Arquivo para a ‘Social Network’ Categoria

Work on pandemic network analysis

01 Oct

Chinese scientists have proposed a method of visually showing, in a simple way, the risk of a pandemic in regions with different degrees of connection, from the databases of infection cases (reported and confirmed by COVID-19) using network analysis, in article published by Elsevier in Journal of Disaster of Infections.

Network analysis has already been used in medical research for studies on gene coexpression, disease co-occurrence and topologies of the dynamics of the spread of infectious diseases.

The study looked at confirmed cases of COVID-19 in China from late January to March 2020 and these cases were divided into 9 time periods.

The graphs of networks constructed based on the correlation of changes in the number of confirmed cases between two geographic areas (for example, in the provinces of China), if the correlation was greater than 0.5 meant that the connected areas were in a network.

The pandemic risk was analyzed based on the frequencies in different regions connected in the network graphs, with this it was possible to assess the levels of co-evolution between the regions and, with this, to take measures according to each case.

What the study demonstrated was not just relying on reported and confirmed cases of COVID-19, network analysis provides data for a powerful and clear view of pandemic risk and network analysis can complement traditional modeling techniques, and seconds the authors of this data can provide more timely evidence to inform future preparation plans.

Future work quantifying the network connection should be considered in research and pandemic plans.

Soa, M.P.K; Tiwarib, Agnes; Chud, Amanda M.Y.; Tsangd , Jenny T.Y.; Chan, Jacky N. L.. Visualizing COVID-19 pandemic risk through network connectedness Mike. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 96, 2020, p. 558-561.   Available in: , Access: sept. 2020.




Weak ties and the pandemic

30 Sep

The weak ties are important in the theory of networks as we already showed in the previous post because they are the ones that can dynamize the networks and make them leave their niches and walk around others, but how is this on social media is the most interesting.

What Mark Gronovetter, a professor of sociology at Stanford University demonstrated with his article entitled The Strength of Weak Ties, is that not only does the quality of relationships between friends and family matter, quantity also matters, and this will be reflected in a another curious article by Duncan Watts and Stevie Strogatz.

They started to work with entomologist Tim Forrest to try to understand why the crickets at one time sang in unison when they reached a certain number of these insects in the forest, they also wanted to understand if this is related to the so-called six degrees of separation of the nets.

In perfectly regular networks, the neighbors of each node tend to be connected to each other, and this local redundancy, or “grouping”, acts as a natural stoppage of the spread, for example, of a virus, clearly, if all neighbors of an infected node are also already infected, the disease will have few places to go if they are isolated, already in a random network, means that all neighbors are likely to be infected.

The results seemed obvious, but what they found is that it is less obvious that when only a fraction of links on a regular network are randomly linked, diseases can spread almost also when on a random network, so by the theory of networks only Complete isolation from the grid can prevent contagion.

Their 1998 article in Nature, “Colletive dynamics of ´small-word´ networks” demonstrated the effect they have on a large scale from small worlds with six degrees of separation, and their influence for the current pandemic is that social isolation is necessary, and even more necessary would be the initial foci of the pandemic now spread throughout the country, and in few parts of the world there have been effective measures against its spread

However the Watts-Strogatz model is not generic, as there is a need for a fixed number of nodes, and thus it cannot be used for an expanding network, another model was made later by Barabasi and Reka Albert, called free-scale , this model also has limitations as it cannot work with high levels of nodes in real networks, so it also has limits to analyze, for example, a pandemic that affects millions of people worldwide.

What these historical works of analysis of social networks infer about the pandemic is that at a time when the pandemic has already become widespread, that is, the Barabási / Albert free scale, it is no longer possible to control only outbreaks and a protection measure on a large scale it is necessary, in short, broad social isolation.

It is clear that economic pressure should not leave this, and so the use of vaccine becomes essential, but what ?




The importance of weak links

29 Sep

In network theory, weak links are important, not in network media like facebook, instagram or other media, networks are forms of interpersonal relationships linked to certain interests and groups (hubs) that are important and could be more if they were understood dirty features and operating modes.

The weak link of a network, someone who is on the periphery of it and with little contact with the central group (the hubs) are in fact the great potential of these networks, in social life, in science and even in politics they were people with little connection with the power groups that made a difference.

Li from Alan Turing, creator of the modern digital computer model, who are “the times of people that nobody expects anything to do things that nobody can imagine”, he participated in a secret project at Bell Laboratories that unveiled the secret of the Enigma machine, of codification of messages of the Nazis during the 2nd. World War.

Einstein went to several schools, and it is not true that he was a poor student, he hated them all. his parents and teachers thought he had mental limitations, when in fact the school did not inspire him at all, he considered them weak.

Stevie Jobs, too, took little interest in his studies and was an easygoing student in the classroom, in a primary classroom when a teacher asked if they understood the universe, heard his reply that he did not understand “it is because we were so broke”.

Many are the simple people who point to a period of great difficulties, only media thinkers, networks of interests with audiences who want to hear certain responses to the current situation that are successful, in general they say that the pandemic is nothing, that when it passes let’s be happy, so it’s not just politicians looking at a complex reality with simplistic and poorly elaborated responses.

At the end of last week we said that “the last ones will be the first”, now we say something more than that, they are the ones that can make a difference, especially in the context of social and health severity that we are entering, in the “social network theory” Mark Granovetter, who studied the subject, explains that because they are distant, it is these weak ties that are able to take the message to be “shared” with people and groups from other circles, expanding the network.

GRANOVETTER, M. (1973). The strength of weak ties. In: American Journal of Sociology, University.




Hurry is the enemy of precaution

28 Sep

The country’s newspapers announce that Brazil will make an agreement to have the Russian vaccine, the race for the vaccine is causing some governments to abandon the precautionary measures necessary to arrive at a safe vaccine that does not cause even greater harm than pandemic, vaccine testing procedures are not any requirements, they are necessary and therefore the testing phase is long.

The data show that the pandemic is not controlled in Brazil, and that the data are growing in Europe, although in Italy, the growth is small, since restrictive measures are tougher, we enter autumn and winter will come.

The most optimistic deadlines were for December this year or the beginning of next year, some promising vaccines such as the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine that is also tested in Brazil by FioCruz and Pfizer that works in agreement with the German BioNTech, and make the forecast of vaccine for the end of the year, three more months can avoid lives and compensation.

 However, the desire to appear as saving heroes, to tell the world that we teach a lesson, and especially to relinquish the economic pressures of sectors that are little concerned with the lives that are being lost, make the rush give way to the necessary medical and sanitary precautions in the midst of the pandemic, which even in Russia is growing.

We have already posted here that the principle of the Pfizer vaccine is the messenger RNA (mRNA) technique that gives instructions to the body to guide the production of antigens that allow the immune system to react to the disease.

The pharmaceutical company also assesses the potential of tofacitinib and aziotromycin for the early treatment of Covid-19.

The Russian vaccine follows the same principle as the Chinese one being tested in Brazil in partnership with the Butantã Brazilian Institute, that of a reduced viral load that awakens the immune system that produces antibodies necessary to fight the virus, however this technique is questionable since the virus suffers mutations and viral load may not be harmless.

Caution is needed, but government and health officials appear to have entered the dangerous path of haste



If that night comes

24 Sep

Europe lives on the fear of a new wave of the pandemic, and yet the solidarity with those who die is still small, there is even an expression of feelings or some commotion, but the fraternal humanitarian feeling is localized to people who always walk in humanist actions in moments of crisis.

What would happen if there were any natural catastrophe or something that would call humanity to consciousness in an even more serious way, of course it is not desirable and this panic should not be spread, but hypothetically if a deeper night befalls humanity, perhaps a new awareness of the grave situation of civilization was thought and achieved on a large scale.

It is also visible that those who are most supportive are the last ones in social valorization, already living in a serious situation, the pandemic makes them more supportive, there fraternity is a necessity for human survival itself.

The night and the blindness is not announced now by the pandemic, here in this blog in several posts we call attention to the cultural, social and even religious night of humanity, the path of the civilizing process seems to be collapsing, that is, whoever observes history while over the last few centuries it has been clearly visible, two wars, a process of social isolation of cultures, races and creeds, prejudice against migrants and mainly an increase in inequality.

If the night comes, unlike those who imagine that humble lives are “wasted lives”, it will be the arrogant and opulent lives that are less prepared for a “civilizing night” already underway.

It was not the pandemic that made this emerge, it just made evident and palpable what has been in process for some time, but what should be asked is if there was an extended, visible night that puts us in check.

It is not an apocalyptic or even a prophetic vision, while respecting them, a deep look at the inhuman, violent and antisocial processes that are being experienced, the decay and the worsening of the crisis is there.

If the night comes, few will be prepared, only those who are already in supportive environments and processes, those who during the lull period worked and experienced the fraternal, humanity and supportive side of everyday life.



(Português) Pressupostos da intenção

22 Sep

Sorry, this entry is only available in Brazilian Portuguese.


The Covax vaccine agreement

21 Sep

The agreement of several countries to streamline the vaccine (Covax), including Brazil that signed at the last minute on Friday, provides for a minimum vaccination of 10% of the population (the option of Brazil) up to a maximum of 50% of the population , which once signed could not give up the compromised values, so Brazil signed at least, but this gives 42 million doses, it is not small and the risk is evident by the non-compliance with the whole testing protocol.

The government has not given up on the agreement already signed with AstraZeneca with the so-called “Oxford” vaccine that has the participation of the prestigious Brazilian Institute of FioCruz, while the government of the State of São Paulo promises to accelerate the process of the vaccine that is developed in China with participation USP – Butantan Institute.

The Brazilian agreement however provides that if the Oxford vaccine reaches the market first it may choose to maintain the bilateral vaccine purchase agreement, giving up the supply by the alliance, but it is likely that in the rush the Covax alliance will arrive first, then we will have to accept vaccination, which is fearful.

WHO director´s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on August 13 that “COVAX already has nine vaccine candidates in its portfolio, which are in phase 2 or 3 of the trials”, but interestingly Janssen Pharmaceutics and Pfizer vaccine are not there.

To work the alliance needs U $ 38 billion, but it has less than U $ 3 billion, so it may be that this falls on the shoulders of countries that enter the alliance just to comply with international agreements, also in the social and economic aspect the agreement it’s w orrying.

A priori the agreement is so that the poorest countries have the same access as rich countries to the vaccines that are most likely to succeed, less than 10 are in the testing phase, and the financial volume can make the game of interest more serious. , as well as letting the use in poorer countries not have the concern of rich countries, these would be a kind of guinea pig, the WHO claims the opposite says that “it is to guarantee the access of poor countries”.

Brazil will receive 42 million vaccines, if there are any problems who will be responsible for this, it is clear that they will say that it is the country itself, by signing the agreement, it becomes “aware” of the “risks”, although they are not mentioned.

Even if it is very camouflaged it is a game of interests that seems very clear, it is likely that the less wealthy countries will receive doses of the vaccine first, and if verified safe will be used in rich countries, it is not an easy thesis to be proven, but the pressure in the less wealthy countries it was huge and Brazil signed at the last minute without saying the real reason.

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela are among the countries that signed the agreement, and the Covax agreement is only part of the “Covid-19 Tool Access Accelerator”, or simply ACT Accelerator, which is the mechanism for response that WHO created for the pandemic, despite the term “accelerator” being avoided in interviews.

I hope to be wrong, but the economic game continues to prevail over the health of the population, especially the poor.



Justice and unemployment in the pandemic

18 Sep

The number of labor lawsuits and injustices that do not even reach the courts is expected to grow during the pandemic, according to expert data (some newspapers cite the Brazilian companies Datalawyer and FintedLab), indicate that this data should grow, among the complaints are the payment of monies. severance pay, for example the salary balance and a 40% fine on FGTS, Guarantee Fund for Length of Service in Brazil), and working conditions in the pandemic.

We have already stressed in previous posts the importance of seeking employability models that combat the sharp change in unemployment during the epidemic, which was already high in Brazil, now according to the Ministry of Economy, from March to April, about 8 million people. people lost their jobs or had their wages cut, with 1.1 million formal jobs having their contracts terminated, and informal ones have even more voluminous data.

It is fair to help and pay fair wages to these people, of course, the logic of reducing wages and abolishing jobs is not justified because the pandemic does not reduce demand in essential sectors, in addition to creating new demands such as online services, services home office, assistance in areas such as health, education and security is there.

The situation becomes even more serious with the increase in prices, this means that some sectors are benefiting from the crisis, in addition to the amazing corruption in the health area, with unused hospitals, embezzlement of funds and even medicines and equipment is simply criminal, burdens states and municipalities, and disfavors public policies for emergency assistance and aid.

There is a biblical passage where the parable of the vintner is told that needing workers for his vineyard, he leaves at 9 in the morning to pick up more workers and then at 3 in the afternoon to pick up more workers, he combines a silver coin with everyone, it seems unfair , but it is he who pays and combines the salary, and in fact corrects the injustice of unemployment.

He tells the workers that he hires at 3 pm (Mt 20, 6-7): “´Why are you there all day unoccupied they replied: ´Because nobody hired us´. The boss said to them: ´Go to my vineyard too´ “.

And they all received the same salary, nothing more fair, this should be the logic of combating unemployment in the pandemic.



The law of the weakest

17 Sep

All the logic, including part of the scientific logic, is in defense of the law of the strongest, the pandemic shows that also the weakest should be thought of, people who have comorbidities, the elderly, diabetics, obese, in short, those who are weakened by some disease or living conditions (age, for example, and life on the outskirts).

It was the name of a film by Hector Babenco, Pixote: the law of the weakest, which is based on a true story, and which was starring by actor Fernando Ramos da Silva, the real Pixote of real life, that the director of the film knew, came dying shortly after the film, killed by police in city Diadema, in the neighborhood of  São Paulo, Brazil.

The film tells the story of a boy who, without having met his parents, goes to live on the street, and after the theft of a wallet by a judge, he goes to a juvenile recovery institution in Brazil, FEBEM, which should be a re-education house, but in fact it is where they suffer abuse, violence, humiliation and may even lose their lives.

Thinking about the weakest means looking at a society and wishing for greater balance, in addition to income distribution, the treatment of dignity for all, respect and protection for those who for some reason become fragile in a social context of competition, consumption and inhumanity , where they will inevitably suffer even more if there is no protection.

The situation of the pandemic, in addition to exposing the medical fragility of many people, aggravates the situation of income distribution, which puts millions of people in a situation of despair and anguish, only a major turn of love and fraternity can prevent social and social chaos. even a civilizing crisis already in process.

Of course, each one can do their little part, but the policies developed by governments at different levels of public administration must be thought about those who work in the informal sector, in addition to the unemployment rate that was already high before the pandemic, those who need immediate help. and the way out of the crisis.

If you think only of the central engines of the economy, the result takes time to reach formal employment, then other emergency solutions can be thought of, such as: work fronts, micro-enterprises and assistance to small businesses that can employ a lot of people in the short term.

It is time for solidarity, unfortunately it is not what is seen anywhere, not even in those who say they are really concerned and who seek more denunciation than initiative and support for good initiatives, it is time for solidarity.



Because the issue of poverty is not resolved

16 Sep

It is not only due to the factors of inequality, the flow of wealth that always runs in one direction depends on the imbalance of areas such as education, infrastructures not only for health, but also for transport and sources of regional and national wealth, and for this external assistance is essential.

The relationship between foreign aid and combating global poverty is positive and effective, say reports from many forums.

Perhaps some of the strongest examples of the effectiveness of foreign aid are the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, but the goals have not been achieved, domestic corruption and inefficient foreign aid.

These goals, proposed by the United Nations and ratified by all countries in the world, aimed at: reducing poverty, hunger and child mortality, but local and regional development plans were timidly attacked.

The so-called Borgen Project was actually aimed at the actions of local capitalists and outside interests,

Global Poverty and Foreign Aid: What Works

The objectives proposed and ratified by all were:

– reduce poverty, hunger and child mortality;

– achieving universal primary education, gender equality and environmental sustainability;

– improving general health, fighting treatable diseases; and

– act as a global partnership for development.

They seem praiseworthy and hardly anyone would fail to support these plans, but the local application was to reduce birth rates, environmental sustainability without development, and treatable diseases are not really attacked, still childhood diseases persist, malaria is common in many regions of the country. Africa and there is a risk now of the pandemic.

There remains the fundamental problem of the global partnership for development, where one must look at interests, culture and what is socially valued locally, and unfortunately the colonialist mentality still prevails, the so-called decolonization comes to face this issue.

A process that contemplates this new process must be considered, observing authors and local cultures.