Hairyducked Idiot wrote:This is actually a really important point that I feel like the smarter parts of the internet still sometimes miss:
Social distancing is extremely effective against transmission, but it also has a diminishing return. I see a lot of worries that some idiots are going to ruin it for everyone and make lockdowns worthless. It makes a certain moral, intuitive sense, but the universe doesn't work on fairness or morality. You can get almost the same effect as full compliance with significantly less than 100% compliance.
The phrase "exponential growth" has become one of those suddenly ubiquitous terms, but it does describe in broad terms how a virus spread. And exponential growth is really counter-intuitive.
Here's an example I like to use:
Let's say you start with 10 cases, and each case creates 2.5 new cases in subsequent generations. Your 10th generation has 95,367 cases.
OK, now let's say you have 10 cases, and each case creates 1 new cases in subsequent generations. Your 10th generation has 10 cases.
So that's 95,357 cases we can potentially eliminate from the 10th generation by reducing spread from 2.5 to 1. If we go by 10% increments (2.35, 2.20, 2.05, etc.), we you get:
the first 10% causes the 10th generation to have 51,366 cases
the second 10% causes the 10th generation to have 26,559 cases
Your first 20% did ~70% of the work. Your first 10% was 4,500 times more effective than your last 10%.
This is why I'm placing a lot of faith in behavior changes blunting future waves. We don't need everyone to behave perfectly. We just need a decent chunk of the population making small changes (the biggest one being that people can now get tested and told to stay home, whereas in February they would have been told it's just a weird flu).
This was basically why I was arguing that our "half assed" (I don't necessarily disagree with that assessment - and the response on a federal level has been beyond abysmal) measures are still going to be hugely impactful a week or two ago on here.
it frustrates me when i see people on twitter and otherwise anecdotally pointing to a crowd of people they saw somewhere and screaming doom (and i realize there are portions of the country who still really aren't doing much), because i feel like that will sabotage a lot of people who are putting in good faith efforts (well why am i going to bother with this crap if nobody else is) but it's obvious that our normal for the past 3-4 weeks is very much different and that it doesn't need to be perfect. i mean, ideally we'd all love everyone to behave perfectly, but that should never have been expected (and wasn't) because they know that a certain percentage of people are just going to be idiots or jerks.