COVID-19

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.

A virus that passes from animals to humans. Examples include: SARS, Swine Flu, and COVID-19.

COVID-19

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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).

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.