On: COVID-19 & Complex Time in Biology & Economics
Transmission Series Ep. 2
Date: April 14, 2020
Review of 5 Transmission Essays
- 005: Andrew Dobson on the Need for Disease Models which Capture Key Complexities of Transmission
- 006: Miguel Fuentes on Using Social Media Data to Detect Signatures of Global Crises
- 007 Danielle Allen, E. Glen Weyl, and Rajiv Sethi on How to Reduce COVID-19 Mortality While Easing Economic Decline
- 008: Michael Hochberg on the Importance of Timing in Restrictive Confinement
- 009: Melanie Mitchell on How the Analogies We Live by Shape our Thoughts
- Not all infectious diseases are worse in dense areas.
- Diseases with a short-lived infectious stage:
- Linear transmission.
- Each individual infects a fixed proportion of other individuals.
- Transmission is density-dependent.
- Initial acceleration, eventual slow down.
- Linear transmission.
- Diseases with a longer-lived infectious stage:
- Malaria, STDs.
- Saturating transmission function.
- For instance, mosquitos need to digest between blood meals.
- Rate of transmission slows down in dense areas.
- Differences in physiology.
- Different bio-mechanics = different immune systems.
- In case of COVID-19, bats are better at controlling certain viruses:
- Flying = hollow bones = less bone marrow = less B cells = less inflammation from overly active B-cells (such as in COVID-19 pathology).
- Flight = high body temperatures = similar to fever = constrains viruses.
- Flight = no body fat = torpor during limited food = natural isolation = constrains viruses.
- Epidemic cycles.
- Low inter-species transmission: species exhibit their own epidemic cycles as they interact with pathogens.
- Higher inter-species transmission: species with faster epidemic cycles (shorter life spans, faster reproduction cycles) may drive out species with slower epidemic cycles.
- Complex time.
- How temporal phenomena play out across the scales of the complexity of the earth.
- Evolution: coupling and synchronizing of organic clocks (species).
- If coupling changes, synchronization changes.
Michael Hochberg: The Importance of Timing in Restrictive Confinement.
- The intuitions of a simple model.
- In this case: the power of exponential growth, exponential thinking.
- R0 = basic reproductive number.
- About 2.5.
- Doubling every 3 days.
- R needs to be reduced early to prevent an epidemic.
- The size of the infectious population when measures are engaged is important in determining the degree of confinement.
Miguel Fuentes: Using Social Media Data to Detect Signatures of Global Crises
- Technology allows for mimetic transmission to be in advance of behavioral and biological transmission.
- Can be spotted from social media patterns prior to an external event.
- Sometimes, a memetic monoculture emerges:
- Cliquish ideas dominate.
- News that should reach us does not.
- Micro (individual) and macro (population) merge.
Danielle Allen, E. Glen Weyl, and Rajiv Sethi: How to Reduce COVID-19 Mortality While Easing Economic Decline
- Be equally as sophisticated in the treatment of the socioeconomic networks as we are coming to be in the treatment of the social epidemiological networks.
- We need a multiple timescale approach to this crisis that makes most effective use of confinement testing and mobilization.
- While in confinement: maximize virological and serological testing.
- Move the esistant or immune subset of the population back into the economy.
- Don’t wait for pandemic to subside.
- Need for better testing technologies, certification.
- Need for optimizing the allocation of testing (biases, revisions).
- Need for reallocation of human resources across labor sectors (voluntarily).
Melanie Mitchell: How the Analogies We Live by Shape our Thoughts.
- Novelty of corona versus the known flu: higher uncertainty, more confusion.
- Corona more virulent -> faster rate of penetration -> more concentrated systemic impact
- 2 billion burgers at McD a year = no problem.
- One order of 5 million at the drive-thru = big problem.
- Awareness of something with immense power that we’re not aware of until it’s too late.
- Positive: need to cooperate, sacrifices.
- Negative: reduction in civil liberties, cooperation becomes control.
- Analogies inform our behavior.
- Allows us to arrive at insights without doing a considerable amount of formal work.
- See also “The Master and His Emissary” on the role of metaphors.