Grumpy Economist: Covid is incompetent


World War II had a bad start for the United States. Our tank exploded. Our torpedo is a dud. Our plane was overtaken. Many commanders are incompetent, soldiers are young, and supplies are chaotic. We lost a lot of battles. But we learned. Every wrong lesson was absorbed, the incompetent commander was fired, and the soldiers learned their terrible craft.

Delta is the fourth wave of COVID-19. Surprisingly, the US policy response is more hesitant than the first time. Our government is like a child, sent to the next door to get a cup of candy, he walked to the front porch, and then walked away with a puppy.

The policy response is now focused on the most ineffective but politically symbolic step in medicine, the mask injunction. All the overnight discos in Provincetown have become super-spread events, so…we let school children wear masks at outdoor summer camps? The effectiveness of masks is a few decimal places lower than that of vaccines. First of all, they are not as effective as “social distancing”. Go to the disco all night without vaccinations, but wear a mask? Please.

If we are to conduct NPI (Non-Pharmaceutical Intervention), that is, policies other than vaccines, the level of policy and public discussion has tragically regressed since last summer. Remember, last summer, we were all talking about testing. Alex Tabarrok and Paul Romer did an excellent job in testing how to quickly reduce the reproductive rate, even if only voluntary isolation after the test. Other countries have competent testing and tracking systems. Have we built it in a year? Do not. (Are we ready to test and track the next error? No.)

What happened to the paper strip test you can buy at Walgreen’s for $2.00, get the results immediately, and maybe think it’s a bad idea to participate in the all-night dance? Interest faded in November. (Last time I saw, the seller and the FDA still insisted on registering prescriptions and apps, so it cost $50 and the insurance “paid” it.) What happened to the detailed local data? Has anyone passed the FDA and CDC’s thick skulls. Even imperfect but cheap and fast tests can be used to slow the spread of diseases?

Last summer, we discussed the super-spreader incident and thought that you don’t have to block everything catastrophically, but the idea that the disco party might be crowded all night is a bad idea? (Reopen smart, I wrote at the time, for example here) Today, silence. mask. Beautiful big symbolic mask. period.

Then we indulged in another round of American favorite pastimes, looking for answers to the questions. Delta is spreading, so…extend the tenant eviction ban. Those who haven’t paid the rent for a year can stay, the landlord damn it. Usually our government stipulates that A should be given to B because it is unwilling to spend money directly. It is ridiculous that in this case, it is because the government simply cannot shovel the rent out of the door, even the scammers have already received so many unemployment benefits.Somehow throwing people who don’t pay rent on the “street” is our main source of spreading the new crown virus, but it has released a wave Unlawful The entry of undocumented immigrants into the “community” is not in the following story, and the same people are free to go to all-night disco parties without danger. (Disclaimer: I fully support immigration, but not hypocrisy.) In general, the government and commentators don’t even bother to pretend that preventing deportation is related to preventing the spread of Covid. This is the only source of government power. (I’m writing this An example I happened to hear in the article, PBS’ Interview with Secretary Fudge.) The rent is too high, you just need to know.

In the “Unvaccinated Pandemic” speech, what I heard was basically resignation. We provide you with a vaccine. If you don’t accept them, well, we’re done. In March 2020, we really returned to the issue that many people argued and ridiculed. Let it sweep over, gain herd immunity, it will gradually disappear, bury the dead, and continue to live.

good news. A reproduction rate of 6 means that Delta will spread very fast, peak very fast, and drop very fast. The bad news: many people will get sick unnecessarily, and quite a few people will die. As people voluntarily withdraw, the economy will slow down. Evolution is one step more than bureaucratic clumsiness. A variant that is more easily spread by vaccinated people will not lag behind.

It doesn’t have to happen. With the vaccine in hand, the production line is complete, and anyone can walk in and get the vaccine.All we have to do is get almost everyone vaccinated forward The new variant hits, it is almost over. Cross the finish line and don’t be distracted by that puppy—or, as far as our politics is concerned, the distraction is whether public schools expand the outstanding work done by public schools for every toddler in the country for free preschool Good idea, count as “infrastructure,” whether we should call global warming a climate “emergency” or “disaster”, how many trillions of dollars the government should print and disseminate, and all the other things that keep Washington busy distracting attention from basic governance Power, such as fighting the embers of a pandemic.

Yes, we are now in an intermediate stage, slowly taking vaccination seriously.But as my The best post of the last year Point out that if you are right grade Illness is like changing a shower from hot to cold when the weather gets cold, and vice versa. You end in waves. We ended up in waves. The fight against the virus must predict the next wave and wipe out the embers during the calm period. This is not new knowledge. When you feel better, you will not stop taking antibiotics. Serious efforts to eliminate infectious diseases-smallpox and polio-have made great efforts to reduce cases.

If someone is watching, it is easy to see that getting full vaccination will not be easy. Delta is known as early as spring, and its high reproduction rate is well known. This pushes the limit of herd immunity. As we all know, after about 60% or 70% of the population is vaccinated, things become very difficult.As Robert Kaplan of Stanford University A report by the Wall Street Journal,

A poll completed in August 2020 showed that about 20% of the population said that even if there is evidence that the vaccine is safe and effective, they are unlikely to receive the vaccine. Another 15% said they are unlikely to accept it.

This is an interesting narrative, and the denials are all caveman Republican anti-vaccine advocates influenced by lunatics spreading “misinformation” on the remaining uncensored parts of the Internet. This is not the whole story or even the main story. Other countries have also reached about 70%.Here, straight From the CDC, Look at the racial breakdown.

Not many Hispanics/Latinos or black people are Trump! Last spring, the standard narrative of tragic racial injustice in vaccine “access” continued. The narrative was strangely silent now. Well, when anyone can now get the vaccine quickly and freely, it won’t be true. The narrative of defeating anti-Trump is much more convenient. But guys, these are the people who are going to die. In an interview with NPR, many people quickly mentioned Tuskegee. I think we have paid off from the history of public health when the CRT took over public schools. Everyone knows Tuskegee. No one has heard of smallpox, polio, measles, mumps, and how many people died like flies in the past.

The Internet is full of misinformation about vaccines. But the data distortion seems to have little effect on vaccination. More than a year ago, 35% of people told us that they would not be vaccinated, and they kept their promise. The recent increase in vaccinations seems to be one of those who initially said they would “wait and see.”

This is not “misinformation” cured by more Internet censorship. In fact, the situation is quite the opposite. People know that the Internet is censored, and public authorities have been lying to them. People have lost trust after masks/no masks, Wuhan laboratory/Wuhan laboratory, FDA clearly manipulated the public’s psychology to postpone approval, and Johnson & Johnson suspended. The CDC clearly does not help to wear a mask under political pressure. None of them presented the facts. The cry of the wolf turned a deaf ear.

Even vaccine discussions are now joking that everything must be mandatory or prohibited. We jumped to the vaccine request, and the police came to your door to suppress you and stabbed you. That was unnecessary, and it is still not.But nobody talked about it until this week or so allow Even minor Incentives vaccination. Let the cruise ship say that it is your freedom not to be vaccinated, but you cannot set foot on this piece of private property without a vaccine! This is slowly happening, but it is too late. This needs to happen before the wave.

Of course, just a few weeks ago, the FDA thought it might be time to expedite the full approval of the vaccine. There is a little bit of anti-vaxxers. When it only has emergency use authorization, it is difficult to talk about vaccine authorization.

So Delta Air Lines will explode within a few months. It seems that it takes about 6 months for the immunity to disappear, as does the adaptation of the new variant. See you around February, let’s see how much our government can forget about the basics of public health during this period. Yes, Grumpy is grumpy today.

more: A great article on the FDA Scott Alexander, I plan to blog soon. (HT Russ Roberts) But it’s worth it now. This article is particularly suitable for diagnosing the FDA’s terrible incentives, which is how people are trapped in a dysfunctional institution. Zenip Tufekic And separately Jenny International On CDC, there are also many on NYT (HT Marginal Revolution). NIH’s MR During the epidemic:

? Of the USD 42 billion NIH annual budget for 2020, 5.7% is used for COVID-19 research



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