Mantic Monday: Judging April COVID Predictions




In April 2020, I made my yearly predictions, and many of them were about the (then new) coronavirus pandemic.

Two other people on Less WrongZvi and Bucky, decided to test themselves against me by trying to predict the same questions. Zvi saw my answers beforehand; Bucky didn’t. Here’s how we did (except where otherwise stated, all predictions are for 12/31/20):

Author(s): Scott Alexander

Publication Date: 22 February 2021

Publication Site: Astral Codex Ten

Covid 2/18: Vaccines Still Work



Oh, right, you came here to learn about Covid-19 news. The short news is great. Infections and deaths are down much faster than anticipated. The vaccine news is less great. The process continues to accelerate, but that acceleration was slower than expected, and there’s still lots of FUD about what vaccinated people can and can’t ‘safely’ do and little movement yet towards saner policy in other ways, although there are signs of moving in that direction. The new strains aren’t here in force yet, but it seems likely that will happen soon.

One potentially big thing we learned is the study from infected NBA players, which suggests that the English strain causes infections to play out over a longer period of time than the classic strain, with all the implications of that.

Another was that it got even clearer than it already was that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are highly effective after only one dose, and that First Doses First would be a vast improvement while we continue to have much less vaccine than we need.

Author(s): TheZvi

Publication Date: 18 February 2021

Publication Site: Don’t Worry About the Vase

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



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