Mayank Gupta emails me:

Absolutely the variety of false positives would rise dramatically below barely inaccurate, broad surveillance testing. At the very least initially, the variety of folks going to the physician to ask what to do would additionally rise. One can think about if medical doctors really flubbed and didn’t know the way to advise sufferers precisely, numerous particular person sufferers would lose belief within the medical system (testing, medical doctors, or each). The consequence of this could be extra resistance to well being public coverage measures sooner or later.

I see this as fairly just like what occurred on three mile island. There was a transparent utilitarian profit to taking up some small quantity of nuclear accident danger. The general public was by no means taught how or why to internalize and address this danger. When the danger manifested, people noticed the danger however not the general public profit and turned towards nuclear. This transformation of public opinion was mirrored in public coverage after.

I’m certain there’s some mismatches on this analogy, however I’m utilizing it to level out that usually I discover pondering on the margin with out serious about the general public’s potential to assume on the margin can lead to setbacks on the margin.

In an age the place science is each extra able to fixing social issues and extra advanced to know, however the public has an excessive amount of advanced info to kind by, the central drawback of governance appears to be the way to clear up public alternative, with out making a monopoly on info.

To be clear, I do favor speedy testing, however it’s price giving this drawback additional thought.

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