UCI News

ABC News, Jan. 9, 2021
Capitol Hill riot could prove to be COVID-19 superspreader event, experts say
Experts also said they are worried about COVID-19 spreading to lawmakers or their staff, many of whom were barricaded in close proximity as the mob churned outside their office doors. … “Anyone who spent 15 or more minutes within 6 feet of Rep. LaTurner should consider themselves as a potential exposure, and should therefore quarantine for 10 days,” said Andrew Noymer, a professor of public health at University of California, Irvine. “In some ways, the whole US of A is one giant superspreader event at the moment.”

The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 8, 2021
The ‘Small-Cap Effect’ Isn’t Dead, After All
The small-cap effect refers to the long-term tendency of small-capitalization stocks to outperform the large-caps. … According to just-released research, the small-cap effect now exists almost exclusively within the group of stocks within the S&P 500. … The authors of this new research— Hao Jiang of Michigan State University, Dimitri Vayanos of the London School of Economics, and Lu Zheng [professor of finance] of the University of California, Irvine—argue that the ultimate cause of this change has been the growth of index funds, and in particular index funds benchmarked to the S&P 500. They found evidence that this growth has led the average large-cap stock within the S&P 500 to become overvalued. [Subscription required, campus-wide access provided by UCI Libraries. Sign-up here: https://guides.lib.uci.edu/news/wsj]

Los Angeles Times, Jan. 10, 2021
New evidence that U.K. coronavirus variant spreads more easily has scientists really worried
“If you gave me one piece of evidence from these studies, I’d say I don’t fully buy it,” said UC Irvine biostatistician Vladimir Minin, who was not involved in either study. “But the authors have provided quite a bit of evidence that even the more skeptical among us could not dismiss. This is pretty solid evidence that this is really a faster-spreading virus.” [Subscription required, you can request an electronic copy of the article by sending an email to communications@uci.edu.]

PBS – NOVA Next, Jan. 7, 2021
I’ve been exposed to Covid-19. When should I get tested?
For purposes of contact tracing in the U.S., an “exposure” to COVID-19 involves having spent more than 10 minutes at less than 6 feet from someone who is infected while wearing no personal protection, says Ilhem Messaoudi, a viral immunologist at the University of California, Irvine. “When contact tracers go around and assess risk, that’s the kind of question they’ll ask: Where were you, how long did you interact, were you wearing a mask?” she says.

National Geographic, Jan. 8, 2021
Why people latch on to conspiracy theories, according to science
Trump has “weaponized motivated reasoning,” says Peter Ditto, a social psychologist at the University of California, Irvine. He “incited a mob, and weaponized natural human tendencies.” … Humans evolved in groups that competed with one another, sculpting our minds to be wary of outsiders and loyal to our factions, Ditto says. His 2019 study found that this kind of bias “is a natural and nearly ineradicable feature of human cognition.”

Previously “In the News”