[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.