Here is the current, baroque, racial classification system used by the University of California.…
The arbitrariness of these categories -- including the assignment of people from Djibouti, Sudan, and Somalia to the 'white' category -- should make all involved feel shamed that we have come to this.
And the university imposes a racial hierarchy too! Students can (rightly) indicate that they belong to more than one category, but then: "A student’s primary race/ethnicity is determined by the left-most column in the table above of all the categories selected."
And the arbitrariness is further reinforced by the fact that "It is possible that a student may update their racial/ethnic identification in campus systems" at will.

We can do better as a society than to reify these boundaries.
We can, and must, address and undo the appalling history of ethnic and racial injustice in better ways than this.

For one, we can recognize and privilege #ourcommonhumanity.

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More from @NAChristakis

15 Oct
A key to controlling the spread of SARS-CoV-2 is decreasing social mixing, eg, by bans on gatherings. But what about elections? Let’s talk about whether the 2020 primaries changed the course of the COVID19 pandemic and what this might mean for general election on November 3. 1/
Many people are asking if in-person voting is sensible in the middle of a pandemic. COVID19, like any serious outbreak of a contagious disease, can place the virtues of public health and civic engagement into direct conflict. 2/
But we find that the voting that took place in the primaries in the Spring of 2020 had no discernible impact on the course of the COVID19 epidemic in the USA, *at the county level*, as we describe in this essay at… 3/
Read 25 tweets
12 Oct
Extremely sobering new analysis via my colleagues @lhsummers & @Cutler_econ in @JAMA_current concludes that SARS-CoV-2 is a "$16 Trillion Virus" 1/
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is huge:
1) $200,000 per family; or
2) 90% of a year’s GDP; or
3) 4 times the output loss of the Great Recession; or
4) 2 times the cost of all wars since 9/11; or
5) roughly the cost of climate change in the next 50 years. 2/
About half the 16 trillion dollar [sic] economic impact of COVID is lost GDP, and the other half is the various health consequences. 3/
Read 4 tweets
11 Oct
Let’s talk about the “Swiss cheese model” of combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a classic conceptualization of how to cope with hazards, and it powerfully illustrates several features of what we are facing in the pandemic. #SwissCheeseModel (Image h/t @MackayIM) 1/
What is required to stop the spread of a pathogen like SARS-CoV-2 is achieving some kind of (minimum) threshold level of response sufficient to achieve a deflection in the trajectory of the epidemic, to bring it under control. 2/
A combination of “contact reduction” interventions (eg, school closures, gathering bans) and “transmission reduction” interventions (eg, handwashing, masking) is required. These are “non-pharmaceutical interventions” (NPI), in contrast to things like medicines and vaccines. 3/
Read 14 tweets
2 Oct
POTUS is now reported to have COVID symptoms, which, combined with his other baseline risk factors, is concerning.… Most likely, he will recover, but the medical path is not assured and the political implications are substantial.
POTUS is confirmed to have fever and cough, consistent with *lower* respiratory infection. If hospitalized, this will indicate even greater severity. The coming week will be very indicative of likely path he will take through this serious viral illness.
If he is hospitalized in the coming days (and not simply and truly out of an abundance of caution), POTUS will be facing a roughly 1 in 6 chance of death from COVID19.

If he is intubated, the risk will be higher still.

People to whom he spread the disease may also get sick. 3/
Read 57 tweets
2 Oct
This video, from old work of ours, shows how a respiratory virus spreads across social ties, inexorably, and it illustrates the sort of time course we can expect to occur in a social group like the (mask-less) staff around POTUS. We will hear soon of more cases. 1/
One of the reasons politicians and celebrities contract diseases early in an epidemic, as discussed in #APOLLOSARROW, is precisely that they are often central in social networks, and have many interactions. It's not just that we hear about such people because of their fame. 2/
During past pandemics, including the 1890 and 1918 pandemics, many world leaders contracted infections, as discussed in #APOLLOSARROW (…). We are seeing this again in 2020, with Johnson, Bolsonaro, and Trump. 3/
Read 6 tweets
21 Sep
Inventing a #COVID19 vaccine is just a first step. For it to make a material difference in the pandemic, we must also manufacture and distribute it, and people must take it (with confidence that it's safe). Let’s talk about the often-overlooked, unsexy problem of DISTRIBUTION. 1/
There are many efforts afoot using diverse biological approaches to develop a vaccine. I think it is likely one will be invented – though how safe and effective it will be, and when it will appear, are still far from certain. 2/
As discussed in #APOLLOSARROW, out on October 27…, the many steps necessary before widespread vaccination takes place may mean it does not arrive before we reach herd immunity anyway, in 2022 or so. So a vaccine may not materially shorten the pandemic. 3/
Read 32 tweets

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