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The incentives for Mexican hotel Covid testing

Summary:
Yes you need a negative result on the test to return to the United States, but you never know the sensitivity of the test you are taking.  It should be from an “approved provider,” but what does that mean?  No authority from the United States can readily verify how good the test is. Let us say you are a hotel owner, which kind of testing service do you wish to commission to send around to your rooms to test your American guests?  A highly sensitive test that will yield periodic false positives, or a not very sensitive test that won’t generate false positives and might even result in some false negatives?  And say some of your guests truly will be Covid-positive — do you wish to keep them in their rooms for another week or two, with all the attendant risks, or do you wish to send them

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Yes you need a negative result on the test to return to the United States, but you never know the sensitivity of the test you are taking.  It should be from an “approved provider,” but what does that mean?  No authority from the United States can readily verify how good the test is.

Let us say you are a hotel owner, which kind of testing service do you wish to commission to send around to your rooms to test your American guests?  A highly sensitive test that will yield periodic false positives, or a not very sensitive test that won’t generate false positives and might even result in some false negatives?  And say some of your guests truly will be Covid-positive — do you wish to keep them in their rooms for another week or two, with all the attendant risks, or do you wish to send them along their way?

You don’t even have to imagine that the hotel owners are entirely cynical.  They themselves can’t judge the accuracy of the tests, so a service that yielded a fair number of Covid positives could be seen as “they make too many mistakes and won’t let our guests leave, we don’t want them.”  If the Delta variant is outracing publicity about the Delta variant, as was the case for a while in Tulum, such a hotelier reaction might be all the more likely.

I did in fact test negative.  And the testers were very nice to me.

The post The incentives for Mexican hotel Covid testing appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

Tyler Cowen
Tyler Cowen is an American economist, academic, and writer. He occupies the Holbert C. Harris Chair of economics as a professor at George Mason University and is co-author, with Alex Tabarrok, of the popular economics blog Marginal Revolution. Cowen and Tabarrok have also ventured into online education by starting Marginal Revolution University. He currently writes the "Economic Scene" column for the New York Times, and he also writes for such publications as The New Republic, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Newsweek, and the Wilson Quarterly.

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