Coronavirus Tomas Pueyo ~ Neil Dunaetz Reading & Discussion March 29 – April 2, 2020

Special Online Reading & Discussion “Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance:”
A most recent article by Tomas Pueyo and invitation to join Neil Dunaetz in discussing it on Zoom.
Sunday, March 29 – Thursday, April 2, 2020
9-11 am Pacific. Noon – 2 pm Eastern (attend one or more days)
NOTING a second excellent article by Tomas Pueyo,
  Neil Dunaetz writes: “In “Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance: What the Next 18 Months Can Look Like, if Leaders Buy Us Time” Pueyo makes a distinction between “MITIGATION,” also known as “FLATTENING THE CURVE” somewhat, and “SUPPRESSION,” measures that quickly “BREAK THE BACK” of pandemic transmission of the coronavirus (as has been achieved in several East Asia countries).”  [emphasis added by Katarina]

The seminar will centre on ” the goal of understanding Pueyo’s distinction between “mitigation” and “suppression”

At the end of this post are quotes from the article.

Neil Dunaetz writes:

In “Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance: What the Next 18 Months Can Look Like, if Leaders Buy Us Time” Pueyo makes a distinction between “mitigation,” also known as “flattening the curve” somewhat, and “suppression,” measures that quickly “break the back” of pandemic transmission of the coronavirus (as has been achieved in several East Asia countries).

I feel this to be the best thinking to date on what we are up against and what we need to do.

Starting tomorrow, Sunday March 29, I will host a series of discussions on Zoom with the goal of understanding Pueyo’s distinction between “mitigation” and “suppression” as differing strategic approaches to dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, and their respective differing implications for our future.

Sunday March 29, 12pm-2pm New York time

Monday March 30, 12pm-2pm New York

Wednesday April 1, 12pm-2pm New York

Thursday April 2, 12pm-2pm New York.

You may join any one or more of these gently-moderated-by-me discussions, as you wish. Let me know if you are interested and I will send you the Zoom link. It is free to participate.

Please try to read the article in advance, if you can.  If you don’t, that’s OK too.

And feel free to forward this email to others who might be interested.

Neil Dunaetz



This article follows Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now, with over 40 million views and 30 translations. If you agree with this article, consider signing the corresponding White House petition. Over 30 translations available at the bottom. Running list of endorsements here. Over 10 million views so far.

Summary of the article: Strong coronavirus measures today should only last a few weeks, there shouldn’t be a big peak of infections afterwards, and it can all be done for a reasonable cost to society, saving millions of lives along the way. If we don’t take these measures, tens of millions will be infected, many will die, along with anybody else that requires intensive care, because the healthcare system will have collapsed.

Within a week, countries around the world have gone from: “This coronavirus thing is not a big deal” to declaring the state of emergency. Yet many countries are still not doing much. Why?

Every country is asking the same question: How should we respond? The answer is not obvious to them.

Some countries, like France, Spain or Philippines, have since ordered heavy lockdowns. Others, like the US, UK, or Switzerland, have dragged their feet, hesitantly venturing into social distancing measures.

Here’s what we’re going to cover today, again with lots of charts, data and models with plenty of sources:

  1. What’s the current situation?
  2. What options do we have?
  3. What’s the one thing that matters now: Time
  4. What does a good coronavirus strategy look like?
  5. How should we think about the economic and social impacts?
3 replies
  1. happybones
    happybones says:

    The small changes we can offer as support for our communities then grow into larger safety for everyone.

    “In each moment, nature occurs as “an inter-affecting of everything by everything,” to use a phrase by philosopher Eugene Gendlin. It is not anomaly when a smallish change in one process or sub-process makes for quite large change in another or others, which may make further changes, large and small, in still other processes.”
    –– Neil Dunaetz ‘Dire Inspiration — Risk of a Hot House Earth’ Aug 23, 2018

  2. happybones
    happybones says:

    Noting from Neil Dunaetz March 2020: “This recent article by Zeynep Tufekci at critiques the early response by the United States to the coronavirus pandemic in terms of the KIND OF THINKING that was–and was not–being applied.
    Instead of thinking in terms of whole complex systems, it argues, we have made the reductionist error of treating abstract comparative terms as themselves real things, thus missing actual interactional complexity.
    The sad result being that we failed to conceive what we were really up against. (And, imo, we continue to not grasp it well.)
    Please notice especially, in the fourth paragraph from the end,
    “…tight coupling between the components. Tight coupling means that every part of the system moves together, which in turn means that even small things can cause a crisis—for want of a nail.”
    What the concept “tight coupling” tries to say is, imo, FUNCTIONALLY-CLOSE to what Gendlin means by “interaction first” and “sequences of whole events.”
    By “functionally-close” I mean the two concepts are not equivalent as concepts. “Tight coupling” assumes individuated factors as prior and basic, and Gendlin’s model does not. But each of these very different ways of conceiving tries to speak from and about complex events in a way that strongly does not drop out emergent interactional complexity.”

  3. happybones
    happybones says:

    Noting from Peter Kolchinsky March 2020

    Peter Kolchinsky Mar 24, 2020

    Here’s something I once learned in virology school that should make you feel a bit better about why, unlike the flu, #COVID19 most likely won’t be able to mutate to escape the vaccines we’re developing. It has to do with the fact that COVID-19’s genome is made up of…

    Replying to @PeterKolchinsky
    Can you comment on the likelihood of a mutation and catching a different strain?

    Peter Kolchinsky Mar 28, 2020
    Link to this tweet:

    talk of mutation is overblown. This comes up often. Flu mutates like a vine grows… coronaviruses mutate like a cactus grows. You can see a cactus grow if you look closely, but it’s still v. slow & our immune systems & vaccines will keep up easily… after this 1st bad exposure.

    Link to the thread started by this tweet:
    If you are hearing about #covid19 “reinfections” in Asia, I can offer you my take as a virologist. The best explanation for what we’re seeing is likely due to three things..

    [A later tweet in this thread]
    The main reason I’m skeptical that patients were actually reinfected so soon after recovering is due to what we know of the virus and recovery. Patients who beat their infection (and ~98-99% do), do so because their immune systems rev up enough to beat it.

    [followed by]
    And covid is barely mutating the parts that the immune system recognizes (the spike protein), so once a patient beats their high level of virus, they would easily be able to beat back whatever little virus they might get exposed to from others.
    [PK Answering this question: Could you respond to some question and fear of whether SARS-CoV-2 can behave like HSV and Herpes zoster virus becoming dormant inside the afflicted body cells and reactivate in some point in future]

    Peter Kolchinsky Mar 29, 2020
    Coronaviruses can’t lie dormant for long. Genomes are transient RNA (not sturdy DNA), & not being a retrovirus, they must replicate or die. They are like software that gets wiped when computer is shut off… they don’t reside on hard drives (like HIV, herpes, and hepatitis B do).


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