Pandemic Diary #81 – oral therapies for covid, also my brain is a pile of goo, but it’s spring so that’s nice

covid pills

went to walgreens, they had a little take-away flyer with pfizer advert for oral therapy for covid. to be taken within 5 days symptom onset and before hospital.

both pfizer and merck have pills

my notes on it

It is legit (not just a drug company commercial), Biden doing a test-to-treat program nationwide, and so partnering with chains like walgreens. [5]

See the fact sheet at [1] (there is a chinese version too [9] fwiw)

There seems to be two antivirals combos, one from merck one from pfizer.

the merck placebo trial had ~30% risk reduction (of progressing from mild/moderate to hospitalization or death) [2] , pfizer had 88% reduction [4] [8]. But note! no one was vaxxed. (merck trial started oct 2020, pfizer trial started jul 2021 [6], but they specifically excluded vaxxed people) [3]

But it’s only given before entering hospital. Not observed to be helpful after in hospital due to covid19 already. both emergency use authorized, but not FDA approved.

I do see something about kidney disease, if you have renal impairment it affects whether / how much recommended to take.

There’s a list of other EUA drugs here [10]

{3] merck
{4] pfizer
[6] pfizer epichr
[7] merck moveout

drugs and variants

it’s interesting to go through the FDA list of emergency use authorized (but not! approved) drugs and see some (Eg Sotrovimab) get their EUA revoked as the variants mean they are no longer effective. both cool we were able to get drugs so fast and a bit alarming they’ve gone out of date

the vax effort. here we are on what… 4th shot? for people 50+. meanwhile many countries have barely gotten a first round in. there will continue to be variants in that case. but we all want to believe it’s over.

shanghai covid outbreak was intense (at least as measured by locking down the entire city), i thought it would go the way of australia (they gave up on zero covid, maybe new zealand did too?) but it sounds like it’s coming back under control.

changing norms, spring and BA.2

BA.2 is causing spiking in cases. GA has dropped to only updating case counts weekly. my roomies and i need to talk about our procedures going forward… I think we will all start taking more risks now that it’s spring (aggressively so) but there’s probably some common sense measures to mitigate the risk

outdoors bbq now possible with propane

masks are optional on planes now — there was supposed to be an evaluation period but some judge ruling came through recently

not enough people ordered the 4 free tests so we get a second set now (also insurance is supposed to cover 8 per month per person, but it’s unclear if you can get beforehand, or has to be reimbursed)

and harvard dropped to optional testing also, but still an option at least which is nice of them i guess. easy pcr testing

(just got an email about an uptick among grad students)


w0rd there’s a war going on in europe involving billions of dollars of weapons. and i hardly hear of it / think of it in day-to-day, unless I go out of my way to look at eg bbc news.

looks like peace isn’t soon. 😡 weird to think about. went for hoping for quick peace to now ukraine digging in according to the links below, they think can win back ukrainian territory under russian control). vs russia probably still wants all of ukraine but having failed that I guess wants to turn ukraine into essentially a landlocked state


i have so much work to do, and i’m starting to get the anxieties i did as a startup founder. the feeling like i could be doing more if only i was someone else, lived another life.

should i be trying to run workshops, write grant proposals, hold hackathons, etc. Getting work done is great, but now that I’ve started, it’s hard to hold back the feeling of futility, the worry that I’m running on a wheel and getting nowhere. I KNOW in general research is like that — life is like that — you can spend a lot of time and get no recognition and it could all go to waste anyway

(recently learned about the fight against TB in ukraine, 15 yrs of work wiped out)

but it drags on me. need to just enjoy the day-to-day of learning things instead of wondering if i’m wasting my skills applying them to useless things

it’s nice to talk to profs who have dreams though and believe things can be accomplished because they’ve accomplished them

( i guess i accomplished op-eds too )

i didn’t want to get pigeonholed into my current work but i guess that only happens in academia not industry

it’s a little exhausting sometimes being around people who are really steeped into the academic mindset

but yea it’s nice to be making code progress again and complaining about that. i found this in my code the other day

… wow.


lasers are nice, time to sell mine at home in GA (leave the past behind!!!)

3d printers are @#$% keep breaking, swapped nozzle and somehow caused firmware to glitch and break the z axis (would only go down from starting position), and in process of fixing that now y motor doesn’t turn at all

living in boston, spring is so much to be appreciated w.r.t. catching up with people while not catching covid

i got my google home mini to talk to me in chinese! turns out on assistant you can select three varieties of chinese (mainland, hong kong, taiwan). but for the speaker to talk back to you in chinese, you can only select taiwan

codewars goes well (‘sfun) and set up accountability meeting for stats also

ok tbd stuff below

  • nozzles
  • (also started on a bird classifier) – mostly fighting sd card so far
  • my 3d print designs

Pandemic Diary #80 – it’s spring, time to … ??

ive def gotten more work done on the right things since last posting, but i’m not sure it counts as hustling, and it def hasn’t made me feel any better. maybe i’ve spent so much time in my room hustling that i need to go out and water and sun myself or something

today is the day

to get ten minutes of exercise

mentally i’ve kind of moved on from russia-ukraine compared to reading the bbc each day. weird to think about.

npr shortwave is nice

bbc more or less is great, they went into why the nytimes headline about russia urkaine 1/4 wheat or something doesn’t actually mean a shortfall of 25%

i guess i need something i can measure progress in vs research which i am just so depressed to think about it feels like i’ll never get anywhere with that and i’ll just be poor forever and fail out

i’ve totally given up on yoga even ! it was way easier to commit to and i actually went when it was cold out a few times, i’m not sure what’s wrong with my brain

ok, fix my bike, bike to costco, buy cheesecake (it’s that state again where i’m scared that whatever i do might make things worse)

i should go into the lab more. maybe on days i have no internship meetings (wed and fri?). and try to do at least 10 hrs/week of contract work. having more fun budget might help. or take up climbing?? puzzles????

doing codewars with friends — i defended it as, you’re really just executing algorithms when playing boardgames too. but i’ve actually grown to really like it. maybe it’s the people i play with. though, i’ve yet to push my boundaries and learn the algorithm-y stuff i should.

maybe i need to be able to binge things when learning, so that’s what’s holding me back from edx…

after vaccines, i’ve become so much less judgemental about other people’s choices. it was an interesting tension in the past. thinking that travelling for leisure was a questionable decision to make societally. or eating indoors. but nowadays these choices feel much more like personal comfort decisions than community pandemic decisions, somehow. i judged myself really harshly for going to malta.

yea, the b-level malta conference, my lack of brand name internship, my lack of like anything, with regard to being 5 years in. it’s probably the main issue here. so i need to… yea… get work done ! stop worrying about normal daily mood fluctuations and introspecting so hard. go volunteer or something meaningful with my time. raise a cat or something, though having a litter box in the same 7×10 ft room … I’m not sure how that’ll work… maybe something smaller than the litter robot in the living room?

there’s always this wiggling around where i think there’s some secret sauce people have that i’m missing. but for all i know there are habits of mine people are thinking, if only they could contort their working rhythms into something similar, they could do better

hm was an interesting history perspective. “a new book argues that the conflict was a battle for empire” is the byline. the idea the framing of democracy-totaliarinism is this western narrative that turns wwii into “good winning” rather than a self-interested fight for colonies. and the idea of the US thinking of “the goodness of war” which i can see the logic of – the US as the world’s policeman. that our intense defense spending is a good thing that keeps the world order intact. (if we model nations as self-interested, it makes sense that nations who aren’t on top in this order would want to change it)

and learned about france. straight up did not know that there was a european union country in south america – french guiana ! that uses the euro and everything. i thought i knew about empire, but i clearly do not

Pandemic Diary #79 – it’s spring, time to hustle

the rat ladder (or is it rat wheel)


i have somehow fallen back into being deeply unhappy about my pay, i don’t think there should be a “we can pay you less b/c you just care about the kids” kinda tax on this work, f*k that

can’t blame the system, just hustle harder

things to not care about:

  • where i should be
  • that i am not great at cooking
  • not great at a healthy lifestyle / exercise
  • people who don’t think i should be paid
  • offending some people (we’re all headed to the same destination in the end anyway)

those can be worked on in a year ! and i can be good at other things (like sailing)

appreciate who i am and what i have, then strive for even better

go on the offensive, not defensive; i’ll make a name plate for myself that gives me a title and i’ll fake it until i make it

and just be okay that i am who i am, don’t need to go emulate whatever i think other people i think are more successful do,

(a rabbit learning from a horse how to cross the same river will drown)

goals: finish this classifier in a week (RL contract work over weekend), finish robot arm demo in a month (work on knife-throwing after), bank work – friday goal

because i am actually smart enough to do so !

uh, pandemic diary:

putin’s war is 42 days in, given up on capital,

photos of people throwing other people in a big ditch, wrapped up in the same household stuff I have: comforters, rugs, bath robes

a tank rolling down the streets and just firing on a huge apartment building as if it were a video game

reading spy x family: hilarious, but the idea of finding the limbs/arm of my loved ones torn off and just lying sticking out of wall rubble. somehow got to me. visceral.

(being behind on rent. making ends meet by staging photos: a “country starving under dictatorship” by throwing a kid’s toy in the trash and taking photos of them “digging for food in the trash”. then getting dragged away.)

(how a normal happy-go-lucky person, that positive energy, motivated of love for their country and their family living there to interrogate people for the SSS)

(another visceral scene from a book. still remember the story in melinda gate’s book. the sex worker who prostituted herself out of love for her daughter, to support her daughter through school. then when the daughter’s friends found out and shamed the daughter for it, the daughter killed herself)

biden taking a stand and calling putin a war criminal vs ending war sooner – what is the more moral thing to do?

BA.2 on the rise again even as i take more risks (indoor dining this week, likely). i’m so eager for the weather to turn warm so i don’t have to take these risks anymore to social with new people without just straight up inviting new people to my aptmt with all my roommates

abortion rights being curtailed – ga state passing bill to ban mail-in abortions. supreme court upholding rights in texas for state to pay for bounties on women. it’s sickening.

hurry up! earn money so i can support the fight (does it matter? but it must, otherwise nothing matters)

elections coming up again, put myself on a solid footing by november so i’m in a place to volunteer

is it wrong to have a FAANG / whatever goal? (will i thrive if i’m not working on missions i care about?) no! i’m doing a phd in cs at harvard; i’ve got publications; stop listening to the people who would tear me down (even the ones in my head / my projections of the real people)

the unreliability of case numbers as cases go down (noise starts to overwhelm small signal), rapid tests increase (those aren’t reported). i’m definitely taking on more risks now that i know i can get regularly tested for free. and as i get a feedback of taking risks and not getting sick. (where is my red line? i keep moving it)

and the huge outbreak in china (entire shanghai locked down, crazy !!)

changed so much now in third year of pandemic. remember when i used to batch stores for a monthly trip, freak out if people where closer than 6 ft in a store, shower immediately after, decontaminate mail, … access to tests makes such a difference. the mask wearing and the hand washing stays though