The debate around tracking infection/vaccine status for events is reminiscent of last year’s debate around privacy & contact tracing apps. Ultimately, the better countries' ability to track where infection is/isn’t, the lower their COVID risk will be. 1/
If people don’t want to collect/use data in this way, they need to accept the trade off will be a higher COVID risk in the community (or more disruptive measures to prevent that risk). 2/
Many countries have implicitly chosen to introduce stay-at-home orders or live with higher numbers of cases rather than use detailed surveillance (e.g. to identify infections linked to superspreading events or enforce quarantine). 3/
You might agree with that trade off, you might not, but it’s a choice that will need to be made and it’s not helpful to pretend otherwise. 4/4

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More from @AdamJKucharski

24 Mar
This is an interesting perspective on Taiwan (& glad it mentions data/privacy), although I'd like to see more references to what local officials were actually saying about approach in real-time, rather than what UK-based researchers later say it was:… 1/
E.g. from April 2020: "Covid-19 is becoming flu-like. It means that since it is highly contagious with many mild or asymptomatic cases, and can be transmitted through droplets and contaminated areas, we won’t get rid of this virus totally."… 2/
Taiwan has implemented several innovative, effective measures against COVID-19, but it will harm our ability to plan for the next pandemic if we don't look fully at how countries were interpreting - and acting on - available evidence in real-time. 3/
Read 4 tweets
16 Mar
Is “we couldn’t have predicted the emergence of B117” a scientifically accurate statement? 1/
I’d argue it depends whether statement is interpreted in general or specific terms. “We couldn’t have predicted the possibility of a phenotypically distinct SARS-CoV-2 variant” is clearly inaccurate (given some adapation would have been involved in its original emergence)... 2/
...but “we couldn’t have predicted a variant emerging when it did in autumn 2020 with B117’s specific characteristics” is entirely reasonable (especially as our knowledge of its characteristics is still developing). 3/
Read 4 tweets
11 Mar
Slogans aside, there are three broad approaches to COVID countries can take from now on:
A. An R<<1 approach
B. An R<1 approach
C. An R>1 approach

Let's break them down... 1/
A. An R<<1 approach means keeping R as low as possible with stringent measures until no local transmission. E.g. this is what Auckland and Melbourne did recently in response to a handful of new cases. 2/
B. An R<1 approach means keeping epidemic declining, although transmission may still continue for a long time as measures are relaxed. As coverage increases, vaccination could also 'buy' some additional reduction in R & allow more reopening under such an approach. 3/
Read 5 tweets
1 Mar
What could happen next with novel variants like P.1 in the UK? There are four possible scenarios. A short thread with some thoughts... 1/
Scenario A: R<1 for both dominant B.1.1.7 variant and other variants of concern like P.1. This is likely situation we're currently in, but staying there is conditional on slow relaxation of control & substantial reduction in infectiousness via vaccines. 2/
However, even if R<1 for a novel variant, there could still be a lot of cases to come before outbreak ends, depending on value of R: 3/
Read 9 tweets
14 Feb
I sometimes see people making the mistaken assumption that once a group that make up X% of COVID hospitalisations/deaths are vaccinated, it will reduce hospitalisations/deaths by the same %, even if control measures are lifted. There are two main problems with this... 1/
First, there is a trade off between level of infection in the population and risk reduction through vaccination. Disease outcomes (e.g. hospitalisations/deaths) can broken down into the following: new infections x average-risk-per-infection... 2/
If we remove 50% of the hospitalisation risk within a population through vaccination, for example, but have a large increase in level of infection, it could mean no reduction (or even an increase) in overall hospitalisations... 3/
Read 5 tweets
11 Feb
If you want to come up with a prior* for the possible long-term dynamics of SARS-CoV-2, there are two recent papers that I think are useful...

(*Prior:…) 1/
First, this pre-print by @eguia_rachel & @jbloom_lab showing that the seasonal coronavirus 229E can undergo 'antigenic drift' to partially escape immunity over time.… 2/
As with influenza, they find a 'ladder-like' phylogenetic tree, suggesting that new variants emerge, become dominant, then are gradually replaced by subsequent new variants. (Influenza A/H3N2 below right from:…) 3/
Read 7 tweets

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