized at the peak, so not receiving needed care. (right now we have 80,000 Covid hospitalized in USA) My model guesstimates 0.8% death rate and please understand that it is a wild guess.
My model predicts 324 Omicron deaths as of today 12/30. The United States does not provide such statistics, but the UK does. In the UK, as of yesterday, 54 people died of Omicron. But the UK is a smaller country, so on a proportional basis based on population, the US could have had 262 deaths yesterday to be on par with UK. Kinda close.
My general confidence interval for deaths is 600,000-2,000,000 deaths. This number is as good as anyone else’s guess. Do not take too much stock in it. But also note that 700,000 deaths is perfectly mild Omicron with 0.46% case fatality rate, that would be even lower if not for full hospitals, that happens to infect 150 million persons.
The good news is that most of us will not die, and that the pandemic will be greatly slowing down in February. What happens after that, and what variants will appear and so on, is NOT something I want to even discuss. Ask @Harvard2H on Twitter about that.
What is Happening Now is called SHTF
This January is likely to be a big mess and a lot of personal tragedies will unfold. The SHTF abbreviation (Sh.. Hits the Fan) aptly sums up the current situation. But Omicron specifically will NOT end the world.
A few exciting pictures show that people are heading to hospitals in droves already. Keep in mind that hospitals do not ADMIT people with mild symptoms for overnight stay.
A personal confession from me is that since I was young, I always loved chaos and such. I will try to make this section as small as possible as social upheavals are hard to predict using pandemic models. I will try to be as understated as I can.
Let me just mention a few factors that will contribute to short term difficulties in January:
At some point, a few tens of millions of people (who include workers, but also kids, homemakers, and retired persons) will be sick or quarantined, and therefore unable to drive trucks, operate electrical grids, command Navy submarines, etc. My best guess is that on a worst day around January 10-20, about 10-20 millions of working people will be temporarily unable to work. Some laptop class members might work while recovering
Scared politicians may attempt, locally or federally, to “mitigate covid” with disastrous results of further putting people out of work
Some things, like trucks unable to deliver goods to stores, are “terminal” problems that do not cascade further. This example sounds scary, but is not: some people may have to eat stale bread for a couple of weeks, most people have enough in cupboards to last for a month, so some food problems are not a very big deal.
Some things, like a nuclear power station, a water treatment plant, etc are very sensitive to personnel disruptions because people have assigned roles. They usually can survive 1-5 percent of staff out, but if they have an outbreak and have 20% of staff out, they might have to shut down.
I am not an expert, but I expect US Navy to have major disruptions, as an aircraft carrier or a nuclear submarine with a Omicron outbreak is not really battle capable. An aircraft carrier is crowded like a cruise ship without the amenities. This possibly is the aim of whoever invented Omicron, but whatever.
Government offices are also very sensitive to outbreaks because everyone has responsibilities that are not easy to transfer, so some govt functions may end up being shut down temporarily.
Some people are so scared of Covid due to incessant propaganda and poor health, that they might simply refuse to go to work. If so, this will further exacerbate staffing shortages.
Life Will Go On
The pandemic will slow down around February. Covid will be far from being done with us and future waves of it might break through Omicron immunity and Covid may become more severe than Omicron, along the lines of what Dan Sirotkin is pointing out.
Severe Omicron vindicates antivaxx thought. Major accounting for mistakes made needs to be done and, in my opinion, will be done eventually.
It is possible that our government will in effect attempt a coup and will try to usurp unnecessary “emergency powers”, with the objective of preventing being held accountable. I mentioned this in the beginning of the article. The most likely dates for this are Jan 10-Jan 25. All of us, freedom minded people, will need to oppose such a coup and takeover with our decisive, lawful but strong collective action. There is no need for a dictatorship to manage a few weeks long temporary trouble, of course.
To whoever might say that we need to take “strong action to stop Omicron”: as of today, December 30, it is too late and it is in every village, every town, and on every cruise ship.
We tried to warn the vaccinated. It is not the fault of us, vaccine-free skeptics, that they did not listen.
Omicron is like a pile of dry crumpled paper, doused with gasoline, that was already set on fire. Just let it burn.