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Tag Archives: Current Affairs

Model this, coronavirus stupidity edition

A [NY] state guideline says nursing homes cannot refuse to take patients from hospitals solely because they have the coronavirus. Here is the NYT article, with much more detail.  Here is a previous MR post Claims About Nursing Homes.  Via Megan McArdle. And from a formal study: Twenty-three days after the first positive test result in a resident at this skilled nursing facility, 57 of 89 residents (64%) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The post Model this, coronavirus stupidity edition...

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The Decline of the Innovation State is Killing Us

The latest relief bill contains another $320 billion in small business relief and $25 billion for testing. Finally, we get some serious money to actually fight the virus. But as Paul Romer pointed out on twitter, this is less than half of what we spend on soft drinks!!! (Spending on soft drinks is about $65 billion annually). Soda is nice but it is not going to save lives and restart the economy. Despite monumental efforts by BARDA and CEPI we are also not investing enough in capacity for...

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Covid-induced innovation in the business world

The Economist has a full article on this topic, here is one good excerpt: But the defining feature of the latest innovation revolution is breakneck speed. Companies are being forced to raise their corporate metabolism and overcome “analysis paralysis”, an affliction caused by top managers having pored over the same irrelevant case studies at business school. In a recent briefing consultants at Bain urged companies to throw out old data, test quickly and often, and assume you will be in...

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Comfort foods make a comeback

Comfort foods from big brands are seeing a resurgence, executives say, as consumers seek familiarity and convenience amid the coronavirus pandemic. Many shoppers have favored fresh and specialty brands over Big Food’s processed products in recent years, while others have opted for cheaper store brands. Now, the world’s largest makers of packaged foods say frozen pizza, pasta sauce, and mac and cheese are rising in favor as consumers in lockdown eat at home. Nestlé SA NSRGY 3.04% became the...

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Social distancing should never be too restrictive

That is the topic of a new paper by Farboodi, Jarosch, and Shimer, published version in here.  They favor ” Immediate social distancing that ends only slowly but is not overly restrictive.”  Furthermore, they test the model against data from Safegraph and also from Sweden and find that their recommendations do not depend very much on parameter values. Here is an excerpt from the paper: …social distancing is never too restrictive. At any point in time, the effective...

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Quarantining at Work

The Washington Post has good piece on one factory practicing an idea I mentioned a few weeks ago in my post on safety protocols, quarantining at work: For 28 days, they did not leave — sleeping and working all in one place. In what they called a “live-in” at the factory, the undertaking was just one example of the endless ways that Americans in every industry have uniquely contributed to fighting coronavirus. The 43 men went home Sunday after each working 12-hour shifts all day and...

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The essential Ben Thompson on isolation and quarantine

…while I have written about Taiwan’s use of cellphone-enforced quarantines for recent travelers and close contacts of those infected, I should also note that every single positive infection — symptomatic or not — is isolated away from their home and family. That is also the case in South Korea, and while it was the case for Singaporean citizens, it was not the case for migrant workers, which is a major reason why the virus has exploded in recent weeks. Here’s the thing, though:...

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Covid-19 liability reform for the eventual reopening

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt: If an infected but asymptomatic worker shows up at work and sickens coworkers, for example, should the employer be liable? The answer is far from obvious. Liability exists not to shift unmanageable risk, but rather to induce management to take possible and prudent measures of precaution. Another problem with liability law in this context is that the potential damages are high relative to the capitalization of most...

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Nursing home estimates of the day

“Health inspectors cited roughly 75% of nursing homes nationwide for failing to have or follow a plan to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in the past four years, between 2016 and January 2020” “A report released by academics at the London School of Economics (LSE) on April 15 said between 42 percent and 57 percent of deaths from the coronavirus in Italy, Spain, France, Ireland and Belgium have been linked to care homes for the elderly.” From the (since...

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A Digital WPA

Earlier I suggested that that we offer unemployed people jobs that could be done from home: A 21st century jobs program would pay people to stay home and isolate, support people without work, and produce some useful output all at the same time. Instead of paying people to dig and then fill ditches we could pay people to help train machine-learning apps, enter data, subtitle videos. take surveys, maybe even fold proteins to disrupt viruses. Writing at Brookings, Apurva Sanghi and Michal...

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