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Holden's Bet with Zvi about Omicron


Related Question on Metaculus:

On December 22, 2021 Holden Karnofsky published Bet with Zvi about Omicron on his Cold Takes blog:

Zvi Mowshowitz and I have agreed to the following bet:

  • If at least 75% of the USA COVID-19 cases between 1/1/22 and 2/28/23 (inclusive) occur between 1/1/22 and 2/28/22 (inclusive), I pay Zvi $40.

  • Otherwise, Zvi pays me $60.

  • This bet is intended to apply to Omicron and earlier strains, and it will be a “push” if a post-Omicron strain “muddies the waters” in the following sense: counting cases from the new strain would cause me to win, and not counting them would cause Zvi to win.

  • We'll use Wikipedia for total COVID-19 cases and this CDC data for variant information. Each of us has the option to appeal to a third party (whom we've agreed on) to perform an adjustment for undertesting.

The concept this is trying to capture is that Zvi thinks there’s a 70% chance of the following: “Omicron will blow through the US by 3/1/2022, leading to herd immunity and something like the ‘end’ of the COVID-19 pandemic.” I think there’s only a 50% chance of this (and I would’ve had a lower probability before learning that Zvi thinks it). We bet at 60%.

Will Holden win his Bet with Zvi about Omicron, conditional on one of them winning?

This question will resolve positively if Holden wins the above bet with Zvi, according to Holden's and Zvi's public agreement to resolve the bet. Resolution is positive if Holden wins, negative if Zvi wins, and ambiguous if they declare the bet is a "push".

A related Metaculus question on whether this bet will resolve ambigously can be found here.

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