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Some Covid Links

Tweet [1]

Jay Bhattacharya talks about the Delta variant [2].

Amelia Janaskie and Ryan Yonk rightly lament the refusal these days to acknowledge the inescapability of trade-offs [3]. Here’s their conclusion:

As Thomas Sowell famously wrote, “There are no solutions, only trade-offs,” and this scenario is not different. No policy is costless, and no policy is only to the upside. In every policy discussion including those around public health, understanding that trade-offs will occur is an important part of the policy process. When we refuse to engage with that reality, we will almost always pay far higher costs than are warranted.

GMU Law student Ethan Yang reports on GMU Law professor Todd Zywicki’s lawsuit against GMU officials for these officials’ refusal to exempt Zywicki, a Covid survivor, from the requirement of getting a Covid vaccine [4]. (DBx: Like Todd, I’m also a GMU employee. Unlike Todd, I’ve had the full series of vaccinations. I wholly support Todd’s lawsuit.)

Covid hysteria as propaganda [5].

Cheering on – justifiably! – Florida governor Ron DeSantis [6].

Jon Sanders looks at masking from the perspective of the Tullock spike [7].

‘Staying home’ to “protect the NHS” might, perhaps, be said to have achieved its narrow purpose, but only at the expense of unnecessarily jeopardizing the health of millions of Brits whose health the NHS is allegedly meant to protect [8]. (DBx: The lessons here are two. One is of the dangers of stirring up excessive fear of a communicable disease. A second is of the dangers of government-run health ‘systems.’)

It’s a mystery to me why Neil Ferguson isn’t universally regarded as a complete quack [9].

Stephen Armstrong laments the rise of “superforecasters. [10]” Two slices:

Yet in battling Covid, he [Dominic Cummings] and we have faced endless wild forecasts that subsequently vanished, were rowed back upon or simply proved wrong. Neil Ferguson [11] and Sir John Bell [12] stand out from the pack here – Ferguson’s most recent speculative forecasting on Covid cases saw him shift from a mid-July prediction that the country would soon reach 100,000 daily Covid cases to a late-July prediction that as “infections in the community are plateauing, I’m positive that by late September-October time we will be looking back at most of the pandemic”.

…..

One of the chief rules of superforecasting is honesty, humility and transparency. “Notably, one of the characteristics that does not correlate with accuracy is extroversion,” explains Warren Hatch, CEO of the Good Judgement consultancy, set up by Tetlock to deliver superforecasting, um, forecasts. “All those loud talking heads – smart people with opinions – don’t have any inherent advantage when it comes to forecasting.”

Yet we live in a land where the loudest and gloomiest forecasters are king. Policy and business decisions hinge upon their every word.

Daniel Hannan continues to write with humanity, civility, and wisdom [13]. A slice:

I hate the fact that face masks are becoming yet another front in our ghastly culture wars [14]. And I hate, even more, the realisation that I am being dragged into combat. But I have little choice. The lifting of restrictions on 19 July was our one chance to return to normality. If we miss it, we won’t get another.

The arguments in favour of facemasks were always ambiguous. The WHO and SAGE began by telling us that they were at best pointless and at worst counter-productive. They changed their guidance, not in response to clear new evidence, but out of a sense that every little helped. Whether or not masks did any good, they couldn’t do much harm, and it was worth trying anything that might slow transmission.

I accepted that logic. Some hardline anti-lockdowners raged at me for getting a mask in the colours of the Garrick Club, a jeu d’esprit that they saw as glorifying servitude or something. But it seemed to me that, next to the real lockdown privations – closed shops, empty classrooms, separated families – masks were not worth quarrelling over.

Equally, though, there had to be a moment when we drew a line under the whole business. That moment came three weeks ago, when it became clear that the rise in infections was not translating into a significant rise in illness. The PM ignored the naysayers and opened up – and, on the figures we have seen since, he has been utterly vindicated.

Covidocratic tyranny in Australia grows more awful and Iron-Curtain-like, as this headline reveals [15]: “Australian Army hits the streets to enforce the world’s strictest lockdown: Soldiers stop people from leaving their homes more than once in Sydney’s poor suburbs as part of losing pursuit of ‘Zero Covid’.” A slice:

It comes as Australia banned ex-pats who enter the country from leaving again in a bid to ease the pressure on quarantine hotels under strain from the delta variant.

When non-resident citizens – Australians that live abroad – visit their country of origin, they will soon have to apply for an exception to leave again.

and Australia’s dystopian authoritarianism doesn’t seem to achieve even its own narrow, stated goal [16]. (HT Phil Magness [17])

Despite that country having almost no Covid cases [18], New Zealand’s emergency rooms are overrun [19]. (But at least these people aren’t suffering from Covid – which we now know is all that matters in this life.) (HT Phil Magness [20])

Robert Wright rightly praises AIER [21].

John Tamny rightly decries the selfishness and narrow-mindedness of many pro-lockdowners [22].