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August 14, 2020

 

Welcome back, <<First Name>> 🎉

THE STORIES 

🦠 Predicting the pandemic’s spread

😷 Inequality and Pandemics
 
PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS


🦠 Predicting the pandemic’s spread

 

WHAT

  • Governors and public policy experts look to a number of indicators to manage their COVID-19 response. 

  • Oftentimes, however, they’re looking at lagging indicators. This means that states are reacting to the pandemic, rather than preempting it.

  • What if state officials could predict outbreaks before they happen? Mauricio Santillana of Harvard may have an answer: an algorithm that predicts outbreaks at least two weeks before case count goes up.

  • Their model is based on geo-tagged tweets, google searches, and anonymous mobility data. The data is all real-time and the predictive value of these trends is based on COVID-19 case count.

WHO

  • Mauricio Santillana is the Director of the Machine Intelligence Lab at Harvard and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School.

WHY SHOULD I CARE

  • Using real-time data to predict disease progression isn’t new. The Google Flu Trends algorithm tried this back in ‘08, but failed miserably. It’s too early to know how predictive this model is, and uptake from the CDC isn’t expected until it’s verified.

  • On the other hand, this study shows the potential of alternative, next-gen data. 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day, with more to come with the rise of IoT. 

TL;DR 

  • A team of international researchers has built a model to forecast upticks in COVID cases at least two weeks in advance.
 

READ MORE HERE


POLITICAL SCIENCE


😷 Inequality and Pandemics

 

WHAT

  • Recent research has sought to understand the effects of democracy and other societal factors in responding to epidemics

  • The study found that, all else being equal, “in democracies, greater transparency, accountability, and public trust reduce the frequency and lethality of epidemics, shorten response time, and enhance people’s compliance with public health measures”

  • However, the single most important factor that determines the frequency and scale of epidemics is economic inequality.

  • Economic inequality is the critical factor because low income individuals typically do not have jobs that can be done from home. Therefore, they can not always comply with social distancing measures, undermining the effort to stop the spread.

WHO

  • Mauro Guillen is a sociologist and professor of International Management at the Wharton School.

WHY SHOULD I CARE

  • Even if you personally are well-off financially, having significant amounts of economic inequality in your country will make epidemics worse for everyone because it will be more difficult to contain and eliminate the spread of disease.

TL;DR 

  • Research has found that the amount of economic inequality in a country determines its success in fighting epidemics. The type of government, democracy or authoritarian, matters less than the level of economic inequality.

READ MORE HERE
 
PROFESSOR'S CORNER

We'll give you a break from brainteasers today. Instead we have an interesting documentary for you. It's called In the Age of AI.

The documentary covers a lot of ground, from a comparison of the Chinese and American AI scenes to interviews with union leaders and workers whose jobs may soon be automated.


It's definitely worth a watch. Check out the film here.

 

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