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Covid: The next issue

Summary:
I don’t see much discussion in the media of an issue that will soon take front and center stage. In America, over 700 people die of Covid each day. Almost all of the deaths are among people who have not been vaccinated. Within a few weeks, almost all of the deaths will be among people who chose not to be vaccinated. Of course each of those deaths is just as tragic as anyone else.  But what will be the implication of that fact for public policy? For private policy? This will be an issue worth watching, and I expect a lot of disagreement between various factions (as usual). Again, this issue will blow up within weeks. BTW, most old people have already been vaccinated: I’ve been a frequent critic of almost all aspects of our approach to vaccinations.  One of my

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I don’t see much discussion in the media of an issue that will soon take front and center stage. In America, over 700 people die of Covid each day. Almost all of the deaths are among people who have not been vaccinated.

Within a few weeks, almost all of the deaths will be among people who chose not to be vaccinated. Of course each of those deaths is just as tragic as anyone else.  But what will be the implication of that fact for public policy? For private policy? This will be an issue worth watching, and I expect a lot of disagreement between various factions (as usual). Again, this issue will blow up within weeks.

BTW, most old people have already been vaccinated:

Covid: The next issue

I’ve been a frequent critic of almost all aspects of our approach to vaccinations.  One of my complaints has been that the system is overly complex, and that as a result the vaccines would end up going disproportionately to people who were most able to hack the system.  Now there is evidence that this group is disproportionately highly educated:

Covid: The next issue

That fits in with what I’ve observed in my daily life.  “Here’s what you need to tell them.”  “No one checks.”  We should have rationed by money, or perhaps by age.

I’ve also been a fan of the British approach to vaccine delivery, which focused on getting as many first doses out as quickly as possible, before worrying about the second dose.  The FT reports that this approach has been a success:

Some 93 per cent of recipients of the Pfizer inoculation and 87 per cent of those who had the AstraZeneca shot showed spike protein-specific antibodies, likely to have been induced by the vaccine. Responses were stronger for people who had recovered from Covid-19.

“There’s increasing evidence that as a health care measure this decision to delay the vaccine has worked in the UK. We’ve got very good clinical protection from the one dose scheduling,” Moss said.

I would add that if the US had adopted this approach a few months back, thousands of lives would have been saved.  When I recommend this approach for the US, people said we don’t have enough data yet.  Well, what’s the excuse today?

I’ve been a long time critic of the FDA (and our broader regulatory apparatus), and it seems like hardly a day goes by without further examples of why we need to abolish this bureaucracy.  As an aside, I should apologize to Europe.  When they delayed their vaccine rollout due to a trivial blood clot issue, I remember thinking to myself, “What’s wrong with those people”.  Well, now “those people” include my fellow Americans.

Here’s what I don’t get about progressives.  If a private corporation were killing even 1% as many people as the FDA is killing, there’d be cries of outrage.  So why isn’t there more outrage about the FDA?  Where are the “Defund the FDA” signs?

PS.  A year ago I suggested that began by underreacting to Covid and would end up overreacting.  Check this out.

Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment". In May 2012, Chicago Fed President Charles L. Evans became the first sitting member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to endorse the idea.

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