A corona virus that became a global pandemic. The number of cases has surpassed 2MM and over 500 thousand people have died (at time of writing).
Besides a health crisis, COVID-19 also created an economic crisis as countries shut down and placed restrictions on gatherings of people and whether businesses could operate.
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Being on video conference calls repeatedly is exhausting. This phenomena is believed to be caused by the brain working overtime because we can tell the other person is an imperfect projection and reading body language is difficult.
In a recent study looking at the impact of remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic found that perception of organizational support for remote work correlates with higher reported productivity and gains in productive working time. This is in contrast to those that perceive low support for remote work as having a negative impact on productive working time and indicating greater depression symptoms.
A virus that passes from animals to humans. Examples include: SARS, Swine Flu, and COVID-19.
Much has been written about a great migration out of San Francisco. The population shrank by 1.4% between July 2019 to July 2020, but like most moves during the COVID-19 pandemic, they were within the same metro area. As the economy recovers, San Francisco and San Mateo counties added 17,200 jobs.
In the new normal brought on by COVID-19, typical activities that we rely on to recover and recharge are not available anymore due to the economic shutdown. For example, socializing with friends at a restaurant or going to the gym.
In Manhattan, I found a Starbucks that was pick-up only and you had to order online. It had no seating, just a counter to pick up your order. It didn’t even have a cash register.
Merging data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) round 16, and American Time Use Survey (ATUS) shows that an estimated 45% of jobs (~67MM based on number of employed citizens) in the US can be done remotely. However, prior to the pandemic only 10% of workers who could work remotely actually did (the takeup rate).
While not having to commute is equivalent pay raise, it’s not necessarily better for the environment.
There are more people in the U.S. dying of COVID-19 per day than WWII and the number of total deaths will likely exceed the total U.S. combat deaths from WWII.
A preliminary study of brain imaging taken of before COVID-19 infection and after showed a reduced amount of gray matter thickness in the frontal and temporal lobes. This seems to explain some of the symptoms like loss of smell and taste (associated with the olfactory bulb) as well as other side effects like memory loss.
CDC data shows that 74 percent of breakthrough COVID-19 cases are among adults 65 or older and make up the vast majority of vaccinated people that are hospitalized.
To get the COVID-19 vaccine approved quickly, companies focused on proving the efficacy. They did not run trials to find the optimal dosage or storage to maximize public health. For example, delaying the second dose, fractional dosing, removing freezer temperature requirements are all ways of increasing the distribution and reaching herd immunity faster.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 4.3 MM Americans quit their jobs in August 2021, up from 4MM in July. The quit rate is highest it’s been since the statistic became available in 2000.
Because the COVID-19 Delta variant is much more transmissible (translating to a higher R rate of 50-100% higher than a year ago) and mRNA vaccines are 90% effective, we need 90% of the population to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. Unfortunately that seems unlikely due to the politicization of the vaccine.
A distinctly American idea is that liberating oneself will result in the liberation of everyone else. This helps explain teenage rebellion (the whole system is broken so I’ll be a nonconformist and everyone else will follow), but also the behavior of anti-maskers (I value my freedom to decide what’s best so I’ll be loud about not wearing a mask and show everyone). While outwardly projecting a message that this is good for everyone, it’s deeply rooted in selfishness.
Due to COVID-19, employees are spread throughout the country and moving around. This is a challenge for employers who are obligated to pay taxes in the jurisdictions their employees are working. Remote native companies and companies that support a growing remote workforce will continue to face this challenge.
Companies on a clear upward trajectory can still fail not from external threats, but from complacency of the people running and operating the company. This happens when they mistakenly believe success is assured, but empirically this is not true (plenty of examples of industry darlings getting big and going under).
Robinhood is linked to recent events like the stock price of Hertz skyrocketing despite going bankrupt or Kodak jumping 1,000% on news of a pivot to drug manufacturing. By displaying stocks other users are buying/have bought (a simple way of consumerizing stock picking), they’ve inadvertently created a ‘momentum algorithm’ that, simply by displaying popularity more people buy and drive the price up.
A financial instrument that spreads the risk of corporate loans across many investors. The money is loaned to companies that typically can’t raise money otherwise e.g. through a traditional bank loan.
A mutation of COVID-19 is spreading quickly throughout the world and threatens recovery efforts. The Alpha variant is believed to be 50% more transmissible than other local COVID-19 types. The Delta variant is 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant.
The virus and pandemic of COVID-19 serves as a container for people to project their own fears, beliefs, and ascribed meaning. For example, some take COVID-19 as a sign from Mother Nature that we are overstepping and it is some sort of balancing. These are highly irrational interpretations—viruses are by definition not a living thing—and so it is more of a vehicle for one’s ideology.
We’re starting to see news outlets say there is an alarming trend where vaccinated people are getting COVID-19 (such as this one from the WSJ). This is an example of base rate fallacy—in a population with a high vaccination rate it is inevitable that new cases include vaccinated people (especially in a country like Israel with extremely high vaccination rate). We should not take that to mean vaccines are suddenly ineffective (they’re not).
During the rapid expansion westward in America between 1790 and 1830, the average adult drank more than nine gallons of spirits per year. Most were drinking to get drunk and most of the drinking was done at home due to isolation on the frontier. Even in the eastern cities, industrialization caused widespread loneliness and anxiety from labor changes.
It’s unfortunate American values and belief systems are incompatible with successfully managing the COVID-19 pandemic. We resent or measures that are effective, but inhibit our freedoms or are even mildly inconvenient (social distancing, wearing a mask).
A study in China of COVID-19 survivors (median age 59) who were hospitalized found that half had a persisting symptom one year later—Long COVID. That includes shortness of breath, fatigue, and mental health issues such as anxiety depression. It also found a higher prevalence of problems with mobility and pain and discomfort than the control group.
According to a recent study, people over the age of 80 that were given the second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine 12 weeks after the first dose ended up with over three times as many antibodies after the second dose. While this study was only for the Pfizer vaccine it could significantly change the vaccination strategy of many countries.
According to a recent survey by WayUp that measured how job seekers felt in the current COVID-19 job climate, Black and Hispanic/Latino job seekers were 145% more likely to be concerned about being capable of doing a job remotely compared to White job seekers. Lack of physical space, access to broadband, and having more people in the household are contributing factors.
In 2019, Americans spent an average of 55.2 minutes per day commuting. During the COVID-19 pandemic, remote workers have completely eliminated morning commutes which is like a 10% raise (or higher if you are like 10% of Americans that commute two hours per day. The monetary value of saved commuting time would be equivalent to the largest tax cuts for the middle class ever.
A survey by Visier found that 89% of employees experienced burnout in the past year. The primary factors that contributed were workload (being asked to do more work, faster, work-life balance), culture (toxic workplace, micromanagement, lack of support from managers or co-workers), and world events (COVID-19 pandemic, police brutality, climate change).