Tuesday , October 20 2020
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Tag Archives: pandemic

OECD talk — rebuilding institutions in the wake of Covid-19

Friday morning I had the pleasure of participating in a session at the OECD, as part of their program on Confronting Planetary Emergencies - Solving Human Problems. I had the tough job of following brilliant remarks by Acting CEA chair Tyler Goodspeed and Ken Rogoff, and discussing great questions all starting at 5 AM. FYI here is the text of my prepared remarks. My focus is how to rebuild the competence of our institutions, which failed dismally in this crisis. Covid and BeyondJohn...

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Border testing

RNZ's Nine-to-Noon had a decent discussion of rapid antigen testing and its potential in helping to open things up. Paul Simmonds suggests a rapid antigen test at the airport before flying (negative test required for boarding), and another rapid antigen test on landing. Those testing negative both times would be considered cleared.I really like rapid antigen testing. But I'd see it, in first instance, as a complement to managed isolation. We'd learn how effective it is, and whether other...

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Will the Coronavirus Spur Action on Climate Change?

TweetOctober 3, 2020 — From early on in this pandemic, a common reaction has been “at least, maybe now we will get serious about addressing climate change.”  One can see the logic.  The terrible toll taken by Covid-19 should remind us of the importance of three things: the need for science, the role for public policy, and the usefulness of international cooperation.  With these three revelations firmly in mind, we can see that we also need them to respond to the problem of climate...

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Beat Covid Without a Vaccine

Beat Covid Without a Vaccine, with "frequent rapid at-home testing" write Larry Kotlikoff and Michael Mina in the Oct 2 WSJ. I've made this point many times before, as have Larry, Michael, and many others (Paul Romer especially) but this one is well written and concise, and the issue is so important it bears a bit of repetition and efforts to package the message. How would you like the recession to be over in a month? Here's the ticket. A vaccine is a technology for stopping the spread...

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Belgian Doctors’ open letter on covid-19

A correspondent sent me a link to the Belgian Doctors' open letter on covid-19. I found it original, documented, and worth reading and thinking about. It is at least an important contribution to a debate -- and one of its big points, we should be having a debate. Science is still quite uncertain about much regarding this disease, and science never did know much about economic and public policy. I'm not totally convinced, but it has several interesting ideas that I had not considered...

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Afternoon roundup

The tabs... there are so many of them.A few notes on the closing of the tabs.Tyler Cowen is excellent on herd immunity. Those who urge us not to worry about the virus used to claim that herd immunity would kick in and the virus would burn itself out. Now they tell us not to worry because the death rate has dropped. But herd immunity was supposed to stop case numbers from rising. And even places with lotsa Covid aren't there yet - other than perhaps at San Quenton. Sam Bowman has a neoliberal...

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Romer on testing

As part of an email conversation about testing, Paul Romer sent the following message. He so beautifully encapsulated the case for testing, I asked for permission to post his email. Here it is. Here is a short summary of the case for testing.1. A program of "test and isolate" will reduce the effective reproduction number, R.2. A combined policy of (i) more "test and isolate" which reduces R and (ii) more social interaction and more economic activity which increases R can be designed so...

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Jacobin pandemic

Casey Mulligan tweeted an interesting report on the coronavirus from Jacobin online magazine as "makes the most sense." Given that the Jacobins were "the most radical and ruthless of the political groups formed in the wake of the French Revolution, and in association with Robespierre they instituted the Terror of 1793–4."(google dictionary) the link attracted my eye. (Do these people know history? Or is this intentional? And they're all upset about Trump and "authoritarianism?")...

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Altas agonistes

A group of Stanford faculty recently circulated, and then posted, an open letter objecting to my Hoover colleague Scott Atlas, who serves as a senior adviser to the Administration on health policy. Read the letter. Then come back for a little reading comprehension test.****Q1: What specific "falsehoods and misrepresentations" do they accuse Scott of making?Q2: Which of the following do they claim Scott is publicly denying, contrary to scientific evidence? Face masks, social...

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Even the best case is bad

I'd worried that there's not been nearly enough worst-case thinking around Covid, vaccines, and immunity. Josh Gans points out that even the best case around vaccine development is pretty worrying. Deploying a successful vaccine will take a long time. If you haven't subscribed to his substack newsletter, you're really missing out. This week I will look at vaccines and explain why the awaited for ‘miracle’ won’t be so simple. The reason I want to highlight this is not to get everyone down. If...

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