Why I am on Medium

I have been posting information about the pandemic on Facebook for quite some time. More than once, people close to me have encouraged me to post my musings in a more accessible way, so here I am.

Background:

In the early months of the pandemic many in my friends circle, and a handful who were not, would read and comment on my posts, and doing those early days of media (and even epidemiologist) speculations I went out of my way to read research meant for peer-reviewed journals (things moved so quickly, I often resorted to pre-prints) and distill it down into a digestible form.

As more data became available, I began tracking the course of the pandemic by states. My approach was, and is, very unsophisticated, literally copying and pasting from reliable sources into a workbook and ginning up plots of the data the way I wanted to see it,* rather than taking the time to figure out how to suck the data into Python via a web API and automagically make my figures. With the availability of more online tools and to save myself some time, I started presenting mostly Bay Area and California state trends, adding and removing different topics as my circle requested or my interests changed.

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*It still blows my mind how infrequently data is presented on log scale graphs where new trends are much more easily visible. For instance, did you know the California “holiday surge” was clearly underway by 10/23, and the rate of increase in case rates was very nearly constant from that point all the way to 12/21 ? This was obvious on a log plot, and hard to see on linear scale plot.

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I have a background in science. I back up nearly everything science I write with peer reviewed research, or at least preprints and pointers to my data sources

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David Theil

David Theil

I have a background in science. I back up nearly everything science I write with peer reviewed research, or at least preprints and pointers to my data sources

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