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Noah Carl finds that countries with higher elderly populations generally suffered more Covid-19 deaths than did countries with lower elderly populations [2]. (HT Dan Klein) A slice:

While there is variation in COVID-19 death rate at all levels of the x-axis variable, it can be seen that no country with an elderly population of less than 10% has a high COVID-19 death rate.

University of Miami philosopher Richard Yetter Chappell writes insightfully about Americans’ response to Covid [3]. (HT Mark LeBar) A slice:

This all seems to come down to a failure to even attempt a proper cost-benefit analysis. This failure also took other forms. One of the most striking involved the blind prioritization of physical health over social, economic, and mental welfare. One saw this in the commonly-voiced idea that it was somehow “indecent [4]” to question whether lockdowns might do more harm than good all things considered, for example. (Not to mention the Covid “security theatre” of closing parks [5]!) N.B. I’m not here claiming that lockdowns were all bad. I’m claiming that cost-benefit analysis was needed to answer the question, and it’s bad of people to deny this.

Here’s Barry Brownstein on a Soviet dissident explaining many Americans’ closed-minded commitment to the party line [6].

Hugh Willbourn decries the derangement over Covid [7]. A slice:

Amid the current hysteria about mutant strains, quarantines and vaccines it is easy to forget that the entire reaction to Sars-CoV-2 is utterly disproportionate [8]. The virus is just one of many threats to our health, and it is far from the most dangerous. The attempt to control it is doing far more damage [9] than does the virus. The longer the lockdowns last, the more destructive and unjustifiable they are. One simple illustration can stand for thousands. The median length of stay in a care home is approximately 15 months (Forder and Fernandez 2011 [10]). Almost all residents end their stay by dying. By the end March 2021, lockdowns in the UK will have placed more than half of all care home residents in isolation for four fifths of their remaining time on earth. There is no guarantee they will be freed in April. If Whitty, Valance and Ferguson continue to have their way it is more than likely that all care home residents will be isolated until they pass away. Few families intended to imprison their parents until they die.

Luke Gittos defends Lord Sumption against the ignorance and hysteria of those suffering Covid Derangement Syndrome [11].

Eric Boehm reports that we Americans did not win the trade war that was ignited by Trump [12].

From Autumn 2019 is this splendid lament by John Tierney of the increasing intolerance and closed-mindedness – and, hence, illiberalness – of journalists (so-called) [13].

George Leef is rightly disturbed by Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel’s hostility to meritocracy [14].

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague isn’t impressed with President Biden’s proposed scheme for building a United States of Italia [15]. A slice:

I also salute the administration’s desire to reopen the schools. But again, don’t buy into the idea that the main obstacle to opening them before was a lack of money in state budgets. The Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards told me that total state?local government tax revenues “fell just $22 billion from the first to the second quarter of 2020 and then bounced back strongly in the third quarter. Meanwhile, federal aid to state-local governments soared $194 billion in the second quarter as a result of federal relief bills.” Federal relief has more than refilled state and local coffers, so there is no need for $170 billion more in state education subsidies proposed by the Biden administration.

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