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Archive of posts filed under the Public Health category.

About that claim that “SARS-CoV-2 is not a natural zoonosis but instead is laboratory derived”

A couple people pointed me to this article, “A Bayesian analysis concludes beyond a reasonable doubt that SARS-CoV-2 is not a natural zoonosis but instead is laboratory derived.” It is hard for me to assess this document, as the key issues involve the biology of the virus, and I don’t know anything about genetics. There […]

Mortality data 2015-2020 around the world

Ariel Karlinsky writes: Me and a colleague (Dmitry Kobak) just published (for now just on medRxiv, publication upcoming soon we hope) a large (the largest to date!) dataset of weekly, monthly or quarterly deaths in 79 countries from 2015 to 2021 – Documenting large increases in mortality in most of them, in tandem with COVID […]

Scott Atlas, Team Stanford, and their friends

A recent comment thread revealed the existence of an organization called Panda: “Pandemics ~ Data & Analytics.” Its scientific advisory board includes Scott Atlas, the former U.S. government advisor described on the website as a “world renowned physician.” He’s now at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Atlas most recently appeared on Fox News to say, “It is […]

Three coronavirus quickies

1. Charles Horton writes: The existing research into ivermectin doesn’t generally strike me as very strong, with much of it showing up in non-peer-reviewed journals, or having other major flaws (i.e., the Hill study presents itself as a meta-analysis but of the 18 trials it collects, it only claims that two are high-quality—then analyzes all […]

What about that new paper estimating the effects of lockdowns etc?

A couple people pointed me to this article, “Assessing Mandatory Stay‐at‐Home and Business Closure Effects on the Spread of COVID‐19,” which reports: The most restrictive non‐pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) for controlling the spread of COVID‐19 are mandatory stay‐at‐home and business closures. . . . We evaluate the effects on epidemic case growth of more restrictive NPIs […]

Infer well arsenic dynamic from filed kits

(This post is by Yuling, not Andrew) Rajib Mozumder, Benjamin Bostick, Brian Mailloux, Charles Harvey, Andrew, Alexander van Geen, and I arxiv a new paper “Making the most of imprecise measurements: Changing patterns of arsenic concentrations in shallow wells of Bangladesh from laboratory and field data”. Its abstract reads: Millions of people in Bangladesh drink […]

Webinar: Functional uniform priors for dose-response models

This post is by Eric. This Wednesday, at 12 pm ET, Kristian Brock is stopping by to talk to us about functional uniform priors for dose-response models. You can register here. Abstract Dose-response modeling frequently employs non-linear regression. Functional uniform priors are distributions that can be derived for parameters that convey approximate uniformity over the […]

You’re a data scientist at a local hospital and you’ve been asked to present to the physicians on communicating statistical information to patients. What should you say?

Someone who wishes to remain anonymous writes: I just read your post reflecting on crappy talks . . . I’m reaching out because I’m a data scientist at a local hospital in the US and I’ve been asked to present to our physicians about communicating statistical information to patients (e.g., how to interpret the results […]

Routine hospital-based SARS-CoV-2 testing outperforms state-based data in predicting clinical burden.

Len Covello, Yajuan Si, Siquan Wang, and I write: Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, government policy and healthcare implementation responses have been guided by reported positivity rates and counts of positive cases in the community. The selection bias of these data calls into question their validity as measures of the actual viral incidence in the community […]

“They adjusted for three hundred confounders.”

Alexey Guzey points to this post by Scott Alexander and this research article by Elisabetta Patorno, Robert Glynn, Raisa Levin, Moa Lee, and Krista Huybrechts, and writes: I [Guzey] am extremely skeptical of anything that relies on adjusting for confounders and have no idea what to think about this. My intuition would be that because […]

Megan Higgs (statistician) and Anna Dreber (economist) on how to judge the success of a replication

The discussion started with this comment from Megan Higgs regarding a recent science replication initiative: I [Higgs] was immediately curious about their criteria for declaring a study replicated. In a quick skim of the info in the google form, here it is: In the survey of beliefs, you will be asked for (a) the probability […]

Our ridiculous health care system, part 734

I went to get a coronavirus test today. We had to get the test for work, and I had no problem with that. What I did have a problem was with that, to get this test, I needed to make an appointment, fill out three forms and take an online “course” (clicking through a set […]

One dose or two? This epidemiologist suggests we should follow Bugs Bunny and go for two.

Joseph Delaney writes: I [Delaney] am starting to see the hot take of “why don’t we experiment with giving only one dose of an mRNA vaccine”. For example, see this. We briefly brought up one such argument a couple weeks ago, but only in the context of a discussion of something else.  I hadn’t looked […]

Flaxman et al. respond to criticisms of their estimates of effects of anti-coronavirus policies

As youall know, as the coronavirus has taken its path through the world, epidemiologists and social scientists have tracked rates of exposure and mortality, studied the statistical properties of the transmission of the virus, and estimated effects of behaviors and policies that have been tried to limit the spread of the disease. All this is […]

“Inferring the effectiveness of government interventions against COVID-19”

John Salvatier points us to this article by Jan Brauner et al. that states: We gathered chronological data on the implementation of NPIs [non-pharmaceutical interventions, i.e. policy or behavioral interventions] for several European, and other, countries between January and the end of May 2020. We estimate the effectiveness of NPIs, ranging from limiting gathering sizes, […]

Literally a textbook problem: if you get a positive COVID test, how likely is it that it’s a false positive?

This post is by Phil Price, not Andrew. This will be obvious to most readers of this blog, who have seen this before and probably thought about it within the past few months, but the blog gets lots of readers and this might be new to some of you. A friend of mine just tested […]

What do Americans think about coronavirus restrictions? Let’s see what the data say . . .

Back in May, I looked at a debate regarding attitudes toward coronavirus restrictions. The whole thing was kind of meta, in the sense that rather than arguing about what sorts of behavioral and social restrictions would be appropriate to control the disease at minimal cost, people were arguing about what were the attitudes held in […]

What about this idea of rapid antigen testing?

So, there’s this idea going around that seems to make sense, but then again if it makes so much sense I wonder why they’re not doing it already. Here’s the background. A blog commenter pointed me to this op-ed from mid-November by Michael Mina, an epidemiologist and immunologist who wrote: Widespread and frequent rapid antigen […]

“A better way to roll out Covid-19 vaccines: Vaccinate everyone in several hot zones”?

Peter Dorman writes: This [by Daniel Teres and Martin Strossberg] is an interesting proposal, no? Since vaccines are being rushed out the door with limited testing, there’s a stronger than usual case for adaptive management: implementing in a way that maximizes learning. I [Dorman] suspect there would also be large economies in distribution if localities […]

Covid crowdsourcing

Macartan Humphries writes: We put together a platform that lets researchers contribute predictive models of cross national (and within country) Covid mortality, focusing on political and social accounts. The plan then is to aggregate using a stacking approach. Go take a look.

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