Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Support For My Covid Narrative

Tonight RealClearPolitics links to a twitter thread that addresses this question:

What does contact tracing/community testing data tell us about actual probability of #COVID19 transmission(infection rate), high risk environments/age?

What the Data Tells Us About Covid Transmission Dynamics

Overall, the findings seem to support "my" narrative. That narrative is that, while Covid19 is a serious and deadly disease, it is not transmitted as readily as other viruses. Therefore, on that basis alone, we should not expect to achieve (if that's the right word) 'herd' immunity any time soon. Instead we should be exploring strategies for living with this virus for the time being while deploying targeted safeguards to protect the most vulnerable.

15/ In summary:
While the infectious inoculum required for infection is unknown, these studies indicate that close & prolonged contact is required for #COVID19 transmission. The risk is highest in enclosed environments; household, long-term care facilities and public transport.

16/ High infection rates seen in household, friend & family gatherings, transport suggest that closed contacts in congregation is likely the key driver of productive transmission. Casual, short interactions are not the main driver of the epidemic though keep social distancing!  
17/ Increased rates of infection seen in enclosed & connected environments is in keeping with high infection rates seen in megacities, deprived areas, shelters. A recent preprint demonstrates that #COVID19 epidemic intensity is strongly shaped by crowding…  
18/ Although limited, these studies so far indicate that susceptibility to infection increases with age (highest >60y) and growing evidence suggests children are less susceptible, are infrequently responsible for household transmission, are not the main drivers of this epidemic.  
19/ Finally, these studies indicate that most transmission is caused by close contact with a symptomatic case, highest risk within first 5d of symptoms. To note: this preprint suggests that most infections are not asymptomatic during infection… 
20/ In conclusion, contact tracing data is crucial to understand real transmission dynamics. Cautionary note: This data & interpretation is based on the available evidence as of May 4th. Our understanding might change based on community testing/lifting lockdown measures. END  
Addendum: While we have limited data, similar high risk transmission pattern could be seen in other crowded & connected indoor environments such as crowded office spaces, other workplace environment, packed restaurants/cafes, cramped apartment buildings etc.  
Conclusion 2: (a) we need to redesign our living/working spaces & rethink how to provide better, ventilated living/working environment for those who live in deprived & cramped areas; (b) avoid close, sustained contact indoors & in public transport, & maintain personal hygiene. 


  1. Whats the data showing ? Can you get it more than once? Nobody seems to want to say, and if u can, are the symptoms and effects better or worse?

    1. Right now there are conflicting claims.

    2. Unfortunately Neil Ferguson is presently engaged in "social intercourse" and unavailable to respond.

  2. I'll preface by saying I agree, essentially, with what you are calling your "narrative." However:

    "We need to redesign our living/working spaces & rethink how to provide better, ventilated living/working environment..." Does that idea come with a price tag?

    This sounds remarkably like a thought splinter shot out from the hive mind percolating in Cupertino and Mountain View. Or maybe it started out at a TED talk.

    I only have two words to say about contact tracing: Edward Snowden. The last thing these evil-minded morons in government need is more power.

    H.L. Mencken & Samuel Johnson have suitable quotes on the subject of our betters. No need to repeat them.

    1. I'm not supporting specific measures. I think you know that.