If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist, right?

Your Local Epidemiologist critiques a graph of daily covid case projections:

I do disagree with this graph hitting 1 million cases. We don’t have the testing capacity to record this many cases. We will run out of tests, reagents, and plastic. Lab capacity is finite. We would hit a plateau in case reporting, while the “true” cases may continue to increase.

A cornerstone of BC’s approach to keeping the numbers down for the last year seems to be limited testing for covid (along with straight up data withholding). Looks like the rest of you will be joining us shortly, whether you want to or not!

We don’t just need better ventilation because of covid

Because while we are investing heavily in vaccination, the sense that the pandemic is going to “end” at some point in the not-to-distant future is leading to an underinvestment in other structural solutions we are going to need – a revolution in filtration and ventilation so that buildings do not readily spread disease and free, readily-available rapid testing to make gatherings safer.

The sense seems to be that endemic Covid will look something like the flu, but we know that Covid is currently much more deadly than flu, so is there any good reason to believe this to be the case?

And further, what people do not realize is that the flu is actually much more deadly than the estimates of flu deaths suggest.

[from Jeremy Chrystler]

Asymptomatic covid is widespread and dangerous

When people get covid but don’t have symptoms, they

  • spread the virus,
  • don’t develop much immunity to future infection,
  • and can get long covid.

Most countries have done very limited asymptomatic testing and most research is obviously on symptomatic people, so it’s hard to know how many people this group includes.

This meta-analysis summarizes what we do know and it’s not great.

The pooled percentage of asymptomatic infections was 0.25% among the tested population and 40.50% among the confirmed population. The high percentage of asymptomatic infections highlights the potential transmission risk of asymptomatic infections in communities.

0.25% is high, but remember that testing isn’t random – travellers, pregnant women, healthcare workers feature heavily in the sample.



Treat the symptoms or treat the disease?

Federal candidates must pressure provinces for fertility treatment funding, B.C. advocates say
— Read on www.cbc.ca/lite/story/1.6156760

Coverage for IVF in most parts of Canada is poor and many people are arguing we should fix that. I’m not totally opposed to better funded IVF, but 1) there are WAY higher priorities in our healthcare system and 2) almost all of the people who need IVF need it because they’re trying to have kids in their 30s or 40s.

It would be much much better if we just supported people having kids at younger ages with things like better childcare, better subsides, and real strict rules against anti-parent (especially anti mother) discrimination in workplaces.

It would also be helpful if we dealt with the endocrine disrupters we’ve dumped in our environment.

Major in something useful!

You go to college and go into a ton of debt so you can have a chance at a good job and then when you don’t get a good job are mocked for your poor choice of majors.

The thing is, by the time there’s a formal way for you to learn a field in university, it’s gotten so competitive that you’re probably not going to get a good job.

On top of the gut feel that I have from working in the industry and talking to 100+ people who also do, these two tweets finally convinced me that there is a true data science supply bubble. First, this intro class tweet:

and UVA starting up a data science school.

Since academia is typically a lagging indicator in adoption to new trends in the work place, it’s been long enough that it’s truly worrying for junior data scientists, all of who are hoping to find data science positions. It can be very hard for someone with a new degree in data science to find a data science position, given how many new people they’re competing with in the market.

And you’re probably not going to be able to identify in advance what the next big set of jobs is going to be. And even if you do and even if you manage to make a career of it, that career won’t last your life – you’re going to have to constantly retrain.

Right now this often means going back to school, in some form or another, over and over, racking up more and more debt. It’s exhausting and depressing.