COVID-19 makes us reconsider so many of our normal activities. Sure, driving is the safest from the perspective of COVID-19 exposure. Planes, perhaps not as safe, as corporations and your wallet determine the seating relative to other travelers. But what about trains? Let's take a look.
There is a distinction between healthy concern for the coronavirus and deeply unhealthy obsession and paranoia. Guess which side Esquire magazine picked?
Thinking Aloud is an irregularly-scheduled column that considers how we think about a particular issue. First up: Given all the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, how do you decide how you should behave?
Much remains biologically uncertain about COVID-19, especially when it comes to its infectiousness. For example, how many particles must be taken to allow the virus to begin to replicate within oneself? On the other hand, the virus particle itself is subject to well-established laws of physics. So, when it comes to masks and social distancing, how can physics inform our understanding? Let's take a look.
It's summer and COVID-19 is not only not going away, but it's getting worse by the day, largely because of idiotic public health policies. One of the worst was letting people pack themselves into indoor bars. This has worked out exactly how you'd expect it to. Plus a special visit from The Real Morons of New Jersey.
We're social animals, and we want to socialize. We're also lazy, and we want to do whatever is easiest or most convenient. Those two facts about human nature, far more than the coronavirus, will shape our future.
Somewhere along the way, our achievable goal of "flattening the curve" for COVID-19 has mutated into "finding a cure," which is perhaps an impossible one. Public health and economic policy must be based on reality, not starry-eyed wish-making. Otherwise, people's lives and livelihoods are in grave danger.
When it comes to unwinding the lockdown, we are faced with the urge to be social once again. And since we are also faced with huge uncertainty, what does "an abundance of caution" actually mean?
It's quite likely that the human toll from COVID-19 will not be as bad as the prediction models forecasted. That's because models contain simplifying assumptions that rarely hold true in the real world; our human response is probably the least predictable of all. And yet, while all models are useful, all models are also wrong.
Twitter captures geolocation data in about 3% of tweets. Two researchers from Johns Hopkins released a report on the changes in our social mobility. How much we are traveling, based on that dataset?
There has never been a shortage of idiots on the planet, but sometimes it takes an earth-shattering event to help them reach their full potential. A little humor for dark times.
As we get used to sheltering in place, speculation turns to an exit strategy. Especially impatient are those most concerned with the economy. If you follow COVID-19 coverage, there are any number of possible approaches going forward.