Online-Trading Platform Will Let Investors Bet on Yes-or-No Questions

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/online-trading-platform-will-let-investors-bet-on-yes-or-no-questions-11613557800

Excerpt:

Kalshi Inc. expects to launch in March. It plans to let users bet on “yes” or “no” answers to questions about future events. For instance, had the platform existed last year, it might have asked users whether a Covid-19 vaccine would be approved by the end of 2020.

The San Francisco-based startup hopes to benefit from surging interest in trading by individual investors. Individuals have jumped into stocks and options during the past year, using apps like those offered by Robinhood Markets Inc. Kalshi also hopes its marketplace will be used by people and businesses looking to hedge against risks that they face from future events.

Kalshi’s fundraising round comes after it won approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in November to run a derivatives exchange. Sequoia led the Series A round, which brings the total money raised by Kalshi since its 2018 founding to about $36 million.

Author(s): Alexander Osipovich

Publication Date: 17 February 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Coronavirus: Links, Discussion, Open Thread

Link: https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/coronavirus-links-discussion-open

Graphic:

Excerpt:

R in most US states right now is closely clustered around 1. Mutant strains are more contagious, enough to bring the R0 up to 1.5 or so. But having a lot of the population vaccinated will bring it back down again. Also, I’m acting like there’s some complex-yet-illuminating calculation we can do here, but realistically none of this matters. It’s not a coincidence that all US states are closely clustered around 1. It’s the control system again – whenever things look good, we relax restrictions (both legally and in terms of personal behavior) until they look bad again, then backpedal and tighten restrictions. So we oscillate between like 0.8 and 1.2 (I made those numbers up, I don’t know the real ones). If vaccines made R0 go to 0.5 or whatever, we would loosen some restrictions until it was back at 1 again. So unless we overwhelm the control system, R0 will hover around 1 in the summer too, and the only question is how strict our lockdowns will be.

In autumn, if we haven’t already vaccinated everyone there’s a risk things will get worse again because of the seasonal effect. Also, for all we know maybe the virus will have mutated even further and become even more vaccine resistant. Now what?

Author(s): Scott Alexander

Publication Date: 15 February 2021

Publication Site: Astral Codex Ten at Substack

COVID-19 Numbers Continue to Look Better

Link: https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2021/02/04/covid-19-numbers-continue-to-look-better/

Graphic:

Excerpt:

The top federal COVID-19 tracking team says key pandemic intensity indicators improved last week.

The U.S. death rate increased slightly, but the number of new cases fell, and the percentage of people tested who actually had the virus that causes COVID-19 also fell, according to the White House COVID-19 Team Data Strategy and Execution Workgroup.

Author(s): Allison Bell

Publication Date: 4 February 2021

Publication Site: Think Advisor

COVID-19 Severity Prediction

Link: https://covidseverity.com//

Graphic:

Excerpt:

The Yu Group at UC Berkeley Statistics / EECS / CCB is working to help forecast the severity of the epidemic for individual counties and hospitals in the US. We develop interpretable models (updated daily) and curate data to predict the trajectory of COVID-19-related deaths. This website provides access to those predictions, in the form of interactive visualizations. We are collaborating with Response4Life to blunt the effect of COVID-19 through the production and appropriate distribution of PPE, medical equipment, and medical personnel to healthcare facilities across the United States.

For hospital level prediction, please go to our hospitalization prediction page where one can upload data for a specific hospital and download prediction results for the given hospital. The uploaded data will only be temporarily used for prediction and will not be collected.GITHUB

Author(s): Yu Group, UC Berkeley Statistics / EECS / CCB

Accessed Date: 10 February 2021

Covid-19’s Hit to State and Local Revenues Is Smaller Than Many Feared

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/covid-19s-hit-to-state-and-local-revenues-is-smaller-than-many-feared-11612706030

Excerpt:

Immediately after the coronavirus outbreak last March, states slashed revenue projections by an average of about 8%, with some expecting shortfalls as high as 20%. Those projections were largely based on experiences during the 2007-09 recession.

In the end, state revenues fell 1.6% in fiscal year 2020 and were 3.4% lower than projected before the pandemic, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers. While states expect revenues to decline 4.4% in fiscal 2021, 18 states are seeing revenues come in above forecast.

Author(s): Kate Davidson

Publication Date: 7 February 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Slow Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout, New Variants Shift Some Business Plans

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/slow-covid-19-vaccine-rollout-shifts-some-business-plans-11612702801?mod=djemwhatsnews

Excerpt:

Consumers are unlikely to resume travel, dining out and shopping in stores at a pre-pandemic cadence until later this year, chiefs of some large companies told Wall Street analysts and investors in recent weeks. Some CEOs said consumer activity could pick up as soon as spring. Others pointed to a recovery later in the year—or even 2022.

“Let me underscore that progress on economic growth is contingent on an effective vaccine rollout program globally,” said Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO David Solomon. “In its absence, economic recovery will be unnecessarily delayed.”

The pandemic has unevenly bolstered and derailed growth prospects; divided workforces into staff able to shelter at home and those who must report in person for duty; and reshaped consumer purchasing as stay-at-home orders change. The rapid shifts have complicated financial forecasts and made consumer behavior hard to predict.

Author(s): Sarah Krouse

Publication Date: 7 February 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal