Don’t Test, Don’t Tell (10 Days Later)

Last week, Claire Lehmann, the founder and editor in chief of Quillette, asked if I'd be interested in publishing a new version of Don't Test, Don't Tell on the Quillette platform. I've never published anywhere except the Epsilon Theory platform in the seven years I've been doing this, and to be honest I find many of the articles published on Quillette to be more than a little problematic.

I immediately agreed.

As Rusty described in his magisterial note, The Elton/Hootie Line, what we need so desperately here in The Long Now are, to use the ten-dollar phrase ... epistemic communities ... opt-in places of thought and speech for truth-seekers. Or, to use the ET lingo ... packs.

Quillette is a pack. It's not my pack, but so what? We truth-seekers gotta stick together.

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  1. “The answer, of course: to maintain a political narrative of calm and competence.”
    Another answer is to make it look like the pandemic started someplace else. Now there are apparently several studies which purport to show that there are more variants in the USA than China or Iran, a fact, if true, that would suggest an origin here. Alt-news is already honing in on the temporary closure of Fort Detrik in the fall and wondering if covid19 has been circulating in our influenza numbers since then. Recently, my own son had ophthalmic sequelae of the ‘flu’ I haven’t seen in 40 years of practice.
    Hopefully, the second paragraph above is rubbish, and the first is correct.
    Most likely, we will never know.

  2. please provide links to said studies. thank you

  3. Virtually impossible for a doctor in the ED to get approval to test a patient, especially if they were to be admitted. Almost like they are trying to make this as widespread and deadly as possible. The bureaucracy at its finest (private hospital desk jockeys in lock step with the government pin heads. They are still creating flow charts to explain why we cannot test. We cannot known the morbidity and mortality and the rate of spread. Probably due to the fact that since WWII health care is now more like the government than the free market. Since am near certain to get this infection due to policy and profession, I have as much at stake as anyone. All very disappointing.

  4. @Ben

    “ This is “Don’t Test, Don’t Tell” and it is the single most incompetent, corrupt public health policy of my lifetime.”

    Then you were born after HIV/AIDS.
    And Chernobyl. What happened in Africa with malaria after DDT was stopped at the behest of White Liberals in the USA and Europe (2 million dead of Malaria, a controllable problem). For that matter Americas Opioid crisis.

    You “reckon” labs can mass produce it? You reckon?

    You are also Sir conflating many nations into one, and inability to reckon (lets be honest) Billions of test kits into existence as fast as FEAR demands.

    You also may think it the duty of Public Officials to spread panic and hysteria, but they do not. Ever.
    That’s not corruption. It’s being responsible. Cuomo concluded his presser yesterday saying panic was as bad as this disease, in an oblique rebuke of the Press.

    Since there was and is indeed a shortage of test kits then the CDC then has to prioritize who gets tested.
    Apparently it is your reckoning that everyone get tested at the drop of a hat for something not yet known for 90 days. Well if there aren’t enough test kits then that’s not possible.

    All that happened was a form of Triage, which often has to be applied when medical resources are overwhelmed - any overstraining, not just war.

    Good grief ERs have to do this routinely.

    Man will never catch up to Mother Nature, or be able to conjure enough doctors and nurses to meet every contingency.

    Finally corruption means something, confusion, bad information, mistakes, or yes even reassurances from leaders that don’t reassure are not corruption.

    Whatever twitter or UC Davis says.

    Listen Sir with deep regards this sort of thing will increase short term traffic at the expense of long term.
    Borrowing long to gain short.

    Mother Nature will have her way.
    She may for a time seem to be banished but she always returns.

  5. Gentlemen in service to the pack; if you’re worried but feel powerless- do something. Here is a link to the American Civil Defense association, the geezers are still at it - and decades of experience counts.

    They can probably put you in touch with local groups, as well as have a large free library for education.

  6. Avatar for TyB TyB says:


  7. Bosses should be ORDERING their staff to work at home, and requiring approval for exceptions to work in the office. This is needed to break through people’s fears that if they are not in the office they will be penalized. Social distancing now will save lives.

    This article is very good:

    Note especially:

    (1): Chart 7 which shows the two exponential growth curves. The orange bars show what the medical authorities could see. The much larger earlier grey bars show the true rate of infection that can’t be seen by anyone, because people have no symptoms yet or have mild symptoms and don’t report or are not tested.

    The implication is that when you have a small number of detected cases, there are in reality a large number of undetected cases, and they are spreading exponentially.

    (2) The conclusion that the death rate where ICU (intensive care unit) is overwhelmed is 10 times greater than the death rate where ICU is not overwhelmed.

    (3) The animated diagram in section 3 “What Should You Do” which shows the effect of slowing down the spread of the virus so that the medical system is not overwhelmed, and everyone who needs treatment can receive treatment. In that diagram note the dip in the treatment capacity as the medical staff all get sick. Most of them will recover and develop immunity and return to work, but there is a dip in treatment capacity for a few weeks. The capacity also improves due to improved drug regimens, investment in extra capacity in the hospitals etc. The result is that even if everyone eventually gets the virus, spreading that out over many months will massively reduce the number of deaths.

    Also two interesting comments on Joe Rogan Experience #1439 - Michael Osterholm
    Michael Osterholm is an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology.
    He literally wrote the book. See

    First in response to the question essentially “How long will this go on” he said:

    “I worry, I keep telling people we’re handling this like it’s a corona
    blizzard you know two or three days and we’re back to normal. This is a
    corona virus winter and we’re gonna have the next three months or more
    six months or more that are going to be like this”

    Second, in response to the idea that it will all go away when the summer season comes, he said:

    “MERS which is another corona virus that’s in the Middle East it’s in
    the Arabian Peninsula. The natural reservoir for that is camels

    In the Arabian Peninsula we’re not going to euthanize a 1.7 camels you
    know to try to get rid of MERS. And there it’s a hundred and ten
    degrees out and this virus is transmits fine thank you. I mean it
    goes from animals to people, it goes in the hospitals there’s no
    evidence that seasonal there”.

  8. Provocative indeed. Chinese researchers proclaiming that the virus originated outside of China. Shocker. Hopefully we will ultimately know the truth of its origins.

    Seems very difficult to imagine that in a densely populated country with many smokers and generations living together in close quarters, that the Chinese official tally of cases is only about 80,000. I’d guess we have at least that many in the US now (March 13) and a population which is a fraction of their size.

  9. Without judgement, here is a recent summary with references and links, as well as some comments. I personally think the vaping cases are something different. Judging from past epidemics, the virologists will eventually pinpoint a likely source location, usually different from the original narrative. That’s why Fauci saying the source was ‘no doubt’ Wuhan, China bothers me a lot!

    Finally, Peggy Noonan and Heather MacDonald took opposite points of view on ‘what to do’ with Noonan taking Dr. Ben’s more aggressive approach and MacDonald more don’t panic. If CV-19 has been endemic here since late last year, then we might be somewhat reassured.

    One last thing, when someone touches their head, call them out!! Just watch our team leaders fail at this every single time! It takes practice and coaching.

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