.@CDCgov out with metrics to guide school reopenings.

I like it. It sets out risk levels based on key metrics using a color scheme

But if you apply their metrics, the news isn't good.

Most of the country is in red or orange


Three key criteria:

1. # of cases in community
2. % of test positives
3. # of mitigation strategies you can do

Cases in the community: range from <5 per 100K/14 days as dark green to >200 as red

% pos <3% dark green to >10% red

So how do communities across America fare?

We applied these two criteria to states+DC

What did we find?

20 states in red "highest risk"
28 states in orange "higher risk"
2 in yellow "moderate risk"
1 light green "low risk"
0 dark green "lowest risk"

Ah you say -- states too big. How about counties?

So what about counties?

56% counties are highest (red)
31% are higher (orange)

But counties vary in population -- so about where people live?

Well, 40% of people live in counties that are red (highest risk)

48% of people live in counties that are orange (higher risk)

Only 11% live in the yellow counties (moderate risk)

1% live in light green (lower risk)

Theses are super sobering numbers

What does this mean?

First, it is awesome to see CDC put out this risk criteria.

Its a bit agressive in its threshold (I might have made orange a bit higher) but its still quite good.

It is not mean to be prescriptive -- saying red counties can't open.

But it does mean it'll be very hard to re-open schools in many places across the nation.

My take is that counties that are orange -- but close to yellow -- can open if they have the mitigation strategies

But red counties will struggle no matter what they do


Its a reminder that we had all spring and summer to get our schools ready.

And we largely didn't.

And new CDC criteria laying out how much of America has not done the job to ope schools safely

And by that failure, we are letting our kids down.


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More from @ashishkjha

9 Sep
I don't buy Sturgis study below.

Why? Really big effect. Makes me skeptical

One rule of thumb I teach is:

if effect size of a social phenomenon using noisy data is very large -- be wary

So was Sturgis harmless?


But I doubt it caused 250,000 cases.

First, there are a bunch of methodologic issues and two different threads do nice job sorting them out

One by @AssumeNormality

Second by @RexDouglass

But there's another reason beyond these to be skeptical

It doesn't pass the sniff test

Yes it was a crazy large rally

Yes there was a ton of irresponsible behavior (no mask, no distancing, lots of bars in evening)

I would not be surprised if it set of big outbreaks -- hundreds of cases, may be thousands

But 250K??

Read 9 tweets
5 Sep
We just had a big election in 4th Congressional District of Massachusetts (where I live)

To replace @joekennedy

There were several superb candidates.

And huge congratulations goes to @JakeAuch for winning the nomination.

Short thread
I don't generally tweet politics but a few reflections

First -- it took more then 50 hours after polls closed to call the election!

It was a bit of a mess.

Makes me worried about November 3.

Second, the race was super close with @jessemermell finishing second

2 of 3
I met @jessemermell just before the pandemic. She's awesome

Super smart, insightful, amazing intellectual breadth. Can't wait to see what she does next. Whatever it is -- will be great. She really is extraordinary

A few words about Jake

Read 4 tweets
5 Sep
Almost every day, I am asked about the Russian vaccine.

Lots of questions of whether we should "take it" or not.

My answer has been -- no idea -- haven't seen the data.

Now we have data!

So let's look at the data -- what does it tell us?

New study out in today's @TheLancet with real data.

So that's exciting

Key findings:

First, these are adenovirus vector vaccines. Like the Oxford Astrazeneca, CanSino and others

Nothing new or particularly innovative here

Link to study:


Two vectors, 76 patients

Relatively young, healthy patients in 2 hospitals

And bottom line is largely positive:

Recipients generated humoral (antibodies) and cellular (T cells) immune response

Lots of side-effects (fevers, pain) but nothing serious.


Read 6 tweets
4 Sep
As we head into fall, worth reflecting on the past 3 months, and what it portends for next few

While things are clearly better since summer peak, serious warning signs ahead

The biggest one?

We go into Labor day with much more infection than we did Memorial Day

So a walk down memory lane

We opened up Memorial Day with 20,000 daily cases, 5.4% test positivity rate

We peaked around July 22, we had about 75,000 daily cases, nearly 9% positivity rate

As we enter Labor Day, we are at about 40,000 new cases, 6.3% positivity rate

Compared to the peak, we are clearly better

But few things should worry us

1. We're going into fall with a lot more disease than we entered summer

2. Our test positivity rate higher now than June 1: means we are missing more cases

3. Our testing is DOWN over past month
Read 8 tweets
31 Aug
Today is my last day @Harvard

I showed up here 16 years ago, a brand new assist. professor

Overwhelmed -- felt that I didn't belong. I would never make it here

Every paper rejection, every grant that didn't get scored to me confirmed it.

But along the way...

Along the way, I met incredibly kind and generous people.

Mentors, friends, sponsors.

Too numerous to all mention individually.

Then, it started feeling better.

I realized that no one really belonged -- everyone was winging it.
Awesome to have had great mentees like @j_r_a_m @joefigs2 @Thomasctsai, @LauraBurke20 others

I owe particularly debt to Alan Garber, @DrewFaust28, @julio_frenk

And over the past 5 years, its been an honor to help lead @HarvardGH with the likes of @Stefanie2000
Read 6 tweets
24 Aug
I am back after 5 days off of twitter, email, media

Here's my quick summary of what happened with COVID

1. UNC, few other universities decided to ignore sound public health advice and just "go for it". It didn't work out all that well. So they blamed the students

Summary of last 5 days contd:

2. Infections continued to fall across many parts of US (good!) but so did testing so hard to sort out how much. Falling hospitalizations also assuring

3. Deaths remained high. But lagging indicator -- and will come down in upcoming days/week


4. Schools continued to open where they shouldn't (eg Mississippi) and often immediately shut down because of predictable outbreaks

5. Schools in places where safe to open (NYC) struggled because folks (understandably) are worried when they see GA, MS headlines

Read 5 tweets

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