COVID-19 is NOT a Black Swan – Day 10, Thoughts About The Pandemic

NOT a Black Swan

Daily thoughts & numbers on the COVID-19 pandemic from a M.D. working in the front lines at the Emergency Department in a hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. 

A Black Swan event is, according to Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book published in 2007, defined by 3 criteria: *

  1. They are hard to predict.
  2. They have high consequences.
  3. They are retrospectively predictable because of psychological bias.

The COVID-19 pandemic is NOT a black swan.

The COVID-19 pandemic does not qualify as a black swan because it was not hard to predict, in fact many people have warned against the inevitability of a virus pandemic years before. One of them was Nassim Taleb, who also wrote this in his 2007 book:

“As we travel more on this planet, epidemics will be more acute — we will have a germ population dominated by a few numbers, and the successful killer will spread vastly more effectively. I see risks of a very strange acute virus spreading throughout the planet.”

Among yet others, Bill Gates also warned against pandemics in his TED Talk 2015, saying that we needed to get better prepared for such an inevitable event:

The COVID-19 pandemic was not a black swan, it was a white swan in plain sight.

We have passed 50 000 COVID-19 deaths globally this week. *

The global community should of been considerably more prepared, and this pandemic could of been avoided or at least mitigated to a large extent.

COVID-19 Numbers Sweden 2020-04-03 *

  • 333 deaths nationally
    • 206 of them in Stockholm
  • 6 078 confirmed cases nationally
    New confirmed cases daily in Sweden. 
    (Number of COVID-19 cases over time in Sweden, updates during mornings at 14:00 so todays numbers are not yet complete until the next day).
    New confirmed cases accumulated over time in Sweden. 
    (Number of COVID-19 cases over time in Sweden, updates during mornings at 14:00 so todays numbers are not yet complete until the next day).
  • Intensive care Sweden*
    • 461 COVID-19 confirmed patients treated in the ICU in total so far
    • 9,9 days from symptoms to ICU
    • 24,3 % women
      Total number of recorded of COVID-19 patients needing ICU care each week. From Week 10 it seems to more than triple each week, 5 →  24  → 130 → 421 → (623 this week up until now, however since it’s only friday this weeks numbers are yet incomplete)

COVID-19 Numbers Globally (updated today 2020-04-03 at 18:00 CET) *

  • 50 489 confirmed deaths
  • 976 249 confirmed cases
  • 206 countries, areas or territories with cases

Image: COVID-19 Deaths in Each Age Group in Sweden (Updated 2020-04-03) *


That’s it until tomorrow, keep calm and stay safe!

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