[Question] Coronavirus: Justified Practical Advice Thread

(Added: To see the best ad­vice in this thread, read this sum­mary.)

This is a thread for prac­ti­cal ad­vice for prepar­ing for the coro­n­avirus in places where it might sub­stan­tially grow.

We’d like this thread to be a source of ad­vice that at­tempts to ex­plain it­self. This is not a thread to drop links to recom­men­da­tions that don’t ex­plain why the ad­vice is ac­cu­rate or use­ful. That’s not to say that ex­pla­na­tion-less ad­vice isn’t use­ful, but this isn’t the place for it.

Please in­clude in your an­swers some ad­vice and an ex­pla­na­tion of the ad­vice, an ex­plicit model un­der which it makes sense. We will move an­swers to the com­ments if they don’t ex­plain their recom­men­da­tions clearly. (Added: We have moved at least 4 com­ments so far.)

The more con­crete the ex­pla­na­tion the bet­ter. Spec­u­la­tion is fine, un­cer­tain mod­els are fine; sources, ex­plicit mod­els and num­bers for vari­ables that other peo­ple can play with based on their own be­liefs are ex­cel­lent.

Here are some ex­am­ples of things that we’d like to see:

  1. It is safe to mostly but not en­tirely rely on food that re­quires heat­ing or other prep, be­cause a pan­demic is un­likely to take out util­ities, al­though if if they are taken out for other rea­sons they will be slower to come back on

  2. CDC es­ti­mates of prevalence are likely to be sig­nifi­cant un­der­es­ti­mates due to their nar­row test­ing crite­ria.

  3. A guessti­mate model of the risks of ac­cept­ing pack­ages and de­liv­ery food

One piece of in­for­ma­tion that has been lack­ing in most ad­vice we’ve seen is when to take a par­tic­u­lar ac­tion. Sure, I can stock up on food ahead of time, but not go­ing to work may be costly– what’s your model for the costs of go­ing so I can de­cide when the costs out­weigh the benefits for me? This is es­pe­cially true for ad­vice that has in­her­ent trade-offs– to­tal quaran­tine means eat­ing your food stock­piles that you hope­fully have, which means not hav­ing them later.