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511, 0, and 3.1 million

June 11, 2020



I want to point out three numbers that struck me over the last few days…

  • 511: The number of epidemiologists surveyed in this New York Times article that gives a sense of what epidemiologists consider high-risk vs low-risk activities (and the distribution of their risk tolerance).

    The high-risk activities that the majority won’t be participating in any time soon include: attending weddings and funerals, hugging or shaking hands when greeting friends, going out with someone you don’t know well, attending a religious service, not routinely wearing a face covering, and attending sporting events, concerts, or plays.

    Again, this is not a randomized control study - but it is a well-informed piece of data that, as you’re thinking through your specific risk tolerance, individual circumstances, and the amount of benefit from the activity, could help you decide how you’re going to approach the Dance.

  • 0 - The number of new COVID cases New Zealand has had in the past 17 days.

    If you’re talking about a gold standard on how to handle a global pandemic, New Zealand needs to be in the same sentence. I understand they’re an island nation and have a smaller, homogeneous population, but zero new cases is still an amazing milestone. Congratulations to our Kiwi brothers and sisters.

  • 3.1 Million - The number of deaths averted through May 4 from lockdown measures in 11 countries, as calculated in the model referenced in this Nature article.

    I know I’ve talked about how all models are wrong but some are useful. Having said that, I think the idea is clear - our measures have significantly affected the spread of this virus (the R0).

    If you don’t want to read the full Nature article, here’s a simplified article in New Science discussing it.

Well, there you have it. 

Stay emotionally distanced and physically connected,


P.S. A KaiNexians father-in-law salutation during this time is “Stay positive, test negative.” That really struck a chord with me.

PPS: Unfortunately, cases in Austin are on the rise. I love the line from the video that essentially says the life you save may not be your life that you save but someone else’s. The numbers of the last few days are scary.