Thanks for this, I was not aware of the Bedford lab’s work.
Wondering if you (or any other LW reader) has any thoughts on on the emotional aspect of this.
Seems folks are very attached to the idea that they had Covid-19 earlier than it was identified. It’s starting to get into that ‘can’t be reasoned out of something they haven’t reasoned into’ area.
I’m curious why people are so adamant that an extremely unlikely scenario is actually the most likely explanation. But i guess this cuts across all kinds of mental models and not just covid-19.
I don’t really know, I wouldn’t do this. Here are a couple of possibilities that ran through my mind.
COVID’s symptoms are basically “see: undefined flu-like symptoms.” This might just be an equivalent of “I looked up my symptoms on WebMD and it’s definitely cancer,” only with COVID.
There was that revelation that Washington got it earlier than expected. Maybe they’re pattern-matching blindly to this. It’s really easy to do so, especially if there was another nasty flu or cold going around back then (which there probably was).
People want an excuse to go about their life as normal (or to complain if they’re not)
People especially hate taking the possibility of their own death seriously
Nobody wants to deal with the guilt of knowing that their “normal” actions may be endangering others (cough asymptomatic transmission), and they would rather believe something potentially-false than contend with that
It’s probably a mix of all three, or even more.
With all due affection, I’ve heard that New Yorkers as a whole are fairly prone to contrarianism. So the frequency with which you’re hearing this might also partially be local variance.