Thursday, October 13, 2022

40% Lied

Four out of every 10 Americans lied about their COVID-19 diagnosis or whether or not they complied with preventive measures during the height of the pandemic, a new nationwide study purports.

This does not mean that 40% of Americans were lying about themselves and the disease at any given time, only that they lied at some point. People will draw whatever conclusions they had drawn before knowing this.  We are at the point where no one is changing their minds - everyone believes that each new fact proves what they already believed.

I suppose what I am going to point out shows that I am no different. I thought a couple of things were not mentioned often enough during all the arguing: an unmeasured variable was how much interaction people normally had. Countries that had low rates of interaction before tended to have fewer, sometimes many fewer cases of covid. They were more comfortable with not being out and in contact, and regardless of what governments mandated, they had less contact anyway. In the face of such changes, all of us are trying to revert to a previous baseline, often without noticing it. As with gun control, what the laws are matters much less than what the people are. 

Such deception also figures strongly into measuring how effective masks or distancing or closings are. It screws up the numbers. This is why studies that used "what the rules are" as a proxy for "what people are really doing" will not tell us much. What does a mandate that is 20% ignored, 50% ignored, 80% ignored matter?  We can't tell. Utah may be different than Colorado. Studies that tried to get at actual contact numbers tended to be better predictors. 

The rates of lying are going to vary by location, by cultural groups, and likely by other things we don't yet know, like age or sex. And when high-contact people start to drop their guard, they are going to gradually move to a higher amount of contact than the introverts, just like before, even if both think they are making equivalent efforts.


Douglas2 said...

Two observations:

One of the reported lies in the article is claiming to be unvaccinated when one in fact has been.

I've got colleagues who still vocaly insist on over-the-top wipedown procedures of any surface that someone might touch. I'm not sure why they are so intent on breeding antibiotic-resistant bacteria in our spaces, and why the news of COVID being spread mostly in via air and not surfaces hasn't made it through, but no-one with authority to put a stop to it is willing to challenge this cleaning edict. So while I don't think anyone is lying about not having cleaned, they certainly are skipping it when non-observed or doing a minimal job of it when seen by the normies.

So I look at such research and wonder how much of it is people -- who consider themselves reasonable -- taking the path of least resistance to avoid conflict with people they consider to be unreasonable.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Good points, all three. We are sadly at a point where people are wary of revealing what they are thinking and doing, knowing that one side or the other will be difficult to them. The exceptions to that will usually be people who greatly desire to signal their membership in one tribe or the other.