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  1. Last 7 days
    1. 27-04-21

    2. Engzell, Per, Arun Frey, and Mark D. Verhagen. ‘Learning Loss Due to School Closures during the COVID-19 Pandemic’. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118, no. 17 (27 April 2021). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2022376118.

    3. Suspension of face-to-face instruction in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to concerns about consequences for students’ learning. So far, data to study this question have been limited. Here we evaluate the effect of school closures on primary school performance using exceptionally rich data from The Netherlands (n ≈ 350,000). We use the fact that national examinations took place before and after lockdown and compare progress during this period to the same period in the 3 previous years. The Netherlands underwent only a relatively short lockdown (8 wk) and features an equitable system of school funding and the world’s highest rate of broadband access. Still, our results reveal a learning loss of about 3 percentile points or 0.08 standard deviations. The effect is equivalent to one-fifth of a school year, the same period that schools remained closed. Losses are up to 60% larger among students from less-educated homes, confirming worries about the uneven toll of the pandemic on children and families. Investigating mechanisms, we find that most of the effect reflects the cumulative impact of knowledge learned rather than transitory influences on the day of testing. Results remain robust when balancing on the estimated propensity of treatment and using maximum-entropy weights or with fixed-effects specifications that compare students within the same school and family. The findings imply that students made little or no progress while learning from home and suggest losses even larger in countries with weaker infrastructure or longer school closures.
    4. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2022376118
    5. Learning loss due to school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic
    1. Cobey, Sarah, Daniel B. Larremore, Yonatan H. Grad, and Marc Lipsitch. ‘Concerns about SARS-CoV-2 Evolution Should Not Hold Back Efforts to Expand Vaccination’. Nature Reviews Immunology, 1 April 2021, 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41577-021-00544-9.

    2. 01-04-21

    3. When vaccines are in limited supply, expanding the number of people who receive some vaccine, such as by halving doses or increasing the interval between doses, can reduce disease and mortality compared with concentrating available vaccine doses in a subset of the population. A corollary of such dose-sparing strategies is that the vaccinated individuals may have less protective immunity. Concerns have been raised that expanding the fraction of the population with partial immunity to SARS-CoV-2 could increase selection for vaccine-escape variants, ultimately undermining vaccine effectiveness. We argue that, although this is possible, preliminary evidence instead suggests such strategies should slow the rate of viral escape from vaccine or naturally induced immunity. As long as vaccination provides some protection against escape variants, the corresponding reduction in prevalence and incidence should reduce the rate at which new variants are generated and the speed of adaptation. Because there is little evidence of efficient immune selection of SARS-CoV-2 during typical infections, these population-level effects are likely to dominate vaccine-induced evolution.
    4. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41577-021-00544-9
    5. Concerns about SARS-CoV-2 evolution should not hold back efforts to expand vaccination
    1. 07-04-21

    2. Quillien, Tadeg, and Michael Barlev. ‘Causal Judgment in the Wild: Evidence from the 2020 US Presidential Election’. PsyArXiv, 7 April 2021. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/7w9re.

    3. 10.31234/osf.io/7w9re
    4. A given event has many causes, but people intuitively view some causes as more important than others. Models of causal judgment have been evaluated in controlled laboratory experiments, but they have yet to be tested in complex real-world settings. Here, we provide such a test, in the context of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Across tens of thousands of simulations of possible election outcomes, we computed, for each state, an adjusted measure of the correlation between a Biden victory in that state and a Biden election victory. These effect size measures accurately predicted the extent to which U.S. participants (N=207, pre-registered) viewed victory in a given state as having caused Biden to win the presidency. This supports the theory that people intuitively select as causes of an outcome the factors with the largest average causal effect on that outcome across possible counterfactual worlds.
    5. Causal judgment in the wild: evidence from the 2020 US presidential election
    1. Adam Finn. ‘There Are Some News Outlets & Politicians Incorrectly Reporting and Criticising Respectively MHRA for Advising against Use of OxAZ in under 30s. Neither MHRA nor EMA Have Done This. JCVI Have Expressed a Preference for Alternative Vaccines for Healthy under 30s in the UK Context’. Tweet. @adamhfinn (blog), 8 April 2021. https://twitter.com/adamhfinn/status/1380031766703058944.

    2. 08-04-21

    3. There are some news outlets & politicians incorrectly reporting and criticising respectively MHRA for advising against use of OxAZ in under 30s. Neither MHRA nor EMA have done this. JCVI have expressed a preference for alternative vaccines for healthy under 30s in the UK context
    1. 07-04-2021

    2. ReconfigBehSci. ‘RT @EricTopol: A New US Vaccination Record for a Wednesday Reporting 2.9 Million Now 1 in 3 Americans Have at Least 1 Dose’. Tweet. @SciBeh (blog), 7 April 2021. https://twitter.com/SciBeh/status/1380076622167093248.

    3. A new US vaccination record for a Wednesday reporting 2.9 million Now 1 in 3 Americans have at least 1 dose
  2. Apr 2021
    1. Compliance with behavioral measures

      31-03-21

    2. Chambon, Monique, Jonas Dalege, Lourens Waldorp, Han van der Maas, Denny Borsboom, and Frenk van Harreveld. ‘A Complex Systems Perspective on Compliance with Behavioral Measures during the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Netherlands: How Psychological Networks Can Inform Interventions.’ PsyArXiv, 31 March 2021. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/fmu9w.

    3. 10.31234/osf.io/fmu9w
    4. Health care agencies around the world recommended behavioral measures regarding hygiene and physical distancing to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. The current research sheds light on the interplay of psychological factors related to compliance and well-being during the pandemic. We do so by presenting a complex psychological network based on a large-scale survey (N = 6093). In total, participants were invited five times to complete this survey over a period of approximately 10 weeks (April 23th – June 30th 2020). The third and fifth wave included interventions aimed at influencing the psychological networks. We found that 1) compliance and well-being during the pandemic seemed connected through negative emotions and therefore were related factors and 2) trust in authorities influenced support for behavioral measures, which is in turn associated with compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the network structure was used to design multiple interventions, aimed at psychological variables varying in their relative importance for the network. The interventions significantly affected the variables the intervention was aimed at as well as other variables in the networks. The effects of interventions on variables related to the aim of the interventions were partially explained by the network structure. The results suggest that the network structure can be an important source of information for designing effective interventions aimed at influencing the public’s psychological systems in relation to pandemics.
    5. A complex systems perspective on compliance with behavioral measures during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands: How psychological networks can inform interventions.
    1. 31-03-21

    2. Massaccesi, Claudia, Emilio Chiappini, Riccardo Paracampo, and Sebastian Korb. ‘Large Gatherings? No, Thank You. Devaluation of Crowded Social Scenes during the COVID-19 Pandemic’. PsyArXiv, 31 March 2021. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/a65tm.

    3. 10.31234/osf.io/a65tm
    4. In most European countries, the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (spring 2020) led to the imposition of physical distancing rules, resulting in a drastic and sudden reduction of real-life social interactions. Even people not directly affected by the virus itself were impacted in their physical and/or mental health, as well as in their financial security, by governmental lockdown measures. We investigated if the combination of these events had changed people’s appraisal of social scenes by testing 241 participants recruited mainly in Italy, Austria, and Germany in an online, pre-registered study conducted about 50 days after the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe. Images depicting individuals alone, in small groups (up to four people) and in large groups (more than seven people) were rated in terms of valence, arousal, and perceived physical distance. Pre-pandemic normative ratings were obtained from a validated database (Kurdi et al., 2017). Several self-report measures were also taken, and condensed into four factors through factor analysis. All images were rated as more arousing compared to the pre-pandemic period, and the greater the decrease in real-life physical interactions reported by participants, the higher the ratings of arousal. As expected, only images depicting large gatherings of people were rated less positively during, compared to before, the pandemic. These ratings of valence were however moderated by a factor that included participants’ number of days in isolation, relationship closeness, and perceived COVID-19 threat. Higher scores on this factor were associated with more positive ratings of images of individuals alone and in small groups, suggesting an increased appreciation of safer social situations, such as intimate and small-group contacts. The same factor was inversely related to the perceived physical distance between individuals in images of small and large groups, suggesting an impact of lockdown measures and contagion-related worries on the representation of interpersonal space. These findings point to rapid and compelling psychological and social consequences of the lockdown measures imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic on the perception of social groups. Further studies should assess the long-term impact of such events as typical everyday life is restored.
    5. Large gatherings? No, thank you. Devaluation of crowded social scenes during the COVID-19 pandemic
    1. 30-03-21

    2. Kai Kupferschmidt. ‘According to @PEI_Germany about 2,7 Million People Have Now Been Vaccinated with AstraZenaca Vaccine in Germany. Amongst These: 31 Cerebral Venous Thromboses (29 Women) 19 of These Also with Thrombocytopenia Reported 9 Deaths Clearly Germany Has to Change Recommendations for Now’. Tweet. @kakape (blog), 30 March 2021. https://twitter.com/kakape/status/1376859903030071301.

    3. According to @PEI_Germany about 2,7 million people have now been vaccinated with AstraZenaca vaccine in Germany. Amongst these: 31 cerebral venous thromboses (29 women) 19 of these also with thrombocytopenia reported 9 deaths Clearly Germany has to change recommendations for now
    4. 30-03-21

    5. Kai Kupferschmidt. ‘According to @PEI_Germany about 2,7 Million People Have Now Been Vaccinated with AstraZenaca Vaccine in Germany. Amongst These: 31 Cerebral Venous Thromboses (29 Women) 19 of These Also with Thrombocytopenia Reported 9 Deaths Clearly Germany Has to Change Recommendations for Now’. Tweet. @kakape (blog), 30 March 2021. https://twitter.com/kakape/status/1376859903030071301.

    6. According to @PEI_Germany about 2,7 million people have now been vaccinated with AstraZenaca vaccine in Germany. Amongst these: 31 cerebral venous thromboses (29 women) 19 of these also with thrombocytopenia reported 9 deaths Clearly Germany has to change recommendations for now
  3. Mar 2021
    1. Savaris, R. F., G. Pumi, J. Dalzochio, and R. Kunst. ‘Stay-at-Home Policy Is a Case of Exception Fallacy: An Internet-Based Ecological Study’. Scientific Reports 11, no. 1 (5 March 2021): 5313. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-84092-1.

    2. 2021-03-05

    3. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-84092-1
    4. A recent mathematical model has suggested that staying at home did not play a dominant role in reducing COVID-19 transmission. The second wave of cases in Europe, in regions that were considered as COVID-19 controlled, may raise some concerns. Our objective was to assess the association between staying at home (%) and the reduction/increase in the number of deaths due to COVID-19 in several regions in the world. In this ecological study, data from www.google.com/covid19/mobility/, ourworldindata.org and covid.saude.gov.br were combined. Countries with > 100 deaths and with a Healthcare Access and Quality Index of ≥ 67 were included. Data were preprocessed and analyzed using the difference between number of deaths/million between 2 regions and the difference between the percentage of staying at home. The analysis was performed using linear regression with special attention to residual analysis. After preprocessing the data, 87 regions around the world were included, yielding 3741 pairwise comparisons for linear regression analysis. Only 63 (1.6%) comparisons were significant. With our results, we were not able to explain if COVID-19 mortality is reduced by staying at home in ~ 98% of the comparisons after epidemiological weeks 9 to 34.
    5. Stay-at-home policy is a case of exception fallacy: an internet-based ecological study
    1. ReconfigBehSci. ‘RT @rypan: After 365 Days of Aggregating COVID Data, the Volunteers at Https://T.Co/Bhl4cjts8N Are Passing the Baton Back to @HHSGov & @CDC…’. Tweet. @SciBeh (blog), 9 March 2021. https://twitter.com/SciBeh/status/1369567816026841088.

    2. 2021-03-09

    3. After 365 days of aggregating COVID data, the volunteers at http://covidtracking.com are passing the baton back to @HHSGov & @CDCgov. They filled a void when our government failed us. They kept us informed & held our leaders accountable. For all that & more, we thank you
    1. reddit. ‘R/BehSciResearch - Hackathon: Climate Denial and COVID-19 Misinformation: Birds of a Feather?’ Accessed 6 March 2021. https://www.reddit.com/r/BehSciResearch/comments/jjjzgs/hackathon_climate_denial_and_covid19/.

    2. 2020-10-28

    3. Target issue: The threat posed by climate change and COVID-19 are wildly different – immediate individual-level harm vs. long-term global-level harm. The degree of scientific consensus also differs between the two issues, with a long-standing robust consensus on climate change that rests on unequivocal evidence, and a more heterogeneous and rapidly evolving knowledge landscape in COVID-19 in which areas of uncertainty remain. Yet the denialism playbook seems to be working fine in both cases, and there is even evidence that the same players are involved in both issues (see, for e.g., here and here). Self-professed COVID-19 “skeptics” voice opinions that are counter to established science, for example by variously claiming that COVID-19 is harmless or is unaffected by behavioural countermeasures, or by promulgating non-existent cures.During the hackathon, we will examine COVID-19 misinformation, with a particular focus on the differences and similarities between climate denial and COVID-19 “denial”. Our aim is to better understand if and how science denial tactics have been cross-applied between COVID-19 and Climate denial networks. We’ll examine whether COVID-19 “skeptics” have learned from or grown out of Climate denial playbooks and networks. We will compile an inventory of new tactics and networks to disseminate COVID-19 misinformation, and discuss whether research on combating misinformation could be cross-applied between the two domains.
    4. Hackathon: Climate denial and COVID-19 misinformation: birds of a feather?
    1. Morley, Jessica, Josh Cowls, Mariarosaria Taddeo, and Luciano Floridi. ‘Public Health in the Information Age: Recognizing the Infosphere as a Social Determinant of Health’. Journal of Medical Internet Research 22, no. 8 (2020): e19311. https://doi.org/10.2196/19311.

    2. 2020-08-03

    3. doi:10.2196/19311
    4. Since 2016, social media companies and news providers have come under pressure to tackle the spread of political mis- and disinformation (MDI) online. However, despite evidence that online health MDI (on the web, on social media, and within mobile apps) also has negative real-world effects, there has been a lack of comparable action by either online service providers or state-sponsored public health bodies. We argue that this is problematic and seek to answer three questions: why has so little been done to control the flow of, and exposure to, health MDI online; how might more robust action be justified; and what specific, newly justified actions are needed to curb the flow of, and exposure to, online health MDI? In answering these questions, we show that four ethical concerns—related to paternalism, autonomy, freedom of speech, and pluralism—are partly responsible for the lack of intervention. We then suggest that these concerns can be overcome by relying on four arguments: (1) education is necessary but insufficient to curb the circulation of health MDI, (2) there is precedent for state control of internet content in other domains, (3) network dynamics adversely affect the spread of accurate health information, and (4) justice is best served by protecting those susceptible to inaccurate health information. These arguments provide a strong case for classifying the quality of the infosphere as a social determinant of health, thus making its protection a public health responsibility. In addition, they offer a strong justification for working to overcome the ethical concerns associated with state-led intervention in the infosphere to protect public health
    5. Public Health in the Information Age: Recognizing the Infosphere as a Social Determinant of Health
    1. ReconfigBehSci. ‘RT @ashishkjha: Over Past Week We Got 11.4 Million Doses into Arms 5.6 Million Were 1st Doses 5.8 Million Were 2nd Doses That’s a Proble…’. Tweet. @SciBeh (blog), 1 March 2021. https://twitter.com/SciBeh/status/1366421544495382533.

    1. Chen, Shawna. ‘Biden Administration to Offer $250 Million in Grants to Help Address COVID Response Inequities’. Axios. Accessed 10 March 2021. https://www.axios.com/covid-inequities-biden-250-million-grants-faf391fc-53e5-409b-94c8-894426108d05.html.

    2. 2021-03-08

    3. The Biden administration will offer $250 million in federal grants to community organizations working to combat inequities in the response to the coronavirus, Vice President Kamala Harris announced Monday.
    4. Biden admin to allocate $250 million to help address COVID response inequities
    1. Indiana University Network Science Institute. ‘Alessandro Vespignani on Computational Epidemiology at the Time of COVID-19’. Accessed 7 March 2021. http://iuni.iu.edu/news/event/59.

    2. 2020-11-04

    3. The data science revolution is finally enabling the development of large-scale data-driven models that provide real- or near-real-time forecasts and risk analysis for infectious disease threats. These models also provide rationales and quantitative analysis to support policy making decisions and intervention plans. At the same time, the non-incremental advance of the field presents a broad range of challenges: algorithmic (multiscale constitutive equations, scalability, parallelization), real time integration of novel digital data streams (social networks, participatory platform, human mobility etc.). I will review and discuss recent results and challenges in the area, and focus on ongoing work aimed at responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    4. Event: Alessandro Vespignani on Computational Epidemiology at the Time of COVID-19
    1. reddit. ‘R/BehSciAsk - Workshop Hackathon: Optimising Research Dissemination and Curation’. Accessed 6 March 2021. https://www.reddit.com/r/BehSciAsk/comments/jjtht2/workshop_hackathon_optimising_research/.

    2. 2020-10-28

    3. Target issue: The COVID-19 crisis has seen a sea change in the adoption of openly accessible research outputs (see, for e.g., here and here). However, rapid production and sharing of new research is not without its drawbacks. As pre-prints become better cited—not just among researchers, but in the public media—there is increasing risk of spreading misinformation from unreliable work (e.g., this retracted pre-print. How do we ensure reliable research is rapidly disseminated?
    4. Workshop hackathon: Optimising research dissemination and curation
    1. Dominic Minghella. ‘Wow. SAGE Scientist Prof Andrew Hayward on Newsnight Unequivocal: “I Won’t Be Getting My Family Together for Christmas.” Young People and Old People Together a Recipe for Disaster/Snatching Defeat from Jaws of Victory/Wait till Easter and Have a Proper Get-Together. #Newsnight’. Tweet. @DMinghella (blog), 25 November 2020. https://twitter.com/DMinghella/status/1331374249001578497.

    1. Haberman, Maggie. ‘Covid-19: Giuliani Tests Positive for Coronavirus’. The New York Times, 6 December 2020, sec. World. https://www.nytimes.com/live/2020/12/06/world/covid-19-coronavirus.

    2. A doctor who is skeptical of coronavirus vaccines and promotes the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19 will be the lead witness at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday, prompting criticism from Democrats who say Republicans should not give a platform to someone who promotes conspiracy theories.
    3. An anti-vaccine activist has been invited to testify before a Senate committee.
    4. 2020-12-15