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Postscripts rock

May 26, 2020

Humans, 

Because sometimes the best stuff is in the postscript. 

Stay emotionally connected and physically distant,

Greg

PS: This article in the New England Journal of Medicine nicely sums up how we are doing… 

With more than 80,000 dead and no end in sight, our national efforts seem feebler and more halting than the 19th-century work of Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War and William Farr in England, where they used systematically collected epidemiologic data and rigorous analysis to save countless lives.

PPS: There are two blogs/newsletters that I consistently read. One is James Clear. He recently published Atomic Habits which is a game-changer. You can sign up for his Thursday emails here. In full disclosure, if three people use that link, I will get signed up for his “super-secret” blog posts. 

The other is Seth Godin. He has written a ton of books and writes a blog post everyday. He has been doing that for 20+ yrs. The one from a few days ago called Smart-adjacent spoke to me. Here is the part that sums up why I do this… 

Instead of the quack doctor who goes on TV in a craven attempt to be famous at any cost, they’re willing to be the patient, thoughtful doctor who reads the research and shares useful information, even if the ratings aren’t as high. This is the long-term influencer who earns the trust of a small circle of people. Mostly, it’s people who care enough to model the behavior they’d like to see from those around them.

Yes, I thought that was written specifically for me in regard to what we are trying to do here. 

PPPS: This story put tears in my eyes and filled me with hope. It’s worth your time if you want to feel hopeful. 

PPPPS: This article brings up a great point. Now that you understand a lot about models, you will appreciate what she is saying. If you want to alter people’s opinions in a sinister way, keep the algorithm a secret. You can get a model to do or say just about anything. 

PPPPPS: This article looks at the amount of death we have had in the last two months and compares it to prior years. There are about 130k more deaths than expected. There are about 100k deaths attributed to COVID. So there are likely 30k undercounted or indirectly related to this virus. 

PPPPPPS: This article is just well written and talks about how you can live your life and decrease risk. They do it from the perspective of how Mass General Brigham (really any healthcare system) is carrying on in this pandemic out of need but have nearly eliminated all work-related transmission. 

PPPPPPPS: Is it just me, or is it a little too weird that a global pandemic that is forcing us to look back and examine who we are as humans is occurring in 2020? We all know what they say about hindsight. 

PPPPPPPPS: I reference TWiV a lot. These virologists have become meaningful people to me. I didn’t recognize all the feelings I was feeling when I listened to their conversations (episodes) until I listened to this podcast about the podcast. Yes, meta. It’s done by a Ph.D. candidate and she describes how these virologists have a calming effect. They have become friends, they make me think it’s going to be ok, they take me back to college when I considered becoming a microbiologist.

PPPPPPPPPS: A quick quip on the serosurvey concepts from yesterday. He explains that serosurvey testing has typically not been used in the past to determine immunity but to determine exposure. 

PPPPPPPPPPS: A KaiNexian had a multi-day ICU stay also got convalescent plasma. Here is a summary of the case study of five patients that we are banking on. Here is the bigger study that is ongoing. Yes, he is young and healthy, and yes he was in the ICU, and no this illness does not care about statistics. It is just a replicating piece of genetic material with no conscience. We are grateful that is he is being discharged today!

PPPPPPPPPPPS: This is an excellent article from the NY Times about how pandemics end.

PPPPPPPPPPPPS: If you haven’t noticed, I listen to my podcasts on Overcast. Lots of great features. I use the one where I link to the exact point on a podcast. There are lots of other great features like making your own smart lists (I have no affiliation with this app).