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Daily Archives: February 10, 2022

Why You Can’t See The Most Important Omicron Hot Spots In The U.S. On A Map

FiveThirtyEight: “When the delta variant swept through the Southern U.S. in summer 2021, the hot spots were easy enough to see. Huge swaths of red in Florida, Louisiana and Alabama swelled on COVID-19 tracker maps, like stop lights warning travelers to avoid the region. The culprit also seemed straightforward: Low vaccination rates in conservative communities. The Biden administration fueled this perception by calling COVID-19 a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” framing the crisis — incorrectly, according to some experts — as a localized problem that could be solved if enough Republicans simply got their shots. That era was easy to conceptualize compared to our current quagmire. Now, thanks to the omicron variant, hot spots are everywhere. The first states to see rising cases were also those with high vaccination rates, including Vermont, Massachusetts and New York. It’s hard to call this a pandemic of the unvaccinated when one in every 30 New York City residents was diagnosed with COVID-19 in the space of a single week during the peak of the city’s omicron surge, and over 80 percent of adults in the city are fully vaccinated. The new, omicron-drenched landscape means we can no longer find hot spots just by looking at a map. In fact, the most important hot spots are less visible: They’re among the people most vulnerable to severe disease and in the settings that are capable of shutting down society when outbreaks swell. When COVID-19 is everywhere, visualizing data can only tell you so much. For example, a COVID-19 map that visualizes entire counties or states obscures the vulnerable populations within. Vaccination rates for these larger areas can be misleading, said Enrique Neblett, a professor of health behavior at the University of Michigan. Highly vaccinated states still have large pockets of unvaccinated people, who are much less protected from severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Instead of thinking about which states are being affected most, think about who is most vulnerable. In other words, start with the elderly. When it comes to risk of severe COVID-19, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are among the most dangerous settings. Nursing-home residents were among the first in line for vaccines last winter, but immunity has now waned for vulnerable seniors. Booster shot intake has been slow and uneven, too: As of mid-December, the share of nursing home residents fully vaccinated and boosted ranged from 70 percent in Vermont to just 17 percent in Arizona, according to AARP…”

Researchers warn that social media may be ‘fundamentally at odds’ with science

TechCrunch: “A special set of editorials published in today’s issue of the journal Science argue that social media in its current form may well be fundamentally broken for the purposes of presenting and disseminating facts and reason. The algorithms are running the show now, they argue, and the systems priorities are unfortunately backwards. In an… Continue Reading gathers lots of data besides face scans

Washington Post – “…A private company that government agencies have used to verify the identities of millions of Americans through facial recognition used a variety of other data techniques to screen users, including collecting people’s phone location records and using software from the data-mining company Palantir to assess whether they have ties to “organized crime.”… Continue Reading

COVID and U.S. Culture With Lessons for Government Officials

GovExec: “The New York Times recently published a set of very depressing statistics. Among a group of large, high-income countries, the U.S. had the very lowest percentage of the population that is fully vaccinated against the COVID virus. The figures for the percentage who had received a booster were even more dramatic — we had less than… Continue Reading

NISO Publishes E-Book Metadata Recommended Practice

“Baltimore, MD – February 10, 2022 – Today sees the publication of the NISO Recommended Practice, E-Book Bibliographic Metadata Requirements in the Sale, Publication, Discovery, Delivery, and Preservation Supply Chain (NISO RP-29-2022). This document, prepared by the E-Book Metadata Working Group and approved by the NISO Information Creation & Curation Topic Committee, incorporates feedback received… Continue Reading

Modernizing Congress U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer Applies Technology to Democracy

LegisPro: “Hudson Hollister  – We recently interviewed Rep. Derek Kilmer, Chair of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. This transcript has been edited for clarity.” Hudson Hollister – Representative Kilmer, Chairman of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, thank you so much for joining us. Hudson Hollister… Continue Reading