CategoryLink post

∞ Jason Abaluck: “Wear a mask. It’s worth $300 to $6.000 to society.”

Jason Abaluck just posted a report from Yale University on Twitter:

The conclusion: wear a mask when you go outside, also if you don’t have symptoms. Use a cloth mask, because it will:
– Stop 50% of the virus from going out
– Surgical masks are needed by professionals.

Jason states:

We have two principal recommendations: 1) everyone should immediately begin wearing cloth masks in public, 2) The govt. should immediately use all available means to increase the supply of medical masks, especially by heavily rewarding producers.


The basis for our recommendation is simple: anything that combats the spread of the virus is absurdly valuable due to the resulting reduction in mortality risk (not to mention accelerating resumption of normal economic activity).

View source

∞ The Hammer and the Dance

Tomas Pueyo does not agree with the Dutch approach to the Corona outbreak. He argues we should adopt a strategy called ‘The Hammer and the Dance’, where we crack down harder for a few weeks to relieve the medical sector (The Hammer) and then manage the measures to keep the spread just below R0=1 (The Dance). Sounds like a plan, although we don’t know the rate of spreading at the moment. The chart below shows how that could look.

The article is fascinating to read. This part about the steps politicians have to take is insightful as well.

During the Hammer period, they want to go as low as possible while still remaining tolerable. In Hubei, they went all the way to 0.32. We might not need that: maybe just to 0.5 or 0.6. But during the Dance of the R period, they want to hover as close to 1 as possible, while staying below it over the long term. What this means is that, whether leaders realize it or not, what they’re doing is:

  • List all the measures they can take to reduce R
  • Get a sense of the benefit of applying them: the reduction in R
  • Get a sense of their cost: the economic and social cost.
  • Stack-rank the initiatives based on their cost-benefit
  • Pick the ones that give the biggest R reduction up till 1, for the lowest cost.

Go read the whole post.

∞ Via

∞ Twitter explainer on Corona virus

I came across this Explainer by Richard Steenvoorden (@Reezyard). Interesting, with links and some science. On anti-bacterial soap (Dutch):

Antibacteriële zeep heeft GEEN extra nut.

  • Het is slecht voor ‘t milieu
  • Zorgt voor resistente bacteriën
  • Helpt niet tegen ‘n virus
  • Zorgt voor toename allergieën
  • Het werkt hormoonverstorend

The whole thread is extremely interesting.

∞ Quartz – Thomas Piketty explains the meaning of economic models, and why we can’t rely on them

A nice explanation of the usefulness, or lack thereof, of economic models. I love the quote Quartz features from Peter Hansen:

Models are always wrong. It seems kind of strange to hear that initially, but there is a sense in which models are simplifications; they are abstractions. And they are wrong.

Before you argue with Hansen’s statement, remember he is a Nobel-prize-winning economist himself.

∞ Seven Tips for Writing Online – Dumb Little Man

Dumb Little Man gives seven tips for writing (online). Number 2 always needs my attention:

Short Sentences and Paragraphs are Best

Online, it’s hard to read long paragraphs. Break things up: write in shorter paragraphs and shorter sentences than you normally would. If you want some great examples, take a look at any post on Copyblogger.

If you naturally write in quite long paragraphs and sentences, just do an extra edit to split these up. It only takes a couple of minutes, and it can make your blog post (or Facebook update, or email) much more readable.

Shorten. Those. Sentences… Tips 1 and 5 are great too.

A headshot of Marnix


All posts