Mixing is a well known concept in physical chemistry. If you mix 2 ideal gases, what is the driving force that causes gases to mix, and what causes the mixing to become uniform? Ideal gases don’t react so there is no energy transfer due to chemical change in the constituents. So what is the driving force? The answer is entropy or something called the Gibbs free energy of mixing, in a formula dG = dH – TdS. dG is change in free energy, dH is change in enthalpy, T is temp and dS is change in entropy. In an ideal gas, dH=0 and T is constant, so the formula simplifies to dG = -TdS If dG is negative the mixing occurs spontaneously and it will mix until ALL of the molecules are thoroughly mixed. Once thoroughly mixed the potential to mix (dS) reaches zero, that is when entropy reaches it’s maximum and no further mixing will occur. There are plenty of youtube videos and wiki like sites to more fully describe this process.
The reason I bring this up is this is what drives the virus? Humans are like one ideal gas. Virus is like another ideal gas. The planet is the reaction vessel. The virus mixes by embedding itself into humanity in a manner that is a similar (but not the same) set to 2 ideal gases mixing. As the infection progresses the virus attains a bigger mole fraction further increasing the drive to entropy this would be like H in the above equation becoming a negative value and since H can be a function of time dH/dt as long as it stays negative it can grow exponentially. Thinking about this relationship we have to conclude there is not going to be any Hammer and Dance solution to the virus. The mixing will occur until the Gibbs free energy of mixing goes from negative to zero. If dG goes negative again mixing will again occur. That is precisely what we are seeing. When locked down dG effectively went to zero (Rt < 1). The lock down was cancelled Rt > 0 and means dG once again goes negative and mixing progresses. A vaccine since it interrupts the virus’s ability to mix effectively forces dG=<0 interrupting mixing.
So now you have a mathematical model upon which to base your judgments. If different states have different Rt’s it merely means they are at different places on the mixing surface. It does not mean they are handling things in a superior way, since the driving force is entropy. NY once had a Rt in the 0.8 range, today 1.05. This means dG has gone from zero back to negative and infection will continue until entropy is satisfied.
In anesthesia we measured drug effect in half lives. The curve to equilibrium was asymptotic and it took about 5 half lives to reach 90% of equilibrium (when entropy is satisfied). if we just divide the population into 1/5 ths and use that number as a half life, it means 1.4B people per half life. Herd immunity is about 80% of the population therefore 5.6B people is herd immunity. We are at about 12M worldwide infections.
A vaccine is not a cure. A vaccine is merely a substitute or competing infection. The virus or it’s competing substitute will continue until entropy is satisfied to a level of 80% herd immunity. Never in the history of humanity has a vaccine been created in a couple months so banking on that is like banking on the lotto. As old people die off, young people will take over. Much knowledge and critical productivity is contained in old people that is not contained in young people so a society of young people will be left to reinvent the wheel and reinventing the wheel kills productivity. Dead productivity = a dead market, so be careful when you glibly chop off the geezers. In addition if it’s geezers who are dying what about people who survive? There is significant morbidity associated with this disease. If you infarct 50% of your LV it stays infarcted and you become a cardiac cripple. Knock off 70% of your kidney function by micro infarcts and you’re on dialysis 3 days a week. There is a condition called pump brain where protracted bypass causes cognitive decline post bypass. It’s a soft sign kind of decline but something like this brain fog seems to be happening. Children seem to be showing neurological changes on brain scans. In Hong Kong I read a report that 25% of post infection survivers had long term lung problems and SOB. Do a quick thumbnail on the increased medical cost and lost productivity of this morbidity. Seems to me dying is the least of your problems if you get sick.
If nothing else Covid dumps a load of unmeasured volatility into the system likely long term. If you get the volatility wrong you are more likely to get the truth wrong. That’ll mean you’re long when you should have been short. The next time your Governor is up quacking about Covid and what a swell job he/she is doing you can think back to the Gibbs free energy of mixing and see if they really have a clue. My presentation is about similar sets not about perfect correlation. Certainly there are particular aspects of infection that deviate the model from ideal gases, but the model points you in the right direction. If you have N, S, E, W, to choose from and the model suggests N, go N.
I ran across this video. If you think this recovers like the flu think again.