Taking a pause from the newsletter

28 May 2020 I’ve been posting infrequently in recent week for two reasons. First, following a very nice break after my last professional role, during which we moved back to Europe and took several months off as a family, I’ve now started a new role that is consuming all of the time, and more, thatContinue reading “Taking a pause from the newsletter”

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Ninth weekly Sunday off-the-record chat with experts

17 May 2020 Each Sunday, a friend organises a two-hour call for friends (many of whom are senior figures from finance, industry, and academia) to hear 10-15 experts talk about the COVID-19 crisis. This has now grown to 500-1,000+ attendees, with a consistently all-star cast of speakers drawn from many different fields. Tonight’s installment, theContinue reading “Ninth weekly Sunday off-the-record chat with experts”

Eighth weekly Sunday off-the-record chat with experts

10 May 2020 Each Sunday, a friend organises a two-hour call for friends (many of whom are senior figures from finance, industry, and academia) to hear 10-15 experts talk about the COVID-19 crisis. This has now grown to 500-1,000+ attendees, with a consistently all-star cast of speakers drawn from many different fields. Tonight’s installment, theContinue reading “Eighth weekly Sunday off-the-record chat with experts”

Seventh weekly Sunday off-the-record chat with experts

3 May 2020 Each Sunday, a friend organises a two-hour call for friends (many of whom are senior figures from finance, industry, and academia) to hear 10-15 experts talk about the COVID-19 crisis. This has now grown to more than 1,000 attendees, with a consistently all-star cast of speakers drawn from many different fields. Tonight’sContinue reading “Seventh weekly Sunday off-the-record chat with experts”

Yes, COVID-19 really is dangerous

29 April 2020 There’s a persistent, recurrent idea out there that COVID-19 isn’t really that dangerous after all, and that we are taking economic pain unnecessarily. I won’t wade into the important and difficult debate about what the right tradeoffs are between minimizing excess deaths and minimizing economic pain, a debate that is becoming moreContinue reading “Yes, COVID-19 really is dangerous”

Sixth weekly Sunday off-the-record chat with experts

26 April 2020 Each Sunday, a friend organises a two-hour call for friends (many of whom are senior figures from finance, industry, and academia) to hear 10-15 experts talk about the COVID-19 crisis. This has now grown to more than 1,000 attendees, with a consistently all-star cast of speakers drawn from many different fields. Tonight’sContinue reading “Sixth weekly Sunday off-the-record chat with experts”

Estimating the effective reproduction number; looking ahead

21 April 2020 Here are some of the most interesting posts, articles, papers, and resources I’ve come across recently, organised by theme. How close are we to R=1? You’ve probably heard about the basic reproduction number by now, R0 (R-naught). This is the average number of people infected by each infected individual a situation inContinue reading “Estimating the effective reproduction number; looking ahead”

Fifth weekly Sunday off-the-record chat with experts

19 April 2020 (minor typos corrected 20 April) Each Sunday, a friend organises a two-hour call for friends (many of whom are senior figures from finance, industry, and academia) to hear 10-15 experts talk about the COVID-19 crisis. This has now grown to more than 1,000 attendees, with a consistently all-star cast of speakers drawnContinue reading “Fifth weekly Sunday off-the-record chat with experts”

A seductive idea that’s probably (but not definitely) false

It’s unlikely, but not impossible, that many or most people have already been infected 16 April 2020 (minor updates 17 April 2020) Contagious (and possibly dangerous) memes Many false and/or dangerous memes have spread about coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and COVID-19. These include that 5G cell phone towers cause COVID-19, that people of certain ethnic backgrounds don’tContinue reading “A seductive idea that’s probably (but not definitely) false”

Fourth weekly Sunday off-the-record chat with experts

12 April 2020 Each Sunday, a friend organises a two-hour call for friends (many of whom are senior figures from finance, industry, and academia) to hear 10-15 experts talk about the COVID-19 crisis. This has now grown to hundreds of attendees, with a consistently all-star cast of speakers drawn from many different fields. Tonight’s installment,Continue reading “Fourth weekly Sunday off-the-record chat with experts”

Children; deaths and data; Rt

7 April 2020 Correction Mea culpa: Yesterday’s post contained a math error in, well, my math example. (Thanks to P for pointing it out!). It’s now updated with the correct figures. Importantly, in my made-up example about the risk of false positives from serological tests, 50% (not 8%) of all positives would be false positives.Continue reading “Children; deaths and data; Rt”

Hard choices

Original published 6 April 2020; updated 7 April 2020 to correct an error Exit strategy or roadmap to recovery? I wrote about exit strategies four days ago, on 2 April. In the last week, it seems like this has become a dominant topic of conversation in “quality” media. And no post I’ve written has generatedContinue reading “Hard choices”

The third instance of Sunday private conversation with experts and investors

5 April 2020 Each Sunday, a friend has been organising a two-hour call for friends (mostly from the finance, economics, and policy world) to hear 10-15 experts talk about the COVID-19 crisis. This has now grown to hundreds of attendees, with a consistently all-star cast of speakers drawn from many different fields. and a fascinatingContinue reading “The third instance of Sunday private conversation with experts and investors”

Roundup of worthwhile reading for Friday

3 April 2020 Here’s the best of what I’ve been reading recently. Bill Gates: How to make up for lost time Highly recommended op-ed in the Washington Post. The key points: Adopt a consistent approach to control measures nationwide; otherwise those areas with relatively lax measures put everyone at risk. Ramp testing faster; prioritise thoseContinue reading “Roundup of worthwhile reading for Friday”

Updating priors; what are the exit strategies?

2 April 2020 Updating my priors I haven’t publicly updated the distribution of my current, subjective probabilities, against the three high-level scenarios I’ve previously described (which I call “expected, better, worse”), in a while. If you haven’t already read that post, you might want pause and skim through it to have context for what comesContinue reading “Updating priors; what are the exit strategies?”

(Correction) Use Kinsa data with caution for COVID-19

2 April 2020 In a post on 31 March 2020 I linked to a New York Times article about US data and estimates based on Kinsa Health’s internet-connected thermometers, which showed a significant drop in fevers vs Kinsa’s forecast. I did say that we should be “cautious about concluding that this represents a decrease inContinue reading “(Correction) Use Kinsa data with caution for COVID-19”

Control measures are working

31 March 2020 (Reposted 1st April as due to human error — mine — this didn’t make it into the newsletter.) On 30 March 2020, researchers at Imperial College published a paper, discussed in this article, assessing the effectiveness of control measures put in place in 11 European countries. The model uses the now-familiar methodContinue reading “Control measures are working”

How healthy people die, negative oil prices, serological tests, and more

1 April 2020 (promise: no April Fools’ jokes today) Epidemiological modeling is hard A friend sent me this excellent FiveThirtyEight post, Why It’s So Freaking Hard To Make A Good COVID-19 Model.  It’s an accessible read that gives real insight into why different models give such different results, and why even the best epidemiologists areContinue reading “How healthy people die, negative oil prices, serological tests, and more”