Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Judging Trump's Presidency

Early 2017 I gave some metrics here that could be used to judge Trump's presidency a success on his own terms. Dues to the pandemic I do not think it is fair to judge from 2020 on. But how did he do in the previous three years?
The metrics were

1. Better healthcare. Cover Everybodycost less and have lower deducables

Didn't happen
'In 2018, 8.5 percent of people, or 27.5 million, did not have health insurance at any point during the year. The uninsured rate and number of uninsured increased from 2017 (7.9 percent or 25.6 million).The percentage of people with health insurance coverage for all or part of 2018 was 91.5 percent, lower than the rate in 2017 (92.1 percent).

2. More GDP Growth. 'If Trump can deliver an average of more than 3% over his 4 years in office I think an impartial observer would agree the economy has done well.'

Didn't happen

3. A balanced Budget.
Didn't happen
"The budget deficit increased from $779 billion in FY2018 to $984 billion FY2019, up $205 billion or 26%. The budget deficit increased from $666 billion in FY2017 to $779 billion in FY2018, an increase of $113 billion or 17.0%.[10] The 2019 deficit was an estimated 4.7% GDP, up from 3.9% GDP in 2018 and 3.5% GDP in 2017. The historical average deficit is 2.9% GDP" 
4. Infrastructure improvements are a big part of Trumps promise. These are measured here
Didn't happen
2018 US was 14th in the world in world bank LPI rank. Infrastructure score 4.05
2016 US was 10th in the world. Infrastructure score 4.15

On none of the four metrics declared in January 2017 has Trump's presidency succeeded in, in the time before the pandemic.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Ireland really should make the Flu Vaccine Free for All

I argued here on February 21st that Ireland should make the flu vaccine free for all this year. This I argued because it would reduce overcrowding, increase productivity and mitigate some impacts of covid-19.

Today the minister for health has announced that more people will get the vaccine for free this year.

Defined at risk groups of adults is described here using 76 words. That is just too complicated. Many who qualify won't get vaccinated without clear messaging.
A simple message of "The flu vaccine is free for all this year. You can reduce the risk to you and spread in the community by getting vaccinated" would increase uptake even in the most at risk groups. The cost of expanding free vaccination to all, based on the experience of Ontario, would be about 60 million euro.

Flu compared to Covid-19 is a small issue. But it is one we have a fair amount of control over. Reducing the number of people having to go to hospital is really useful at the moment and free flu vaccines for all would do that.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Give everyone LCT strips

The idea previously of LCT bracelets won't work. Arm temperatures are just not accurate enough to show fever. In some cases when you get a fever your lower limbs actually gets colder.

But that does not mean these cheap thermometers are of no benefit. There is an interesting model here from Paul Romer about how even an inaccurate test can reduce spread. Here is his simulation for a test with a 20% and 40% false negative rate results in large reductions in the spike int he number of infections.

and with 40% False Negative Rate

One such test might be the thermometer test for fever it is cheap but not very accurate. About 30% of people might not have fevers in spite of having covid-19.  It seems to be unknown how infections these asymptomatic people are.
Another paper on Wuhan says "Per person, these undocumented infections were half (52 percent) as contagious as documented infections yet were the source of two-thirds of documented infections" but undocumented does not mean asymptomatic.

There is also this interesting article on the issues with temperature checking in Asia. ‘Thermometer Guns’ on Coronavirus Front Lines Are ‘Notoriously Not Accurate’ it seems outdoor ones are pretty useless. And they need to be aimed very carefully.

All these bits of evidence combined seem to suggest that encouraging and facilitating everyone to check their temperature everyday at home might be worthwhile. LCT strips in particular are still available and are really cheap

Here is a supplier that can provide a million reusable LCT a month at a price of 3.6 cent each. There are 1.7 million dwellings in Ireland. Buying one for every dwelling in Ireland would cost 62,500 euro. 138.45 million housing units in the United States = 6 million dollars

Supplying these to households as a cheap if not very accurate test could well meet a cost benefit analysis.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Automatic Temperature Scanning 2

Here is a design to find fever in streams of people entering a workplace, school or public building

This can be done by hand but I want to make it cheaper

Ultrasonic detector tells someone is in front of it. (MLX90614)
Gets them to the right distance with a display (not shown)
Mirrored picture in an antiviral metal helps the person line themselves up in front of the IR sensor.
Flashes red if they are above 37.5C

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Temperature Measuring Bracelet

If it is a good idea to check peoples temperatures a lot there are probably three distances you want to check them at
1. Personal level
2. Places lots of people go through like employee bathrooms
3. Public places like airports.

Each of these has different requirements.
For Personal thermometers the idea is you have a temperature sensor showing you do not currently have a fever. And if you do that is rapidly detected to reduce the number of people you infect. 

Personal thermometers they need to be really cheap. Not need much power. And be socially fashionable to show off.
Liquid crystal thermometer fits most of these requirements. These were suggested by Tara Whelan

Can they be made durable enough and fashionable enough to get people to wear them?

Edit: the physiology of the arm means these won't work as bracelets.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Automatic Temperature Scanning

I blogged last night about how automatic temperature reading of people several times a day might reduce the number of infectious people out in public
Temperature Scanners Everywhere  Is that post if you want to see the reasoning. 

How about we put a remote thermometer and displays on bathroom mirrors?

What would happen if you 
1. Attached Infrared thermometers (slightly reassembled) to the mirror
2. Put a switch on it that turned it on when someone stood in front of the mirror
3. Output the reading to a display on the mirror

There are several instructable here on how to make the handheld type of forehead thermometer at a distance https://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Laser-Infrared-Thermometer/ this is much the same mechanism but in a different container.

All these parts combined and mass produced would probably cost around 10 Euro. Private and Employee bathrooms might be best for privacy reasons. There is no network connection or face recognition involved here just a very simple temperature reading.