Presenting at my first virtual conference today and ....

Pro: not needing to travel just for a 20 minute talk
Con: having to sit through a recording of myself giving the talk before a live Q&A
Why is my voice so cartoonishly high pitched?! What am I doing with my hands while I talk?! 😬😬😬😬😬
They are like always right there doing something 😅😅😅
I should probably be live tweeting my talk. The ability to live tweet one’s own talk is probably a “pro” for virtual conferences. But instead you’re stuck with me live tweeting my emotional reactions to my talk 😂
Luckily for you all, @rheum_cat is doing a fantastic job of live tweeting my talk. Check it out here if you’re interested👇🏼

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More from @EpiEllie

14 Nov
As we approach Thanksgiving, it’s important to monitor local COVID levels.

There’s no single right answer to how to celebrate this year. Instead, try to think of ways to make your plans a little safer.

Thanks to @KerraWashington for making these great images👇🏼
A safer #COVIDHoliday might mean getting creative. Use this year’s flexibility to get rid of the annoying family traditions you’ve always hated and come up with some fun low-key ways to stay connected.

Warm enough to be outside? How about Thanksgiving BBQ?
Thinking about traveling? Consider how busy your local airport or bus / train station will be. Crowds are the riskiest part of travel!
Read 5 tweets
10 Nov
Armchair sociologist alert: I’m about to pontificate on something I have no particular expertise in, except for my own first-hand anecdotal experience.

But I’m hoping this will generate discussion by people who do have expertise.

Let’s talk about masks and masculinity! 🧵
I didn’t always, but since mid to late Spring I’ve advocated for community face mask use to prevent the spread of COVID.

The chief thing that changed my mind was the clear establishment of substantial pre- and pauci-symptomatic transmission.
These days, I post a fair amount #onhere about wearing face masks, and talk about it on tv and radio news, and with print / online journalists.

As a result, I often get contacted by people who don’t like the idea of face masks.
Read 12 tweets
10 Nov
Today’s Pfizer trial announcement is exciting, but it’s still just a press release.

As a trial methodologist I want more details, but I am cautiously optimistic. This is a step in the right direction even if it isn’t the end of the marathon.
One question in particular I would like answered: the press release says the denominator is trial participants who received two doses.

Does this mean that the >90% number is an attempt to estimate a per-protocol effect? If so, how have they done it?
Using the more common naive per-protocol analysis approach will likely result in a poor estimate of effectiveness. And the resulting wrong estimate could be an over-estimate or an under-estimate.
Read 7 tweets
1 Nov
A new study suggests Trump’s campaign rallies had a huge impact on COVID spread.

I think uses a pretty reasonable method but the validity of the conclusions depends on how well you think they matched the counties.

politico.com/news/2020/10/3…

Paper link: sebotero.github.io/papers/COVIDra…
I don’t often tweet about really technical stuff anymore but I want to geek out a little bit here & dive into unpacking the specific causal question this paper is asking. Indulge me, if you will.
The authors use the synthetic control method & say they are estimating the average treatment effect of Trump rallies on COVID cases & deaths at the county level.

This is a nice example of economists using a method they are the experts in to answer an important COVID question.
Read 15 tweets
25 Oct
Relatedly, my Outbreak Response class & I have spent much of the past 6 weeks discussing what the “acceptable” piece of “control circulation below acceptable levels” means and who gets to decide.
A large chunk of COVID disinformation appears to be aimed at convincing certain groups that the current circulation level is ‘acceptable’ in two ways: (1) falsely claiming COVID levels are lower than they are; & (2) othering & devaluing the lives of groups most affected by COVID.
What you wont see very often is these infodemic peddlers explicitly stating they don’t care people are dying because, as with other attempts to stoke bigotry, hatred, and fear, they know if they come out and say it you’ll realize how racist and ableist and ageist they are.
Read 4 tweets
12 Oct
Roughly 1 in every 2000 people in America has died of COVID, about 1 in 50 people have had a positive COVID test, and even more people may have been infected but never tested.

Those are huge numbers but nowhere near herd immunity threshold estimates, even the really low ones.
Even at the widely optimistic, 20% threshold we would need TEN times as many infections than we’ve currently counted: 20% is 1 in 5 people sick with COVID.

How many deaths would that mean? Ten times as many? 100 times as many? Deaths increase when the system is overwhelmed.
In the US, as in many Western countries, people tend to hide their grief behind closed doors. In the last 9 months, over 219000 people have died from COVID. How many grieving friends, family members, and loved ones have they left behind?
Read 5 tweets

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