Some Covid Links

by Don Boudreaux on February 5, 2021

in Country Problems, Current Affairs, Hubris and humility, Risk and Safety, Seen and Unseen

My GMU Econ colleague Bryan Caplan refreshingly applies sound Coasean thinking to Covid-19.

John Tamny imagines if the virus had never been detected. A slice:

As this column has long stated, the coronavirus is a rich man’s virus. It’s not just that the rich and generally well-to-do had portable jobs that mostly survived the mindless lockdowns, it’s not just that the break from reality we were forced to endure could have only happened in a rich country, it’s also the case that only in a country and world in which the elderly are truly old would the virus have any notable association with death. People live longer today, and they do because major healthcare advances born of wealth creation made living longer possible. We wouldn’t have noticed this virus 100 years ago. We weren’t rich enough.

Toby Young responds to Christopher Snowdon’s critique of lockdown skeptics. A slice:

Sure, there are some peer-reviewed studies published in reputable journals seeming to show that these measures reduce COVID-19 infections, hospital admissions, and deaths. (See here, for instance.) But most of these rely on epidemiological models that make unfalsifiable claims about how many people would have died if governments had just sat on their hands—and some of these models have been widely criticised. The evidence that lockdowns don’t work, by contrast, is not based on conjecture but on observing the effects of lockdowns in different countries. (You can review 30 of these studies here.) What these data seem to show is that the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in each country rises and falls—and then rises and falls again, although less steeply as the virus moves towards endemic equilibrium—according to a similar pattern regardless of what NPIs governments impose.

Parker Crutchfield and Scott Scheall reveal the limitations of expertise. A slice:

When the phenomena of multiple scientific fields interact, such as when it is necessary to trade off the health costs of a virus against the economic and other costs of a lockdown, policymakers can turn to experts about isolated phenomena. But there are no experts about the interaction of different kinds of phenomena or about the proper weighting of some against others. Policymakers can ask epidemiologists to weigh in on epidemiology, infectious disease specialists to weigh in on infectious disease, and economists to weigh in on economics. But there are no experts about how these subjects interact or how to balance them.

Spot the pandemic year in Scotland.

From Reason: “What Disney Can Teach Us About Covid-19: Lockdowns Fail“.


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