Emergent Ventures Covid-19 prizes, second cohort

There is another round of prize winners, and I am pleased and honored to announce them:

1. Petr Ludwig.

Petr has been instrumental in building out the #Masks4All movement, and in persuading individuals in the Czech Republic, and in turn the world, to wear masks.  That already has saved numerous lives and made possible — whenever the time is right — an eventual reopening of economies.  And I am pleased to see this movement is now having an impact in the United States.

Here is Petr on Twitter, here is the viral video he had a hand in creating and promoting, his work has been truly impressive, and I also would like to offer praise and recognition to all of the people who have worked with him.

2. www.covid19india.org/

The covid19india project is a website for tracking the progress of Covid-19 cases through India, and it is the result of a collaboration.

It is based on a large volunteer group that is rapidly aggregating and verifying patient-level data by crowdsourcing.They portray a website for tracking the progress of Covid-19 cases through India and open-sources all the (non-personally identifiable) data for researchers and analysts to consume. The data for the react based website and the cluster graph are a crowdsourced Google Sheet filled in by a large and hardworking Ops team at covid19india. They manually fill in each case, from various news sources, as soon as the case is reported. Top contributor amongst 100 odd other code contributors and the maintainer of the website is Jeremy Philemon, an undergraduate at SUNY Binghamton, majoring in Computer Science. Another interesting contribution is from Somesh Kar, a 15 year old high school student at Delhi Public School RK Puram, New Delhi. For the COVID-19 India tracker he worked on the code for the cluster graph. He is interested in computer science tech entrepreneurship and is a designer and developer in his free time. Somesh was joined in this effort by his brother, Sibesh Kar, a tech entrepreneur in New Delhi and the founder of MayaHQ.

3. Debes Christiansen, the head of department at the National Reference Laboratory for Fish and Animal Diseases in the capital, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands.

Here is the story of Debes Christiansen.  Here is one part:

A scientist who adapted his veterinary lab to test for disease among humans rather than salmon is being celebrated for helping the Faroe Islands avoid coronavirus deaths, where a larger proportion of the population has been tested than anywhere in the world.

Debes was prescient in understanding the import of testing, and also in realizing in January that he needed to move quickly.

Please note that I am trying to reach Debes Christiansen — can anyone please help me in this endeavor with an email?

Here is the list of the first cohort of winners, here is the original prize announcement.  Most of the prize money still remains open to be won.  It is worth noting that the winners so far are taking the money and plowing it back into their ongoing and still very valuable work.


I'm very happy that Petr is amongst the winners.

I think you can find Debes' contact details here.


Or if not there, then here - http://www.eurl-fish.eu/NRLs/NRL_Contact_Information/The-Faroe-Islands

Can you imagine getting an unsolicited e-mail saying you have won a prize? Assuming that the spam filter would allow it through in the first place, it is difficult to imagine anyone responding to such an offer. Which is kind of funny, in its way - someone actually trying to hand out money finds it difficult to do so. Or, to be a bit silly, America’s prize awarders are failing — they can’t even give money away.

Imagine if Emergent Ventures were based in Nigeria!

1. Masks (other than N-95 masks) don't protect the wearer from covid-19, masks protect others from the covid-19 that the wearer of the mask may have. Everyone should wear a mask in public because the wearer may have covid-19 and not know it. On the other hand, those who don't understand this distinction may believe wearing a mask protects the wearer from covid-19, inducing the wearer to go places (to the grocery store, etc.) that the wearer otherwise would not go. I work with health care providers and was offered N-95 masks. I declined the offer, not because I am stupid (the N-95 does help protect the wearer), but because there's a shortage of N-95 masks. I'll stay home. It's telling that we have to mislead in order to get people to wear masks in public. On the other hand, people should be accustomed to being misled (lied to). After all, our president misleads every time he opens his mouth, and yet his followers believe his every word.

So masks should be required for grocery cashiers, but they are not

Cashiers are a nexus. Tough job. They touch all the product, which has just been touched by all the customers.

If this were to go on long we'd pretty much have to go to RFID hands-free checkout.

And fwiw, I don't think masks are so clearly *just* for wearer or others. Every mask at the margin reduces transmission, and in aggregate that matters.

It helps if everyone has good mask discipline. The next hurdle.

"I don't think masks are so clearly *just* for wearer or others."

That wasn't clear. I meant not just for the wearer or other people in the same room.

Masks benefit people a hundred miles away.

Surgical masks also reduce viral load for the wearer, either potentially preventing infection or reducing severity.

“Masks (other than N-95 masks) don't protect the wearer from covid-19,”

Of course they don’t. They do, however, provide some, but not total or fool-proof, protection against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

The persistent, baseless, media-propagated meme that only N95 masks or others of that grade offer any level of protection against viral transmission is, beyond having been proved wrong a dozen times, simply not facially credible; the real idea hiding behind the meme is that commoners should be discouraged from using up PPE and discouraged from feeling like they can take measures to make themselves safer, because they are too stupid to stay home if they are not kept in a perpetual state of terror that there is no way to defend themselves except through obedience.

Properly used, coca-cola can also reduce the chance of pregnancy. Yet strangely, no one uses coca-cola as a contraceptive. At least not for long.

3. Hospitals (and the politicians they support) wan to commandeer ambulatory (outpatient) surgery centers (ASCs) for use as ICUs for covid-19 patients. CMS opposes the move. Why? Because CMS appreciates the importance of keeping ASCs (and other non-hospital health facilities) covid-free. Using a veterinary lab for covid testing may well expose animals (and the people they are around) to covid. If your friend uses his house to do covid testing, do you want to have dinner at his house?

C-19 virus transmission via infected surfaces is rare methinks... person-to-person more common

I'm a big fan of Tyler but this thing comes across as cringy and silly

they don't even know that they are competing for the prize so there are no incentive effects.

@yeah, yeah but if there's anything to ratex, in the future these kind of people might be incentivised. Doubtful but possibly.

@Wow - are you a student of HIStory? A fan of Sir Robert Peel? (Wikipedia) Historian A. J. P. Taylor wrote: "Peel was in the first rank of 19th century statesmen. He carried Catholic Emancipation; he repealed the Corn Laws; he created the modern Conservative Party on the ruins of the old Toryism."

I have seen now these full face transparent masks available for sale and also being used. These masks fully cover the face but of course there are gaps around the edges. I wonder if they are more effective than the traditional cloth mask? At least with these type of masks you cannot touch your face.

I think the clear face mask is meant to be secondary to the breathing mask. Most frequent contact would be to the lungs, but secondary might be moisture directly landing on the eyes.

You may be right, but it would be nice if there was some more definitive information. Maybe I am over simplifying but it seems pretty easy to design a full face mask that seals well enough to prevent ingress of any germs, but also provides good airflow and vision. A cloth mask looks very 19C tech to me. Maybe some company is already working on this, no stagnation in mask technology please.

I went looking for something I had seen, a 3D printed adapter to make full face scuba masks into COVID masks.


Holy smokes there is now a US national institutes of health 3D printing hub!

I hope we don't need them in the general public, but perhaps for someone immune compromised.

Incredible. Peter Ludwig.. a man who was sponsoring advertisments for his webinars and book, as he was doing a video full of wrong things on masks. A man, who describes values he him self does not. No critical thinking, fact checking or discussion. All the work was done by someone else, he was just manipulating people by saying things, that were not true.. He actually sayed very dangerous things like advising people to behave and look differently at people, which do not have a mask. Advising people to caugh in their selfmade masks, while not using your elbow. Telling people they are safe with masks and that they stop the spread. Lying about the findings in studies he used. Banning or deleting messages from people which disagreed or tried to discuss the dangerous side of his advice to people. He is just a populist, who wanted to make money, while not being interested in what it will cost others. At you even give this guy a price, so he succeeds twice. Incredible. Its like paying a thief, that did his job very well. And I am definetly not the only one who sees it this way. I did talk to this man, I have seen how he talks to people, I live in the Czech Republic and I have also been talking to people, that worked for him. Giving this man a price is just showing how easy it is to be an "instant hero" and getting money through attention and lies. Wrap that up in colors and fill it with false hope.

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