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Tag Archives: public health

Jonathan Chait’s Mistaken Analogy

Various friends are linking to Jonathan Chait’s recent article, “School Closures Were a Catastrophic Error. Progressives Still Haven’t Reckoned With It,” New York Magazine, January 17, 2022. It really is quite good. I found the analogy in the second paragraph below faulty: Social scientists have measured the factors that drove schools to stay closed last year. One study found schools with unionized teachers, more of which were located in more Democratic-voting...

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Better Late than Never for Eric Topol

Cardiologist Eric Topol writes: Rapidly scale the production of the anti-Covid pill Paxlovid, which is about to get FDA emergency authorization and the topic of my last post here. There will be a large number of non-mild infections going forward and we now have a treatment that is expected to work extremely well against Omicron, but the supply is dreadfully short. I wrote more about this today Enacting the Defense Production Act, as the President has done for rapid...

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Response to Scott Sumner on Covid Caution

SEE IMPORTANT UPDATE BELOW Co-blogger Scott Sumner recently responded to co-blogger Bryan Caplan’s critique of Scott’s earlier post in which Scott stated “On a list of regulatory overreaction, these mandates [on masks, vaccines, etc.] don’t even make my ‘top 100’.” Bryan agreed with Scott that the ratio of costs to benefits for many other regulations is higher than the cost/benefit ratio for Covid regulations in the United States. But, argued Bryan, the difference...

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Does immigration reduce wages?

Critics of immigration often point to the fact that the post-WWII decades were a sort of golden age for American workers, with rapid growth in real wages up until about 1973. They argue that the immigration changes of the 1960s opened the floodgates, leading to much higher rates of immigration and lower wage gains for workers.Some people argue that it’s simply a question of supply and demand—more supply of workers means lower wages. Economists often reply that more...

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Berkeley’s Swartzberg Implicitly Endorses Great Barrington Declaration

How should you protect yourself? Your precautions depend on your age, health and tolerance for risk, said Dr. John Swartzberg of UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. “People have to do their own calculus. If they’re very anxious, they’re going to want to do [sic] comfortable doing less,” he said. “What’s your situation? Are you 65 or older? Immunocompromised? Do you have pulmonary disease, diabetes, obesity or cardiac disease? In that circumstance, you’re going to...

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Henry Olsen on Isabelle Ayuso

Henry Olsen interviewed Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the President of the Madrid region, for the Washington Post. She made quite an impression:Free-market conservatives have been looking for a hero in this populist, Trumpian age. They might just have one in the president of the Madrid region, Isabel Díaz Ayuso. I’ve written before about Ayuso and how she tried, in Madrid, to counter the pandemic and keep contagion under control while avoiding lockdowns and preserving the...

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Contra Caplan on Covid caution

Bryan Caplan has a new post that contests some of the claims I made in my recent post about the regulation of safety.  I do agree with Bryan on several points.  First, most of the Covid regulations were misguided.  Second, today many people are foolishly being far too cautious about Covid.  (I’d add that many people are not cautious enough, i.e. unvaccinated adults.)  But I also disagree on a number of points: 1.  It’s not obvious to me that the widespread Covid...

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It didn’t begin with Covid

Pundits often criticize the US government for overreacting to Covid, especially the excessive mandates for masks, vaccines, etc. I share their concern. But I also wonder where some of these people have been. On a list of regulatory overreaction, these mandates don’t even make my “top 100”. For decades, overreaction to tiny safety risks has been getting worse, with no end in sight.Have you ever wondered why we must wear those annoying seat belts on full size...

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Does compulsory vaccination work?

A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of compulsory vaccination. In the face of the Omicron variant, European governments are escalating in their anti-Covid measures. Compulsory vaccination is on the table, but so is the idea of going back to at least partial lockdowns. It is interesting that by now shutting down at least part of social life is sort of a default option, happily embraced by governments and experts as a first resort application of the precautionary...

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COVID and the Data of Death

Two recent, related COVID news items: The U.S. death toll from COVID passed 750,000 earlier this month, according to both the National Center for Health Statistics and Johns Hopkins University. JHU further estimates that world COVID deaths have topped 5 million. A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll indicates that nearly two-thirds of Americans either believe “the government is exaggerating the number of COVID deaths” (38%) or at least they don’t know it’s not...

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