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Category Archives: Knowledge Management

Why Modeling the Spread of COVID-19 Is So Damn Hard


IEEE – Too many of the COVID-19 models have led policymakers astray. Here’s how tomorrow’s models will get it right – “If you wanted to “flatten the curve” in 2019, you might have been changing students’ grades or stamping down a rug ripple. Today, that phrase refers only to the vital task of reducing the peak number of people concurrently infected with the COVID-19 virus. Beginning in early 2020, graphs depicting the expected number of infections spread through social networks, much like the virus itself. We’ve all become consumers of epidemiological models, the mathematical entities that spit out these ominous trend lines. Such models have existed for decades but have never received such widespread attention. They’re informing public policy, financial planning, health care allocation, doomsday speculation, and Twitter hot takes. In the first quarter of 2020, government leaders were publicly parsing these computational speculations, making huge decisions about whether to shut down schools, businesses, and travel. Would an unchecked outbreak kill millions, or fizzle out? Which interventions would help the most? How sure could we be of any forecast? Models disagreed, and some people pointed to whichever curve best supported their predilections. It didn’t help that the researchers building the models were still figuring out what the heck they were doing…”

It Took COVID Closures to Reveal Just How Much Libraries Do Beyond Lending Books

Observer “Since the early 19th Century, public libraries in the United States and throughout the world have thrown open their doors to people from all backgrounds, offering the gift of reading, supporting education and encouraging a sense of community. Sadly, some of the services offered have been undervalued in recent years—with budget cuts both in… Continue Reading

Internal USPS documents link changes behind mail slowdowns to top executives

Washington Post includes the 16 page presentation – “A senior executive at the U.S. Postal Service delivered a PowerPoint presentation in July that pressed officials across the organization to make the operational changes that led to mail backups across the country, seemingly contradicting months of official statements about the origin of the plans, according to… Continue Reading

Substantial underestimation of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the United States

CDC COVID-19 Science Update released September 22, 2020 – “Key Findings: By April 18, 2020, the estimated cumulative SARS-CoV-2 incidence in the US was ~2%. The number of estimated cumulative SARS-CoV-2 infections was 8.6 times the number of confirmed infections: 6,454,951 vs 751,245. 84% of the difference between estimated cumulative and reported confirmed cases was… Continue Reading

Recession’s Hit to Cities Varies Widely

Center for Retirement Research – Boston College: “The COVID-19 recession is unlike anything this country has seen. If the second-quarter contraction were to continue at the same pace for a full year, the economy would shrink by a third! This is the deepest downturn since the Great Depression, and low-income Americans are feeling the brunt… Continue Reading

Cherokee Nation reservation is now visible on Google Maps

Cherokee Nation – Anadisgoi: The Cherokee Nation’s reservation boundaries are now mapped on Google Maps. “After the monumental US Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v Oklahoma, we’ve had many questions about our reservation boundaries, which always existed on paper maps. Now that our reservation is labeled on Google Maps, it’s easy for people around the… Continue Reading

COVID-19 Data Discovery from Clinical Records

“Welcome to COVID-19 Data Discovery from Clinical Records – your resource for questions and answers about COVID-19, funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. We use electronic health record (EHR) data from 12 leading medical centers to answer simple and complex clinical questions related to COVID-19. Because we consult multiple centers, we have a… Continue Reading

Navigate safely with new COVID data in Google Maps

Google Blog: “More than one billion people turn to Google Maps for essential information about how to get from place to place–especially during the pandemic when safety concerns are top of mind. Features like popular times and live busyness, COVID-19 alerts in transit, and COVID checkpoints in driving navigation were all designed to help you… Continue Reading