Thursday , October 29 2020
Home / Brad Delong, Berkeley / Cowen: Reject the Great Barrington Declaration—Noted

Cowen: Reject the Great Barrington Declaration—Noted

Summary:
...here is one bit.... Here are the key words of the Great Barrington Declaration on herd immunity: The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection. What exactly does the word “allow” mean in this context? Again the passivity is evident, as if humans should just line up in the proper order of virus exposure and submit to nature’s will. How about instead we channel our inner Ayn Rand and stress the role of human agency? Something like: “Herd immunity will come from a

Topics:
Bradford DeLong considers the following as important:

This could be interesting, too:

Bradford DeLong writes Briefly Noted for 2020-10-26

Bradford DeLong writes Davies: Lying for Money Book Talk—Noted

Bradford DeLong writes Briefly Noted for 2020-10-16

Bradford DeLong writes Briefly Noted for 2020-10-14

...here is one bit....

Here are the key words of the Great Barrington Declaration on herd immunity:

The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.

What exactly does the word “allow” mean in this context? Again the passivity is evident, as if humans should just line up in the proper order of virus exposure and submit to nature’s will. How about instead we channel our inner Ayn Rand and stress the role of human agency? Something like: “Herd immunity will come from a combination of exposure to the virus through natural infection and the widespread use of vaccines. Here are some ways to maximize the role of vaccines in that process.”...

In most parts of the Western world, normal openings for restaurants, sporting events and workplaces are likely to lead to spiraling caseloads and overloaded hospitals, as is already a risk in some of the harder-hit parts of Europe. Reopenings, to the extent they work, rely on a government that so scares people that attendance remains low even with reopening. In that sense, as things stand, there is no “normal” to be found. An attempt to pursue it would most likely lead to panic over the numbers of cases and hospitalizations, and would almost certainly make a second lockdown more likely. There is no ideal of liberty at the end of the tunnel here.... The Great Barrington strategy is a tempting one. Coming out of a libertarian think tank, it tries to procure maximum liberty for commerce and daily life. It is a seductive idea. Yet consistency of message is not an unalloyed good, even when the subject is liberty.... My worldview is both more hopeful and more tragic. There is no normal here.... We can do better—with vigorous actions to combat Covid-19, including government actions. The conception of human nature evident in the Great Barrington Declaration is so passive, it raises the question of whether it even qualifies as a defense of natural liberty....

If you argue, as many herd immunity critics do, that the elderly cannot be isolated, it seems you also should not be entirely confident that the currently non-infected can be isolated.  The brutal truth is simply that a Great Barrington strategy put into practice would lead to rapidly spiraling cases and a rather quick and oppressive second lockdown, worse than what the status quo or some improved version of it is likely to bring.  Total deaths are likely higher, along with more social trauma, due to the more extreme whipsaw effects…


https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0S8zhpTx-pPo8Tln5WNl8fBWA https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/column-cowen-reject-great-barrington-noted.pptx 2020-10-16

.#noted #2020-10-16
Bradford DeLong
J. Bradford DeLong is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was Deputy Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton Administration, where he was heavily involved in budget and trade negotiations. His role in designing the bailout of Mexico during the 1994 peso crisis placed him at the forefront of Latin America’s transformation into a region of open economies, and cemented his stature as a leading voice in economic-policy debates.

Leave a Reply

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