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Gordon Hull
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Black men have to decide whether the risk of being harassed and profiled by police for wearing a mask is greater than the risk of contracting Covid for not wearing one. Continue reading
Research into the spread of Covid-19 continues, with an important new preprint by Michael Woroby et al up today (tl;dr see the writeup in Stat News). The standard narrative about the arrival of Covid-19 in the U.S. is that a patient arrived in Seattle, WA from Wuhan on January 15th.... Continue reading
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As most folks know by now, there's two kinds of Covid tests. One of them tests for whether you have the disease now. The other tests for the presence of antibodies in your blood, indicating that you have had the disease at some point. You might think that an outfit... Continue reading
One of the widely-discussed metrics for understanding Covid-19 transmission is its R0 number - the average number of infections that a given person causes. An R0 of 3, for example, means that each person infects an average of 3 others. In order to stop the disease from eventually spiraling out... Continue reading
With reference to malaria tracking, I've tried to suggest some of the reasons we don't really know what "Covid cases" means, either insofar as that is measured by positive tests (because we don't know how many more cases there are beyond the tested ones, so tested cases is at best... Continue reading
Having lived in Iowa before coming to NC (this was about 12 years ago), I find myself looking at the numbers there every now and then. It looks like the governor has her head totally in the sand. If I'm reading it right, the Covid tracking project says that Iowa has 10k confirmed positive tests (which is pretty high, for a 3 million population) and that the % positive rate is about 17% (60k total tests) - which means there's a bunch of spread they don't have a handle on. Agreed on the nightmare fall semester that's coming!
It’s fairly clear that one of the keys to living with Covid-19 is understanding the dynamics of transmission: absent something more nuanced than what we have, “stay 6 feet away from everyone at all times!” becomes the only public health advice that can be given. Getting past the initial maximin... Continue reading
As Daniele Lorenzini reminds us, the coronavirus pandemic exposes nothing if not the differential precarity of our biopolitics. Sure, biopolitics is about promoting life, but it’s also about deciding that some people can die in order that others may live. The most obvious candidates are “essential” workers in various parts... Continue reading
Recall that before Covid (so about 300 years ago), there was an interesting copyright case percolating through the federal courts. The question concerned the Official Georgia Code Annotated (OGCA), which contains the text of the Georgia Code as well as various annotations. There were two potentially conflicting principles at work.... Continue reading
Remdesivir has been one of the most closely watched potential therapies for COVID-19, and a couple of early cohort and observational studies have been encouraging. But apparently the first results from a randomized controlled trial in China indicate that it did not make a statistically significant difference. At least, it... Continue reading
By now it should be apparent just how little we know about the coronavirus pandemic, from how to treat it to basic facts about what the “number of COVID cases” means. Even “deaths due to COVID” turns out to be difficult: both New York and UK have revised their numbers... Continue reading
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President Nero wants you to know that the U.S. has conducted a bigly number of coronavirus tests, higher than he can count, and maybe even more tests than there were people at his inauguration! Anyway, the U.S. is still terrible at COVID testing, as the following chart from Vox reminds... Continue reading
Cellphone tracking - whether through geolocation or something like detecting the proximity of bluetooth devices - has been getting a lot of attention for its potential to improve COVID surveillance. Given that there are estimates that a workforce of upwards of 100,000 people would be necessary to get a good... Continue reading
Yeah, I think that's right. I've also seen accounts that say it causes neurological damage and that it can seriously damage the immune system (apparently, it can attack T-cells. The effect is like HIV, although it can't apparently replicate in those cells: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3079443/coronavirus-could-target-immune-system-targeting-protective). We don't really know what it means for your long-term health to have had covid, since the first cases were so recent. I hadn't put all of that together, but you're right that this is a potentially significant social and fiscal cost to infections.
UPDATE: Here's a nice piece that talks about the complexities of reducing restrictions, framing the overall need in terms of keeping R0 (the number of new infections a given case leads to) from rising much above 1. A new article in Science models our future under the new Coronavirus regime.... Continue reading
The latest trendy idea. It sounds great in some limited contexts, especially as a way to protect healthcare workers. It also sounds suspiciously like a way for Trump and Co. not to do the actual work of testing and contact tracing, or to guarantee a general social safety net. It's... Continue reading
Why would you let a pandemic get in the way of voter suppression? Much better to use it as a tactic of voter suppression. At least, I can't see any other other coherent way to read the Wisconsin GOP and SCOTUS refusal to either delay Wisconsin's vote today, or allow... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull I argued a few days ago that late capitalism, with its fetishization of efficiency, leaves us unprepared for a pandemic because of vulnerabilities in the supply chain. In a recent blogpost, Frank Pasquale adds some healthcare-specific texture to the point, noting how our healthcare system is almost... Continue reading
Geolocation data is getting increasing attention as a way of tracking social distancing in particular. Google has just released a bunch of its geolocation data, which tracks changes in trips to retail, parks and other places. In the meantime, a new paper in Science says that a good contact-tracing App,... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull I know there’s a lot of ways to develop that thesis! Let me focus on one: the fetishization of “efficiency,” and its corollary, just-in-time supply chains. In a recent piece in The Atlantic, Helen Lewis argues that a lot of the disruption in consumer goods (toilet paper,... Continue reading
As I noted earlier, cellphone tracking data is proving an interesting tool in trying to understand the spread of COVID-19. You'll recall that Florida beaches featured a whole bunch of tightly-packed WOO-HOO SPRING BREAKers. And that they then presumably left the state. Where did they go? Here's a map based... Continue reading
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By Gordon Hull A recent piece in the Guardian points to the limitations of models in understanding the spread of COVID-19: principally, those models are often not based on reliable data specific to the disease, so they can be wildly off. As I argued earlier, the bottom line is that... Continue reading
Stuart Elden at Progressive Geographies is curating a list of "geographers, sociologists, philosophers etc. on covid 19." There's a ton of fascinating material there, and he is updating it regularly. Continue reading
At company called unacast has used cellphone tracking data to produce a “Social Distancing Scorecard.” It breaks down the US by state and county to measure the distances that cellphones travel as a proxy for social distancing. It then grades areas from A to F based on the percentage decrease.... Continue reading
By Gordon Hull In a follow-up to a controversial piece in which he argued (in late February) that the social distancing and quarantining in Italy presented the temptation to universalize the state of exception, Agamben says this: “Fear is a bad counsellor, but it makes us see many things we... Continue reading