Map of people moving during pandemic

It was only a matter of time before someone showed dots moving across a map to show migration during the pandemic. Again, using USPS change of address data, Yan Wu and Luis Melgar for the Wall Street Journal (paywalled) showed where people moved in the country.

As shown through other views, a lot of the movement wasn’t out of the ordinary, but in some areas — mainly San Francisco and New York — the pandemic appeared to motivate people a little more to move.

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‘Less than 10 percent’ outdoors

The CDC said that “less than 10 percent” of coronavirus cases were from outdoor transmissions. David Leonhardt for The New York Times argues why in all likelihood that number is way too high and leads to public confusion:

If you read the academic research that the C.D.C. has cited in defense of the 10 percent benchmark, you will notice something strange. A very large share of supposed cases of outdoor transmission have occurred in a single setting: construction sites in Singapore.

In one study, 95 of 10,926 worldwide instances of transmission are classified as outdoors; all 95 are from Singapore construction sites. In another study, four of 103 instances are classified as outdoors; again, all four are from Singapore construction sites.

This obviously doesn’t make much sense. It instead appears to be a misunderstanding that resembles the childhood game of telephone, in which a message gets garbled as it passes from one person to the next.

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Trending hobbies during the pandemic

This past year has seen a rising interest in long-lost hobbies due to shelter-in-place, social distancing, and lockdown orders. Google Trends and Polygraph charted the hobbies that saw the biggest spikes each day of the year.

I’m surprised that sourdough or bread-making is on there, but maybe they didn’t fall under the hobby definition they used.

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Pandemic migrations

With the restrictions of the pandemic, you might expect an unusually big wave of people leaving cities for more open space. Using USPS’s change of address data, Jed Kolko, Emily Badger and Quoctrung Bui, for NYT’s The Upshot, show that this was not quite the case.

This surprised me, because I live in a suburban area that saw a flux of home buyers, which made prices approach ridiculous ranges. I wonder what in- and out-migration look like separately, on relative and absolute scales.

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Voting and vaccination rate

Danielle Ivory, Lauren Leatherby and Robert Gebeloff for The New York looked at voting from the 2020 election and vaccination rates at the state and county levels. The strength of correlation is surprising. The existence of the correlation is not.

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Particles on a plane

The CDC says it’s safe to travel now if you’re vaccinated, so you may or may not want to see this, but The New York Times shows how air particles circulate through an airplane.

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Tracking airfare as a proxy for summer travel plans

Quoctrung Bui and Sarah Kliff for NYT’s The Upshot used difference charts to show how current airfare prices are approaching 2019 prices, based on data from travel app Hopper. This seems to indicate that people are getting ready to travel again.

Because airfare is typically purchased weeks or months in advance, it can be a barometer of how the public is feeling about the pace of recovery. The prices in the Hopper data, which includes fares displayed over three years of searches (representing billions of flight queries), now suggest a travel recovery that could be in full effect as early as this summer.

The red shade between each line shows the difference between prices year-over-year. Usually the area color in difference charts reflects the metric that is greater, but in these, the area reflects the metric that is less. That confused me for a second. But I’m curious if you’re not familiar with difference charts, do you just see the pattern correctly right away?

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Visualizing risk of Johnson & Johnson vaccine side effect

As the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pauses in the United States, Philip Bump for The Washington Post offers a quick visualization that shows 100 vaccinations per second. A red one appears if there’s a side effect. But because the side effect is rare, currently at 1 in 1.1 million, the red dot on the visualization likely never appears as you watch. The blue dots are potential lives saved if the J&J vaccine continues.

I’m reminded of David Spiegelhalter’s video on understanding risk from over a decade ago. So many everyday activities carry risk. The only way we get through the day is not to avoid all risk, which is impossible, but to figure out what risk we’re willing to take.

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Vaccine efficacy rates explained

Vox explains efficacy rates and why the best vaccine is the one you get now:

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Vaccine efficacy rates explained

Vox explains efficacy rates and why the best vaccine is the one you get now:

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