How not to lose 16,000 COVID-19 test results: a data scientist’s view

A critical piece of the UK Test and Trace infrastructure failed hard this week. All contacts of almost 16,000 COVID-19 infected people were allowed to circulate unknowingly for an entire seven days in the community. That’s about 50,000 people. I’m not going to complain about Public Health England (PHE) using excel to merge the testContinue reading “How not to lose 16,000 COVID-19 test results: a data scientist’s view”

The effectiveness of cloth masks has been misrepresented by #Masks4All

I recently advised caution about COVID-19 research performed by people without a background in infectious diseases. Some people hated that advice. I’m going to show an example of why it matters. In recent weeks, entrepreneur Jeremy Howard has led the #Masks4All campaign to make it mandatory to wear cotton face masks in public. Howard claimsContinue reading “The effectiveness of cloth masks has been misrepresented by #Masks4All”

All models are wrong, but some are completely wrong

At this critical time in the modern history of the human race, mathematical models have been pushed into the foreground. Epidemic forecasting informs policy and even individual decision-making. Sadly, scientists and journalists have completely failed to communicate how these models work. Last week the Financial Times published the headline ‘Coronavirus may have infected half ofContinue reading “All models are wrong, but some are completely wrong”