The Longevity 2020 Online Conference, to be Held April 27th to May 1st 2020

All of the longevity industry and gerontology conferences in coming months have been cancelled or rescheduled as a result of the present mix of COVID-19 pandemic and hysteria. An equal mix of both, perhaps. The best data to date puts the mortality rate at 0.66% or so, meaning about six yearly flu seasons worth of risk, and even that number is most likely still overstating the risk, as it misses the presently unknown count of infections that result in only minor symptoms. An article from earlier in the month on the uncertainties in all published numbers remains one of the more sane pieces written on the topic.

Still, when life hands you lemons, set up an online conference instead of merely mourning the end of gathering in person. So the Longevity.Technology team is assembling Longevity 2020, a four day online event of presentations for scientists, entrepreneurs, and investors in the longevity industry. The online conference will run from April 27th to May 1st, just four weeks away. Since the restrictions on productive economic activity look to last to the end of April at the very least in the US, we will all still have time on our hands by that point. If you have a company to pitch, research to present, or something sensible to say about human longevity and the treatment of aging as a medical condition, then it isn't too late to reach out and secure a place in the program.

Longevity 2020

You're at home. So are most of the experts in longevity. So, let's get together. Learn, share knowledge, build our networks, and take a break from Netflix. This difficult period will pass. It all begins with an idea. We're the team behind Longevity.Technology and, like you, we're disappointed that events have been cancelled, funding rounds postponed, and new knowledge is going unshared. So we thought: everyone's at home, even world experts, so let's get together and keep the Longevity sector on track. Boom.

We're using a new and interactive online events platform that enables you to interact with speakers directly, see full media presentations, meet with like-minded people, and build lasting relationships. Once we're happy that we have our killer programme of speakers and subjects we'll switch ticketing to live. Meanwhile, please pre-register so that you can stay updated: the button's up-top.

Defining Biological Aging

Addressing the need for candidate definitions from different, biological, clinical, logical and computational angles to adopt a consensus definition for biological aging. How are traditional biomarkers like body composition, muscle strength and cognition complimented by the techniques of methylation, inflammation, and epigenetics? With so many opinions and options: how can scientists prove their technologies and investors invest with confidence?

Rejuvenation Therapies

What progress is being made in senolytics, gene editing, immunotherapy, mitochondrial restoration, indication expansion, nutraceuticals, peptides, stem cells, and more? What companies are moving through the drug development pipeline towards in-human studies and ultimately the approval to market true rejuvenation therapies? With the toning-down of the '1000 year lifespan' rhetoric, there is growing confidence in the sciences of healthspan and lifespan: what should we expect within our lifetimes?

AI and Longevity

How is AI accelerating longevity and where: molecule identification, pre-clinical validation, digital health, lifestyle interventions, finance. With pre-clinical discovery reduced from months down to days, what are the implications for new longevity therapies in the new AI world? With apps directing us to live better and exercise more and people needing to live independently for longer - we explore the latest exciting AI applications.

Longevity Investing

It's all about growing the investment category: risk management, going public, investment platforms, emerging tech: 3D bioprinting, neuroceuticals, organ growth, agetech, and more. As markets are challenged by COVID-19 and investors run to safe havens, who are the key players in Longevity investing and where are they putting their money? The global longevity economy is projected to reach $27 trillion in 2026. With such a wide field, where are the market opportunities and which companies are innovating and disrupting?

Longevity: Start Now

What can you be doing to address your Longevity now: supplements, metformin, mTOR, NAD+, rapamycin, biohacking, fasting, biomarker tracking, monitoring apps. There are many pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies that people talk about - but which ones show the most evidence in managing the hallmarks of aging? With many beginning to prescribe and self-prescribe drugs off-label - what are the risks and where is the proof of efficacy?

Comments

And that 0.66% is predominantly individuals that already had one foot in the grave. I have done the math. The quarantines will cost far more LIFE in human years than they will save, it is just distributed so broadly that anyone that complains about it is dismissed as a heartless whiner.

Posted by: JohnD at April 2nd, 2020 1:52 PM

I have several concerns regarding the virus.

I hope and others around me don't get it, of course. Seeing many people getting sick and some dieing is hearbreaking to say the least.

And, I hope my investments don't get decimated. I am 60 years old, so I am concerned about being broke down the road. I got killed financially in the great recession with multiple foreclosures and multiple lawsuits .

My real concern is if the pandemic is materially slowing down (by more than 1 year) the advancement for treatment of aging. Any one have any thoughts on this?

BTW, I was going to write this when I just saw the latest blog from Reason, so this was somewhat of a coincidence.

Posted by: Robert at April 2nd, 2020 2:09 PM

What concerns me isn't so much death but disability caused by covid. I've read that up to 20% of people ( mostly those hospitalized) will have lasting lung damage. Not being able to run or hike does not bode well for slowing aging. 20% loss of lung function has more consequences than just not being able to run far. What I'd like is clarity on this. Is the figure exaggerated? Until I know more Im fully in support of dystopian quarantine- at least until a drug shows good effect at mitigating this damage.

Posted by: August33 at April 2nd, 2020 9:13 PM

@Robert: Check Alzforum. They have some articles on the impact of the lockdown on aging (or at least neurodegeneration) research.

Posted by: Antonio at April 3rd, 2020 2:20 AM

The fear of Covid-19 is real unfortunately, and this has real world impacts on the economy.

Hopefully a silver lining willbe the acceleration of mRNA vaccine development, and perhaps a vaccine or treatment for Cytomegalovirus.

Posted by: jimofoz at April 3rd, 2020 3:01 AM

The problem is not the mortality rate, it's the hospitalisation rate, which is about 20% of all infected. The hospitals are doomed right now. It never happen for a "normal flu". Also, a normal flu never kill perfectly healthy children and young adults.

Posted by: Jonathan Weaver at April 3rd, 2020 6:32 AM

@Jonathan Weaver: 20% of those cases confirmed by the only limited testing of more severe cases that has taken place to date. Those more severe cases are a fraction of the total number of infections, and possibly a small fraction for all we know right now. No-one is testing the mild cases and it will no doubt be some time before there is data of a quality comparable to that provided by the CDC for yearly flu pandemics.

(And if the media had reported the 2017 flu season the way they report on COVID-19, there would have been the same panic, no doubt. That resulted in 61,000 deaths in the US alone, largely unremarked).

Again, see https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/ for common sense on the unknowns.

Posted by: Reason at April 3rd, 2020 9:24 AM

The 0.66% mortality estimate is not the "best estimate" but one estimate like any other.

The truth is, we have no idea of the real infection rate, and even more worringly we are grossly underestimating the number of people who die of it.

What we can say for sure is that in Bergamo, a hard hit city in Italy, mortality in the first 3 weeks of March quadrupled over the previous years, from an avergage of 91 to 398.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.repubblica.it/cronaca/2020/04/01/news/istat_dramma_cornavirus_al_nord-252910084/amp/

Furthermore, only a fraction of these deaths have been attributed to Covid due to lack of testing, which suggests that the real mortality rate of this virus is far higher than 1% as originally hypotesised.

In another example from the same region, last year the town of Albino saw, between the end of February and the end of March, the death of 24 people. This year the tally was 145, but only 30 of these were blamed on Covid.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.agi.it/cronaca/news/2020-03-29/coronavirus-giorgio-gori-lombardia-morti-ufficiali-7961437/amp

Those who keep calling it a hoax / hysteria evidently don't live in an area that has been badly affected - yet. But in my experience their opinion changes when they start seeing the coffins pile up. Mine did for sure.

Posted by: Barbara T. at April 3rd, 2020 9:44 AM

The mistake here is trying to guess the case fatality rate, which is pointless because we do not know the variables.
The only population data we can rely on is:

1. The crude mortality rate;
and:
2. (with caveats) The number of ICU hospitalisations per n population.

Neither requires any assumption about infection rate, and both are MUCH higher than in previous years.

If one's policy is letting the virus rip to get rid of the old and thus free up the billions currently earmarked for geriatric healthcare and pensions...well, it's morally repugnant but has a logic.

But calling this virus just a mean flu goes contrary to any tangible evidence.

Posted by: Barbara T. at April 3rd, 2020 10:06 AM

Thank you Reason for providing a little sanity to this pandemic. Sometimes I feel life is mainly just wading through constant waves of BS.

Posted by: Corbin at April 3rd, 2020 12:10 PM

I agree with Reason. The more people tested, the lower the death rate. Also, if you look at specific cases where they tested everyone, i.e. cruise ships, you can see what the true death rate is. And it's sub 1% even in the (older) population than typically travels on cruise ships.

Posted by: Mark at April 3rd, 2020 1:46 PM

CASE FATALITY RATE (=the mortality rate of Covid) is not the point.
CRUDE MORTALITY RATE as seen on the ground in the form of cadavers, rather than estimated from pretty mathematical models, is the point.
In the absence of reliable data, which is the case here, what matters is how many people die, i.e. the body count irrespective of official cause of death.
Then whether these people die because of a disease with low prevalence and high mortality or because of a disease with high prevalence and low mortality is irrelevant.
That Covid's mortality is 0,66% - big IF - matters only on an INDIVIDUAL LEVEL, in that it reassures the individual who tests positive that the odds for survival are in his favour.
But on a POPULATION LEVEL it means nothing, and public health decisions are made on a disease's impact on a population, not on its impact on an individual (cue: the "public" in "public health")
This is epidemiology 101, but whatever.

Posted by: Barbara T. at April 3rd, 2020 2:25 PM

Are there any reliable figures for crude mortality per country? For the UK I've checked and they are just barely significantly elevated (so far).

My impression from various sources is that many people that are dying are dying with Corona in their system (some kind of Corona anyway, not necessarily Covid-19), but with no indication of viral load, we can't know if they died OF the virus. So it might be merely a contributing factor that shifts deaths forward a little but over the course of say a year, is not significant. But I could be wrong.

But mostly I'm just skeptical of pseudo experts in UK academia using modelling to predict huge numbers of dead, and causing huge economic damage as a result.

Posted by: Mark at April 3rd, 2020 2:57 PM

@Mark: I am inclined to rubbish modelling too because some of the "best" models out there are based on no evidence whatsoever. A case in point is Imperial College's estimate of 6 million Covid+ people in Italy, which was dismantled by epidemiologists here because given the extremely skewed distribution of the infection on the territory the model implies the following:

EITHER
1. Southern Italy has an infection rate 10 times higher than what it appears, which would be 10 times higher of real prevalence... So 100 times higher than the official data! And this is not remotely borne out by the number of graves dug - even considering the time lag.
OR:
2. The number of Covid+ people in the hardest hit areas of northern Italy is higher than the entire population of those areas (!!!)

Re: crude mortality rates: the epidemic is just at the beginning and deaths lag 2-8 weeks behind reported infections, so data for the UK or any of the countries that are currently experiencing exponential growth won't be informative.
However, if you look at areas with a more mature epidemic, by which I mean where the disease has had time to spread, you'll see a huge increase in crude mortality.
In one of my previous comments I linked to articles from local Italian papers that report municipality data to show how the number of deaths in March 2020 is quadruple the number of deaths in March 2019, even though only a fraction is attributed to Covid due to issues with testing and especially post-mortem testing.
This in spite of the fact that we had a mild flu season and that there were no wars, earthquakes, or tsunamis to explain such a staggering excess.
Now, I work in public health and not economic planning, so I don't know whether a quadrupling of mortality without the introduction of strict measures will cost more (or less) than a doubling of mortality with the introduction of strict measures, but this body count is neither a model nor an opinion.
And these deaths happened in rich towns in a country with a free public health system that is ranked by WHO 2nd best in the world, so they can be taken to accurately represent what will happen to other developed nations if they don't get their act together.

Posted by: Barbara T. at April 3rd, 2020 3:31 PM

@Barbara: Yes, it's hysteria. You mentioned deaths in Italy. See here the total deaths in Italy (every cause):

https://www.euromomo.eu/outputs/zscore_country65.html

They are like in the winter 3 years ago.

@Mark: There are UK statistics there too.

Posted by: Antonio at April 3rd, 2020 4:03 PM

@Antonio: what are you talking about? Read my posts: infection rates in Italy are extremely unevenly distributed on the territory.
Aggregate country-wide mortality is meaningless since it includes regions where Covid is barely present, which would be the largest part of the country by far.
Your reasoning is akin to saying that an earthquake that kills 10000 people in the area it hits isn't deadly because it doesn't kill people in areas it doesn't hit. Duh, seriously.

Posted by: Barbara T. at April 3rd, 2020 4:19 PM

August33 said: "What concerns me isn't so much death but disability caused by covid. I've read that up to 20% of people ( mostly those hospitalized) will have lasting lung damage. Not being able to run or hike does not bode well for slowing aging. 20% loss of lung function has more consequences than just not being able to run far. What I'd like is clarity on this. Is the figure exaggerated? Until I know more Im fully in support of dystopian quarantine- at least until a drug shows good effect at mitigating this damage."//

I remember the 20% long term problems number floating around in news articles a few weeks ago. But there was never really any credible source for it, and there still isn't. Here is a more recent, and more sober article about long term problems. https://abcnews.go.com/Health/coronavirus-long-term-effects/story?id=69811566 A large difficulty will quoting stats on the virus is that so many terms are conflated by the media, given some confusion a reporter will almost always choose the more dramatic interpretation of the statistics. Being on a ventilator is different than being in an ICU, which is different that going to a hospital, which is different than seeing a medical professional, which is different than having the virus and having tested positive, which is different than having the virus and having never been tested. As I understand it the current expectation is that 8% of people that test positive (arguably only something like 20% that get the virus actually ever get tested) will need to be put on a ventilator, that 50% of the people put on a ventilator will die, and that only 20% of the people that recover after having been put on a ventilator with have problems lasting more than 6 months, and that people not put on ventilators will rarely have long term problems.

And I will add, I am about 60% certain I have already had and have gotten over the virus. My symptoms were mild and did not warrant testing, but I will get the antibody test when it becomes available

Posted by: JohnD at April 3rd, 2020 4:34 PM

I am not sure if other places are doing this, but Santa Clara County (SCC) is posting the numbers that I think matter most (i.e., absolute numbers):

https://www.sccgov.org/sites/phd/DiseaseInformation/novel-coronavirus/Pages/dashboard.aspx

I have seen a lot of percentages bandied about, but those percentages are most relevant on the population scale as @BarbaraT mentioned.  

As an example with real numbers in SCC there are 211 ICU beds.  88 of these beds are taken up by COVID19 patients representing about 8.04% of the Total Cases (88/1094) and 41.7% of the total number of ICU beds available (in reporting hospitals).  Non-COVID-19 patients in ICU are taking up 28 beds or 13.2% of the available beds.  If we take a 20% rate (that get the virus actually ever get tested) as the rate of people that get tested as mentioned by @JohnD then the rate of rate of hospitalization requiring ICU admissions of the total number of estimated SARS-CoV-2 infections (1094/0.2 = 5470 total) is about 1.6% (88/5470).   Twenty percent might by a totally wrong estimation but lets run with it in the context of SCC.  The total number of ICU beds will be saturated with COVID19 patients when about 13,188 individuals have been confirmed positive by RT-PCR and whilst utilizing the current testing criteria.  (To get to this level it would mean that 65940 people would have to be infected (13,188/0.2).)  In 2017 the population of SCC was 1,938,000 people.  The total percentage of people in SCC needed to be infected with COVID19, to saturate the 211 ICU beds is ~3.4% of the population (or 65,940 people) ({[13188/0.2]/1,938,000} and {[65,940*0.2] * 0.016}) going with @JohnD's numbers.

suggestion: please do the math to confirm.

Posted by: Aaron at April 3rd, 2020 7:56 PM

@Barbara: Spain doesn't have big local variations in reported cases and still mortality is like in other winters.

Posted by: Antonio at April 4th, 2020 3:49 AM

@Antonio: I don't know about Spain, I know about Italy.
But if you know better about that too, then go ahead and explain to me why in a number of large towns like Bergamo and Brescia morgues are overflowing, churches are stuffed with coffines, and mortality has QUADRUPLED.
Hmm, what could it be...
An extremely cunning serial killer on a rampage? Cult-driven mass suicides?
The biggest statistical fluke in the history of statistics?
Or maybe it's just a huge hoax whereby these people aren't really dead but on a secret cruise (oops, dangerous!) in the Southern Seas?
Please elaborate.

Posted by: Barbara T. at April 4th, 2020 9:04 AM

@Aaron: your numbers add up... If the virus is as contagious as it is and isn't slowed down, ICUs will be overwhelmed soon.
Only of course the denialists will keep denying it.
Amongst the "explanations" I've heard so far:
1. The excess Covid patients don't have Covid because of the high rate of false positives.
2. Even if they do have the virus, it is a meaningless comorbidity and they would have come down with pneumonia regardless.
3. Doctors are being overzelous with ICU admissions.
So let's see:
1. Yes, maybe. And? With this virus, false positives come with false negatives.
2. No. Unless you are suggesting that there is another mystery germ that is causing a spike in cases of vicious pneumonia.
3. What??
So here's a suggestion for those in doubt: just count the corpses, all of them.
Measure crude mortality in areas where the virus was allowed to move unchecked for months (e.g. Lombardy) without - duh - averaging the number out with the crude mortality rate in highly populated areas (e.g. Sicily, Campania, Lazio etc.) where at the beginning of March confirmed cases were still in the low double digits.
Then try to find a better explanation for the staggering excess of deaths.
Honestly, Covid denialists should give a call to Peter Duesberg for tips... you know, the guy who claimed for two decades that Africans with HIV aren't killed by HIV - an entirely harmless virus in his opinion - but by malnutrition and a host of exotic bugs that would never become a problem for us.
But what can one do... denialists and conspiracy theorists will always refute evidence.
It's just in their nature.

Posted by: Barbara T. at April 4th, 2020 10:09 AM

@Barbara: I will dismiss the name-calling by the moment... and please answer to this: what value does have more statistical power, a value computed from a population of 46,000,000 or a value computed from a population of 200,000?

Posted by: Antonio at April 4th, 2020 10:51 AM

@Antonio: who's calling you names? You yourself take pride in being a denialist.
Having said that, averaging out outliers is meaningless so your question is meaningless.
And your suggestion that a 400% increase in mortality in a population of 200.000 is a fluke is absurd: go brush up on the meaning of statistical significance - it has nothing to do with the size of a cohort on its own.
But I am done here since you have now moved on to butchering the very foundations of demography, epidemiology, and statistics. Not worth replying.

Posted by: Barbara T. at April 4th, 2020 11:16 AM

@BarbaraT
Thanks for double-checking.

There are definitely public health issues when and if the capacity of hospitals is exceeded. Non-COVID patients in Santa Clara County now take up ~13.2% of the ICU beds. If the system becomes inundated with COVID19 patients, then any serious non-COVID related health issue is going to be affected. Additionally, there is the strain on the health care workers tasked with treating patients in a situation where they are running at or near full capacity. The shortages of PPE and the additional stress of the situation can adversely affect both the physical and mental well being of the healthcare workers resulting in them getting sick further exacerbating the issue.

Ultimately this is a problem, but a problem that can be solved with a technological solution. (But aren't all problems, including aging, amenable to technological solutions??) Personally speaking, I am trying to mitigate my risk and holding out for those solutions to be realized. The probability that a solution comes available is likely greatest in an environment where the health care system is not in crisis mode and is able to deal with any COVID-19 patients in an effective and efficient manner. For example, are there likely to be higher quality clinical trials with candidate drugs or vaccines when the capacity of a health care system is exceeded or when it is not stressed? On the other hand, it appears that hard hit areas are relatively localized, so maybe it will be possible to do quality clinical trials and studies in other areas where the problem is less extreme.

Hopefully, the individuals posting here are not being cavalier and are taking measures to mitigate their risk in spite of the low probability that they will be adversely impacted by COVID19 infection.

Posted by: aaron at April 4th, 2020 12:55 PM

@Aaron: "The probability that a solution comes available is likely greatest in an environment where the health care system is not in crisis mode and is able to deal with any COVID-19 patients in an effective and efficient manner."
And that's exactly the point.

Posted by: Barbara T. at April 4th, 2020 1:10 PM

We have a problem with birds and bats either directly or via pigs and chickens. In Europe Dasatinib has lost patent protection so Dasatinib and Quercetin could be administered cheaply to vulnerable Europeans. Would removing senescent cells help us fight off these viral infections? We do not really know until we try.

Posted by: Tj Green at April 4th, 2020 1:43 PM

@Tj Green
The patent expiry will of course help. However, the main issue is that we don't know the good protocol and benefits for humans. If we had clear proven protocol the price would be a secondary issue. Even at full price it is affordable, albeit not cheap to the average Joe in any country having over 10k USD gdp per capita.

Posted by: Cuberat at April 4th, 2020 3:58 PM

@Barbara:
You are calling names, denialist and conspirationist.
I knew you would not answer.
I will not continue replying either.

Posted by: Antonio at April 5th, 2020 5:55 AM

Producing all types of meat and fish from stem cells would close these markets in wildlife. Making people aware of the dangers of hunting and eating bush meat seems the best way forward. https://jvi.asm.org/content/86/7/3995

Posted by: Tj Green at April 5th, 2020 7:01 AM

I think I visited here on March 13 and commented on this virus, but I see Reason repeating the common argument about low death rate that, while true, first misses what would happen if no action were taken. Even at 0.66%, there would be about 46 million deaths, a catastrophe on the scale of World War II.

I'm even more convinced now that it is more likely than not that the world will be destroyed by nanotechnology, AI, an engineered pandemic, nuclear war, or some other threat we aren't preparing for right now. I also think that a surprising number of people are more likely to die in a global catastrophe than they are due to old age.

One reason why I believe the stock market has not bottomed is because people on TV continue to talk about "getting back to normal," as if the Olympics will be held next summer as if nothing ever happened, or if football will be played this Fall. They also make it sound as if Trump can just say "it's time to restart the economy" and that people will listen. I'm not concerned about being dead, as I imagine that death isn't very bad, but I am extremely concerned about suffering for the 28 days that an average case lasts. In China, 29% of quarantined people have symptoms of PTSD. Large portions of the population are going to be suffering from PTSD and agoraphobia for years to come.

I understand Reason's argument about death rates, but it's not the death rate that's important - it's the permanent changes to society that have occurred. I can't speak for what anyone else will do, but here's how I'll be living my life for the next few years:

-No matter what anyone says, I'm not going to a restaurant until the caseload is near zero - and perhaps not even then. Takeout food is just as good and is much cheaper.
-I used to shop at Sam's Club and similar stores, but I found that it's worth paying the extra $100 per year and getting things delivered, so I won't be going back to retail stores. I even get things like fertilizer and much delivered now and it's fine.
-I play a lot more video games now than I used to, met people online, and may spend half the time I used to on in-person social events when everything is over.
-Because the price of bitcoins and the stock market crashed so much, I put my plans to buy new carpets and couches on hold until they recover. Why sell low?
-I used to aspire to buying a model S or model Y, but realized that my Prius is good enough, given that I don't expect to drive much the next few years.
-In the future, I want to live alone, so that if another emergency happens, I will have full control over how much risk I want to take.

I'm sure that other people are making permanent lifestyle changes that I didn't mention - I'm sure there are probably people who travel but will be very hesitant to make travel plans, and there are people with kids who may have enjoyed homeschooling, and so on.

If the economic damage delays a cure for aging by only one year, I would be surprised. This is a multi-year setback.

Everyone needs to look at the big picture of how society has changed to see why this is a huge deal. It's difficult to calculate the odds of events that have never happened before, and it's similarly difficult to understand how the world will be changed by them. While I appreciate what Reason is doing with this blog, I can't help but think that aging is so unimportant compared to these other issues facing humanity. Even if aging is cured, it's not going to help the human race get over these major problems.

Posted by: Steve Sokolowski at April 5th, 2020 11:53 AM

@Steve Sokolowski

In the short term there will be definitely setbacks as the economy slows down. However, a lot of studies are already funded and the correct protocols are conductive to using sanitary and social distancing measures. Many scientists and students will use the quarantine time to study/finish their papers. Do probably more reading, etc. Videoconferencing and telecommuting will be the new normal. While it brings its own challenges and difficulties it makes collaboration much easier and cheaper, especially on international scale. For sure, the world as we know it will change. Some sectors of the economy will be decimated or even obliterated, in short to mid term there will be less money to fund the research. On the other hand, some of the research will be cheaper. Also most of the enabling factors will stay. Those are improvement in the technology ( computer simulations, 3d printing, lab automation, better simulations and patent expiry( dasatinib) . The thing that could slow the progress more would be the death of most aged people, which would postpone the urgency of anti aging research. In fact, this whole covid-19 quarantine is to prevent deaths of vulnerable people (read 90 of those are old and aged) . This point of view will be a hard sell, however.

Posted by: Cuberat at April 5th, 2020 1:24 PM

@Steve Sokolowski

The death rate is very important on an individual level.  I would assert that, with a high degree of certainty, that nobody posting in this thread thus far has volunteered to work the front lines in the ERs in NYC and their perceived (personal) death rate from COVID19 plays a huge role in their decision making processes.  By looking at a picture of Reason I would guess him to be around 50 years old, but he also looks to be in decent physical condition so lets put him in the 45-49 year old bracket.  In 2017 the death rate for 45-49 year olds in the US was reported to be 387.3/100,000 or about 0.387%.  We don't know the death rate for 45-49 year olds from COVID-19 yet, but it could quite possibly lower.  However, maybe Reason is not representative of your average US 45-49 year old, has no underlying medical conditions he is aware of, and takes care of himself by following evidence-based science.  Maybe his estimated death rate is two standard deviations less, maybe unbeknownst to him he actually has had an asymptomatic case of COVID19 and right now neutralizing antibodies are circulating throughout his body and over his mucosal surfaces .  Does the elimination of uncertainty change the calculus for him?  Maybe he is free to roam about with a 0.0001% chance of dying from COVID19.  

There are a lot of posts on Fight Aging! extolling the virtues of exercise and diet to stave off the diseases of aging.  Rightfully so, it definitely is a way to mitigate your risk of developing age-related disease at the normal rate.  It doesn't in any way cure aging; fights it for sure.  We all make decisions based on our perceived risk, whether or not those numbers are actually correct or just a reflection of our inherent biases, anxieties, or paranoia.  On a larger scale, society has to decide what risks are acceptable whilst factoring in a large number of variables with different weights on them.  What are we willing to bear in terms of the economy?  How much is the life of a person 45-49 years old worth?  How much is the life of an 80+ year old worth?  Your mileage may vary depending on your perspective.  No easy decisions, that's for sure.  Though, the best way to make those decisions is not being unprepared to make them, which could possibly make the need to make a decision unnecessary.  I would assert that the decision is always easier when your risk is considerably less than someone else's risk.  For example, I order from Instacart and get my groceries delivered to mitigate my risk, but the delivery person is in the store with anyone else that is shopping at the time.  What was their absolute risk (not relative risk) of becoming infected in that situation?   I have no idea, but I do know it was likely considerably more than mine.  The last person looked to be in their mid-fifties so I left a nice tip as I was grateful to be able to offload my risk. 

I have no idea what the demographics of the posters and readers of Fight Aging! are.  Maybe a lot of us can work from home and order stuff online by refreshing the screen many times before getting a delivery window.  Maybe we have people living in the guest house to do that stuff?
Maybe everyone is 20-30 years old possessing the remarkable foresight to realize that aging sucks?  Each person has their own risk profile and knowing that risk at a well defined level would allow each person to make their own choices in the face of any sort of event or planned action.  We can get an idea of how not having the ability to abrogate aging can change the calculus with respect to taking senolytics in the absence of any long-term data, etc, as, assuming veracity, we have proof in the comments.Let's assume the risk of death by aging is for all intents and purposes eliminated in the future.  How does that change your calculus with respect to driving, flying, consuming raw fish or unwashed lettuce, crossing a busy intersection, etc?  Is your life more or less valuable when your probability of dying due to aging is asymptotically approaching what is essentially zero?  I think I would be paying a lot more attention to posterior probabilities.  Someone else might view themselves as invincible.

Posted by: aaron at April 5th, 2020 2:41 PM

@aaron: Those probabilities are already calculated here and elsewhere. Life expectancy without aging would be around 1,000-5,000 years, with current accident rates, etc., depending on the country, sex, etc.

Posted by: Antonio at April 5th, 2020 3:39 PM

@aaron
Putting aside covid-19, your last paragraph is worth of a separate thread. If you check the two extremities of people dying from old age versus dyinf from other causes v we already have examples that can give us some idea.

Mere 150 years ago a sizeable part of the population wear dying from wars, infection, v famine and accidents. While aging was a real
phenomenon it was just one of the many causes of death. Some the total mortality risk was quite high people were willing to take much higher risks back then. If there's a society which never ages then the people probe to riskier behavior will be culled from the population over long time. If you are an adrenaline junkie you don't have to worry about your retirement...

For sure the cars will become safer and traffic rules and organization safer even at the expense of speed and convenience. Europe could switch to 110 volts to reduce the risks of electrocution.

There was a study that estimate the average lover expectancy if we use total mortality of people below 30-40 to be about 800 years.

Posted by: Cuberat at April 5th, 2020 3:49 PM

@Antonio
@Cuberat
Thanks for the information.  A range of 1,000-5,000 years for life expectancy in the absence of aging-related death is quite large. Having a better understanding of one's individual mortality risk given a specific action and using that information to minimize one's risk would likely have huge influence on where you checked out in that range.   As Cuberat points out the more value put on life will entail changes in what society views as an acceptable risk and this will be reflected in changes in rules and regulations.  Will people still view those changes as more onerous than current society deals with on a daily basis?  

On a fundamental level will the absence of aging make the calculation of the value of life any different?  For example, will a 5,000 year old non-aging person be less valuable than a 300 year old non-aging person when the likelihood of them both being equally likely to contribute something of worth (however you would like to define that, but let's go with economic value) to society other than the fact that they are both alive?  Maybe at that point in time one's value will be based on what you can contribute to society or have contributed to society, because you are more likely to continue to contribute given your lack of aging and your previous body of work.  As a counter example, today an average 80 year old is, with a high degree of probability, not going to further contribute a lot of economic value no matter what they have done in the past when compared to a 50 year old and the difference between a 20 year old and a 50 year old may or may not be similar but is likely considerably leaning more in favor of the 20 year old.  Does an absence of aging abrogate the need for policy decision makers to even bother thinking about this issue?

Posted by: aaron at April 5th, 2020 4:36 PM

If this pandemia is just comparable with the normal flu, why then, at least in Spain, health care centers are completely overwhelmed and collapsed? Why Doctors have to decide who get into the Units of Intensive Care based on their best criteria of who can really survive and let others, normally old people to die. And that is happening in Spain with a quarentine that is already in its 23rd day. New inffected are counting daily still by the thousands and death by the hundreds daily. I'm sure it would be a lot worst and out of control without the quarentine measures. I don't remember such events happens during the standard flu, at least in the ones that have taken place in recent years, among other reasons because for this flu there is a vaccine since many years ago.

Posted by: Andrés at April 6th, 2020 12:36 PM

@Andrés: it is not just a bad flu, of course it isn't.
Denialists keep citing numbers that are meaningless or irrelevant to the context of what's going on (e.g. supposed case fatality rate and mortality rates averaged between places with the virus and places without) and dismiss the pictures of churches and ice rinks full of coffins as well as the accounts of those who can literally see and touch the dead, i.e. hospital workers and funeral home employees.

I guess for them it's all a big conspiracy where everybody in every single country in the world is lying. Trying to reason with these people is a waste of time because whatever you say gets stonewalled or rebutted with a fantastically flawed interpretation of stats.

Again, nobody knows whether the economic disaster of quarantine is going to have worse economic consequences than the economic disaster we would have experienced had we chosen to let this thing kill tens of millions around the world. But I would say that in a situation of uncertainty putting human lives comes first - especially considering that there could be positives at the end of the tunnel, such as increased investment in medical research including ways to strengthen the immune system of the old.

Posted by: Barbara T. at April 6th, 2020 1:55 PM

The attention the virus is getting is the best thing that could happen to advance our fight against aging! Don't know why the tone here is so cynical.

These days, the general opinion is "oh damn, guess medical research IS important!"

Medical research will get a serious boost to funding, SENS included. In addition, I'm sure some of the research to fight COVID would be applicable for life extension.

Posted by: RideTheWave at April 6th, 2020 1:59 PM

Andrés said:

"New inffected are counting daily still by the thousands and death by the hundreds daily."

That's because all deceased with covid-19 (i.e. testing positive) are counted as killed by covid-19. Of course, in the vast majority of cases, no detailed autopsy is done to ascertain what the cause of death was (there is no time nor money for that). Also, many deceased had other viruses too, but this is not accounted for either. If covid-19 is detected, then oficially it's "death by covid-19."

"I don't remember such events happens during the standard flu, at least in the ones that have taken place in recent years, among other reasons because for this flu there is a vaccine since many years ago."

Last winter's flu vaccine in Spain had an efficiency of ~50% and it was only administered to ~50% of +65 year olds. It's estimated than only ~20% of deaths of +65 year olds due to flu were prevented by the vaccine.

RideTheWave said:

"The attention the virus is getting is the best thing that could happen to advance our fight against aging!"

Huh? Take a look at the comments here, for example:
https://www.alzforum.org/news/community-news/coronavirus-takes-its-toll-alzheimers-clinical-studies#comments

"Medical research will get a serious boost to funding, SENS included".

Probably the opposite, due to the incoming economic crisis.

Posted by: Antonio at April 6th, 2020 2:54 PM

Hi! Just a 2 cents. I hope all are well and stay safe/be careful when going outside/exposing self.
This COVID virus is quite the mega-wrench in the fig. cog wheels we never saw coming. It's so sad the amount of people being infected, it is one of the most contagious 'sleeping' virus. I read a news the other day that said ''People without symptoms can carry the virus SARS-CoVid2/COVID-19''. Even after resolution of their symptoms, as if the virus becomes dormant. But, that's what's scary, these 'non-active' healthy carriers - give the virus to others (obviously unknowingly). Thus, this is a Pernicious virus that hides and sleeps, in the general younger population it is not fatal; but in old people (above 50) yes, it can be; espeically around 60-70...and of course people in 80-90 bracket even worse outcome due to aged immune system and aged lungs (weaker). The virus causes inflammation in the lungs, especially, causing a fever/cold flu like symptoms with 'coughing', which then can make organs hypoxia/asphyxia.
Masks are not 100% protection, but Worth it more than not. Wear mask outside, deliver your food (clean it/let it there 5 hours for virus to die on cardbox), deliver anything you can get online and Only go to get essential thing in outside store that you cannot get online. I sympathise with people in Italy and Spain, and USA (because I'm not from any of these place) and I send my deepest thoughts/prayers. Prayers/thoughts are mostly useless, waht we must do is Act doing 'quarantining' in our ways. It sucks but the future will be different; most likely there will be some normalcy back in the 2 3 months; but, the danger will still linger - 7 billion people, the virus is bound to show up somewhere else. Thus, I think the next 1-5 years will be hard and lonelier; thus we, as humans, must adapt everything (including ourselves) for the future. The worse and hardest is people that have lost loved ones to COVID but they could not say Goodbye/have proper funeral/burial because they could catch virus/give it...because hospitals are 'hands' full (hands that don't 'shake' other hands to not spread it), 'social distancing/more space of your personal 'person-to-person' physical space'). I think that all 'gatherings' in the future - whatever they are (sports, malls, cinema theaters, partys, bars, etc. etc...even a gazillion number of jobs 'in company'....) will have to change things (as some said, some may become extinct as 'jobs' or have to adapt 'into new format' somehow. Online/Internet may be the next revolution for 'working from home as autonomous worker').

Hi aaron!
''What are we willing to bear in terms of the economy? How much is the life of a person 45-49 years old worth? How much is the life of an 80+ year old worth?''

I know, it's very sad....right now, doctors are 'forced' to 'let old people die'...because they lack the resources to give them the proper health cares needed - there are Many otehr peopple infected of the virus...so you HAVE to choose...it's sad...and in a society where it is 'being born, living and then dying' 'rinse repeat'...welll you can understand who would be kept and who would be left. Older people had a full life...so doctors are like ''well we want to save them...we can't''. ''we can only do 'rations'/portions...and we choose to give it to Young people dying of COVID..because it's not fair for such Young people dying of virus..while old people got whole life Done already''...And understand me, if I were old, I would be angered, because I matter/old people matter do greatly. But...therein the problem, there is not Unlimiated Resources.
If there were, we could and we Would save them - ALL. Including old people, because we want to and they deserve life, just as much as Young people.

But, we can't.

Just a 2 cents.

PS: Until we solve aging and find a vaccine/cure for COVID-19 and be done with it, we have to accept that limited resources - means - 'choosing' among people, rich/poor, Young/old...etc.. it's always been like that in the past and it continues (just like CHina with the 1 baby per couple...you think they would say ''we will save the old people''...no they are like ''as a society...someone Will die...someone that has lived long enough and has 'to give their place' for a new 'Young one'''.

Posted by: CANanonymity at April 6th, 2020 4:51 PM

@aaron: It's not about the risk of my death due to the disease. I think you missed that I don't want to suffer from the disease. I am afraid of suffering, not death. Likewise, my grandparents were never afraid of death. They were afraid of pain before they died.

I think you're missing that this disease needs to be looked at in terms of a risk/benefit analysis. Going back to work is of great benefit to people and to society - they need to work to be able to buy food. But going out to optional events, like restaurants or the Toastmasters meetings I attend, requires a much higher bar of safety. I will still be able to eat if I don't go to Toastmasters this summer, which is why I'm not going to go to Toastmasters meetings for the next year.

My prediction is that in March, we saw an excess of demand - people wanted to do things, but there were no places open. In July, when things start to open up again, there will be an excess of supply. Restaurants will open, but people are going to go to work and go home without eating at them. They, and I, will likely judge that it's worth the risk of illness to be able to make money, but that it's not worth the risk to have a night out at a bar.

As you can see, that's a mismatch, because the economy is so services-oriented. People will be back to work in the bars, and nobody will be patronizing them, because the risk/benefit analysis is different for the customers and the employees. That's going to lead to, as I've pointed out in my blogs, a restructuring of the economy. Concert promoters and wedding DJs and restaurants won't be able to stay closed until 2022 and remain in business. Industries that cater to solitary activities will expand, and that shift will linger on even after the disease is eradicated.

I think that, if it were possible to remove all the death, suffering, and bankruptcies from the equation, the end result will be a positive change. The world will be more focused on productive activities, selfish people may have been taught a lesson in humility, and huge and environmentally damaging in-person business meetings that were never necessary in the first place will be replaced by virtual events that are much more efficient.

There is too much talk here about how this is overblown or how things will "go back to normal." My indication that the stock market has yet to bottom out is that people are still talking about a "return to normal." When people finally recognize that the world will be permanently changed, regardless of whether that change is warranted or not, that's the time to buy stocks and the new economy can be built.

I also think that this pandemic has increased the chance that humanity will make it to 2040. Before, I would have said it was 50/50 that we would be alive in 2040. Now, maybe it's 60%. I think it's very unlikely now that terrorists will be able to engineer a pandemic to kill everyone, as current events will accelerate work on a way to produce vaccines instantly, and even if the terrorists are able to act before that's possible, people know now how to ride it out safely.

Posted by: Steve Sokolowski at April 7th, 2020 8:41 AM

To follow up on the last comment, I didn't respond about Instacart. I do think that it is hazardous to go shopping, which is why I haven't gotten into a car in 16 days. I did use Instacart a few times in February, when I knew there were cases that weren't being reported, and gave $30 tips to recognize the shoppers' contribution to society.

Now, though, I simply switched to 100% Huel and plan to continue to do so through August. I spent $1300 to buy 336,000 calories of the stuff in December when it became clear the virus had appeared in China, and to make sure I bought out the rest of the better formula that is no longer available (https://forums.prohashing.com/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=7094.) I can be 100% confident that I will not get sick, it eliminates the ethical issue of paying someone to buy food at a store, and it's far cheaper and less time-consuming than cooking.

Posted by: Steve Sokolowski at April 7th, 2020 9:16 AM

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