Research into large scale, global catastrophic and existential risks. Currently primarily focused on public policy, biorisks, and Goodhart's law.
The potential for an infectious disease outbreak that is much worse than those which have been observed in human history, whether engineered or natural, has been the focus of significant concern in biosecurity. Fundamental dynamics of disease spread make such outbreaks much less likely than they first appear. Here we present a slightly modified formulation of the typical SEIR model that illustrates these dynamics more clearly, and shows the unlikely cases where concern may still be warranted. This is then applied to an extreme version of proposed pandemic risk, multi-disease syndemics, to show that (absent much clearer reasons for concern) the suggested dangers are overstated.