Finding COVID clues in movement

first_img Battling the ‘pandemic of misinformation’ You can have outdoor fun in the COVID era, Chan School expert says, but keep your distance Americans are weary of lockdowns, but if COVID surges, what then? A summer like no other This is part of our Coronavirus Update series in which Harvard specialists in epidemiology, infectious disease, economics, politics, and other disciplines offer insights into what the latest developments in the COVID-19 outbreak may bring.Harvard scientists are leading a global research network that is using data from mobile devices and social media to document people’s movements during the COVID-19 outbreak and translate that information to help government officials set pandemic policy worldwide.The effort, called the COVID-19 Mobility Data Network, involves about 60 academic research labs working with officials in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Mexico, India, Bangladesh, The Netherlands, and Colombia, and seeks to fill what organizers see as a gap between potentially useful data that scientists are gathering and policymakers’ need for targeted information as they make pandemic decisions that can affect people’s lives and livelihoods.“When COVID happened and it became clear that the only interventions available to us were social-distancing interventions, travel restrictions, and so on, it became clear that we needed to process this mobility data in a way to provide insights for policymakers that would help them evaluate the situation and monitor what was going on with social distancing in their area,” said Caroline Buckee, associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.Buckee leads the effort with Satchit Balsari, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Medical Center and assistant professor of global health and population at the Harvard Chan School, and Andrew Schroeder, vice president at the nonprofit humanitarian aid organization Direct Relief.“This data is not trivial to interpret,” Buckee said. “It is a proxy for what we want to measure, which is the contact rate, but it isn’t the contact rate. So it’s really important that we don’t just say, ‘Here’s a public dashboard of stuff,’ because interpretation, careful methods, rigorous analysis in the context of specific policy needs is really important.”With that goal, Buckee said, researchers work with specific national, state, and local governments, providing daily or near-daily reports tailored to the needs of policymakers. The reports show areas where movement of individuals rose or fell and whether that might indicate a problem emerging or easing.“What we’re providing is very much tailored to a specific [government official]: what they need in that place,” Buckee said.For example, Buckee said, New York City officials may want specific neighborhood-level data, or to understand whether people are moving — seen via mobility data — between two specific neighborhoods and whether, over time, those connections are changing.Balsari said that the reports also provide important contextualization. A 15 percent decline in mobility in a smaller city, for example, may be enough to curb the coronavirus’ spread there. In Boston, however, with a larger, denser population and heavy use of public transit, even a 30 percent decline, though numerically better, may not have the same effect. Related Experts are thinking through the options as a jump is possible in fall Ubiquity of social media has made it easier to spread or even create COVID-19 falsehoods, making the work of public health officials harder “The contextualization of this is key,” Balsari said. “The vision here is that this will vary not only by where on the epidemic curve we are, but also what places we’re talking about.”The work builds on prior research by Buckee and Balsari that used mobile phone data for a variety of public health and global health purposes. Balsari’s work uses mobility data to inform disaster response and population health, while Buckee’s work examines mobility and infectious disease patterns. The two recently collaborated on work finding that deaths from all causes linked to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico put the overall toll as much as 70 times higher than the official estimate.Balsari and Buckee said data privacy is an important concern in the network’s efforts. The COVID-19 mobility data is aggregated and anonymized to protect privacy more effectively than data provided by some commercial companies seeking to provide similar services to the government. The two said the use of this data represents a major step forward in using publicly available data to inform crisis response, akin to the revolution in crisis mapping and use of satellite imagery after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.Though states around the country — the network is advising 20 of them — and nations around the world are emerging from initial society-wide lockdowns, Buckee said mobility data is still relevant. Officials are eager for information about how and where people are moving as society reopens. That information may prove crucial in shaping more targeted future responses, by pairing public health data with mobility information to see where population movement is linked to rising coronavirus case counts.“We’ve shown commuting patterns correlate with seroprevalence in New York,” Buckee said. “As we see reopening, if there are places that are going to be active, we can pick that up in real time as opposed to waiting for deaths to surge several weeks later. … The reality is that a lot of places have plans to reopen despite a lack of good surveillance, and that is deeply problematic. This kind of data can at least provide you some information about what you can expect down the road.”last_img read more

The Shirt 2014 features new fabric on anniversary

first_imgMichael Yu | The Observer Students wondered what color, design and logo would adorn The Shirt 2014 as they stood waiting for the grand unveiling outside the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore enjoying free food and cheerleading performances.The unveiling ceremony, which takes place each year on the day before the Blue-Gold Spring Game, began at 6 p.m.Students who bought The Shirt after the ceremony received a 15 percent discount on up to two Shirts.This year’s shirt features the outside and inside of the football stadium on the front and back of The Shirt, respectively. The Shirt 2014 is heather blue made with a 60 percent cotton and 40 percent polyester blend, sophomore Camden Hill, The Shirt executive committee’s designer, said.Hill said an obstacle designers faced was deciding on a concept. He said designers had to first design the 25th anniversary logo before proceeding to work on the design of The Shirt.“From a design standpoint, I think we were trying to do something new this year but not radically different from the previous years. We had to keep it consistent with kind of the image The Shirt has created, but we were looking into different things,” Hill said. “We wanted try a different color and we thought the 25th anniversary would be a great time to try a new fabric as well. The heathered fabric gives it a unique look, unlike the two previous blues.”Hill said unlike the previous years where The Shirt focused on certain players, this year’s shirt focused on the stadium.Junior John Wetzel, president of The Shirt executive committee, said, “Coach Kelly has had tremendous success at home during his time as a head coach, which is why we thought it was appropriate to feature the stadium as the main focus in this years shirt. With the design on the back we were hoping to [portray] all the pieces of the full Notre Dame football experience by including the band, the fans and the players.”Wetzel said an obstacle was making sure that the timing of the unveiling was perfect. They had to coordinate Brian Kelly’s arrival, the committee members changing into their shirts, the band being prepped play while also coordinating online and social media releases, he said.The unveiling ceremony coordinators senior Catherine Simonson and sophomore Catherine Williams spearheaded the majority of planning and coordination of the performances for the actual unveiling ceremony, Wetzel said.The committee expects to sell around 20,000 shirts in the first day, Wetzel said.As for improvements for next year’s planning process, Hill said, “I thought what could’ve benefitted us was nailing down a more specific concept initially. We were a little nebulous going into the design process, and we thought we were more specific than we were. … In retrospect, it would’ve been better to have a better more solid understanding of the concept before designing the shirt.”Hill said he has noticed a generally positive reaction to this year’s shirt design.“I take the anonymous Twitter comments to be the most telling, because they have nothing to lose; they aren’t trying to appease me, and even from those, I’ve heard a lot of good and positive feedback,” Hill said. Tags: The Shirt 2014last_img read more

Woman looses hair after she claims new conditioner was tampered with

first_imgWalmart along with area law enforcement individuals are reviewing the store’s security footage to determine if any bottles of shampoo or conditioner have been tampered with.As for now, Robinson has decided to shave off the rest of her hair but is warning other women to check their bottles to ensure this does not happen to them. A woman from New Richmond, Wisconsin is sending a warning out to other women about checking their merchandise before they purchase it, after she was forced to shave her head because she did not realize the bottle of conditioner she purchased had been tampered with.Ashely Rose Robinson told Wcco Chanel 4 that she purchased a bottle of Pantene Pro-V Sheer Volume conditioner last week from her local Walmart, but instead of receiving the thick full body of hair that the bottle promises, her hair began to fall out in clumps.The family now believes that someone may have tampered with the product by mixing it with the hair removal gel, Nair, and put the bottle back on the shelf for an unsuspecting person to purchase.Robinson posted photos of the damage to Facebook saying that the pictures do not do the damage justice.last_img read more