Monday , October 25 2021
Home / Scott Sumner /There are no non-Bayesians in a COVID foxhole

There are no non-Bayesians in a COVID foxhole

Summary:
There is some level of danger that pushes even the most stubborn government bureaucracies to start acting semi-rationally. Tyler Cowen has a brilliant new post that clearly demonstrates that the US has not reached that point. But things are much worse in the UK, due to a new variant of Covid-19 that spreads much more rapidly. As a result, the UK has switched to the “first dose first” approach, which is very likely to save lives.  And even if it doesn’t, the approach can be reversed at a far smaller cost than if the alternative view is correct. The UK is already beginning to make substantial progress in vaccinating old people, who are of course much more likely to die of Covid-19: Prime Minister Boris Johnson said 23% of all over-80s in England have now been given a

Topics:
Scott Sumner considers the following as important: , , , , , ,

This could be interesting, too:

David Henderson writes Jay Bhattacharya on Uncommon Knowledge

David Henderson writes The FDA’s War Against the Truth on Ivermectin

Scott Sumner writes Further thoughts on Washington State

Scott Sumner writes Some thoughts on modernism

There is some level of danger that pushes even the most stubborn government bureaucracies to start acting semi-rationally. Tyler Cowen has a brilliant new post that clearly demonstrates that the US has not reached that point.

But things are much worse in the UK, due to a new variant of Covid-19 that spreads much more rapidly. As a result, the UK has switched to the “first dose first” approach, which is very likely to save lives.  And even if it doesn’t, the approach can be reversed at a far smaller cost than if the alternative view is correct.

The UK is already beginning to make substantial progress in vaccinating old people, who are of course much more likely to die of Covid-19:

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said 23% of all over-80s in England have now been given a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, meaning some of the most vulnerable patients are getting the protection they need.

Given the new variant of Covid, the British are engaged in a race against the clock.

If the new variant becomes widespread in America before the vaccine is distributed, the entire country could end up being hit as hard as places like New Jersey, meaning several hundred thousand extra (unnecessary) deaths.  Let’s hope our public health authorities come to their senses before its too late.

PS.  For those who like numbers, here’s the sort of decision we face:

Likelihood of one dose first being the wrong approach:  Very low, say 10%.  Cost of adopting it if it is the wrong approach:  Relatively low, say a few thousand deaths.

Likelihood of two doses first being the wrong approach:  Very high, say 90%.  Cost of adopting it if it is the wrong approach:  Relatively high, say tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths.

You do the math.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *