COVID-19 notes – May 2021 edition

A few notes –

(1) Zeynep Tufecki had a great Twitter thread a few weeks back that looked at data from the UK on vaccinations and deaths.

It is a great thread because some of the respondents share more interesting pieces of data that speak to how the UK are edging closer to herd immunity.

(2) Noah Smith had an excellent post pulling together the data on why lockdowns worked.

His conclusion was on point – “But there’s a lesson here for us to learn, should we choose to do so. The reflexive framing of policy as a choice between human lives and dollars of GDP is often a false one; in the end, the economy is made up of human beings, and valuing those human beings is pretty much the best thing you can do for your economy.”

In the early days of the pandemic, I shared a collection of notes (mostly bearish) on the Swedish experiment. That experiment failed. They lost more people to COVID-19 and did worse economically than their Nordic peers.

(3) In the past weeks, we learnt of a few folks we knew in India who developed COVID-19 even after vaccination.

Then again, this isn’t or shouldn’t be shocking. The AstraZeneca vaccine’s efficacy is between 80-90%. So, 1 out of every 10 people would be expected to experience symptoms.

But, probability isn’t easy to grok. I wonder if communicating risks in terms of x out of every 10 or 20 people would be easier to understand than 80% or 95%.

(4) Related, Zeynep Tufecki had another good post that covered why rare stories of vaccinated folks developing COVID-19 symptoms is evidence of the fact that vaccines were a home run.

(5) The US vaccine roll out has begun slowing. This is a problem – a big one if left unaddressed. Noah Smith had notes on this.

(6) Finally, I’m grateful for the vaccine and for not wearing a mask outdoors. We’re not done with the pandemic and masks just yet. Especially if we’re traveling to places that are not over the hump.

But, Noah Smith had a thoughtful philosophical post on masks after the pandemic that was thought provoking.

Not to be outdone, Zeynep had another masterful post about getting real about how the pandemic will end.

This post turned out to be a love letter to Zeynef Tufecki and Noah Smith.

For good reason. I’m a fan.

Thank you for all the thoughtful analysis, both!