From Judea Pearl’s blog: report of a webinar: “Artificial Intelligence and COVID-19: A wake-up call” #epitwitter @TheBJPS

Check the entry on Pearl’s blog which includes a write-up provided by the organisers

Video of the event is available too

Benjamin Smart in the Independent: ‘Parents shouldn’t fear COVID-19’ @bthsmart

This is from last week but I don’t recall sharing it. A concise account of why people should not worry about school reopening. It is written for SA but applies also to the U.K. where timing is similar, as are the fears, including among people who consider themselves educated.

SA government being taken to court over lockdown

Steenhuisen (leader of the Opposition): “The state of disaster we are currently under, governed by the Disaster Management Act, has zero provision for parliamentary oversight. Which means this secretive NCC answers to no-one. Not even a state of emergency, which is a further step up from a state of disaster, has such sweeping powers with no parliamentary oversight.”

Tracing apps are untested medical interventions , says The Economist

The Economist argues that hopes should not be pinned in tracing apps which might not work. Medicine is littered with medical interventions that failed, sometimes harmfully. What is different?

One difference is that this is not a biomedical intervention. However, public health is also littered with ineffective or harmful interventions with dangerous consequences (perhaps the effects of lockdown on mass migration being a case in point). It is interesting that governments should consider giving this potential solution a free pass, so to speak, without testing or an evidence base – perhaps because it hs a technological flavor?

Great panel on what went wrong with SA’s lockdown, and whether it was right in the first place – I was privileged to be a part @mediauj @zahidjadwat

While it’s not my go-to source of health news, the Daily Mail is reporting that 322 Brits under 45 have died of COVID-19 #epitwitter – ALEX BRUMMER: ‘Just 332 under-45s have died in UK from Corona. It’s madness to keep them from work while our economy burns’

Here is the graph they present:

ONS figures released this week show that as of April 24, only 322 people under the age of 45 had died from coronavirus in the UK

Read more…


Lockdown will lead to 29 times more lives lost than the harm it seeks to prevent from Covid-19 in SA, say SA actuaries in @FinancialMail – and that’s a conservative estimate

‘EXCLUSIVE: Lockdown disaster dwarfs Covid-19, say SA actuaries’

It’s becoming hard to keep up with this stuff – there seem to be more and more voices suggesting that the costs of lockdown may exceed the costs of COVID-19, by some measure.

A lot depends what we compare lockdown to, and one bugbear of mine is the tendency to dichotomise the question: lockdown or bust. But the real comparison is between lockdown and some other measures, short of lockdown, but nonetheless somewhat effective. The cost/benefit ratio of these intermediate measures may be more favourable then lockdown for Low/Middle Income Countries, even if they are not in High Income Countries.