≡ Menu

Some Covid Links

Jeffrey Singer says that it’s about time that the FDA approved molnupiravir. A slice:

Yesterday the Food and Drug Administration gave emergency use authorization (EUA) to the antiviral drug Paxlovid, more than a month after its manufacturer, Pfizer, submitted its application. This pill, if taken within the first few days of a COVID-19 infection, has been found to be 89 percent effective in preventing progression of the disease to hospitalization. Clinical trials found no patients taking Paxlovid died from the virus.

Seventy‐​four days ago, Merck applied for an EUA for its antiviral molnupiravir. If taken in the first few days of COVID infection it is 30 percent effective in preventing hospitalization. As in the Paxlovid clinical trials, none of the patients on molnupiravir died of the virus. An FDA advisory panel recommended molnupiravir be approved on November 30, yet the FDA failed to act. Until today. This morning the FDA finally gave America’s patients access to the second of two antiviral drugs that snuff out COVID-19 infections including those from the omicron variant.

David Henderson realistically suggests that politics motivates at least some scientists’ policy stances on Covid-19.

David Stockman is correct:

The real contagion at loose in the world—especially among the western nations which noisily congratulate themselves as model liberal democracies to be emulated by the more benighted nations inhabiting the purported darker corners of the planet—is a virulent outbreak of statist authoritarianism.

That is, a definitely not Black Plague virus of the type that has challenged mankind o’er the ages has become a universal excuse for the wholesale cancellation of civil liberties and property rights like never before—even in times of world war.

While Cato Institute economist Ryan Bourne likely would not join the ranks of staunch supporters of the Great Barrington Declaration, he nevertheless writes wisely, in the Telegraph, about the unseen costs of lockdowns. A slice:

Aside from the sheer range of unknowable long-term effects of shutdowns on, say, entrepreneurship or educational development, the landscape of near-empty London pubs this past week highlights that people voluntarily stop socialising when Covid cases surge. Chalking up how much any GDP decline owes to this behavioural change, as opposed to government mandates, is tough.

Yet there’s a thornier challenge with these technocratic cost-benefit calculations – accounting for the value of social liberties that go unmeasured in market activity.

The restaurant visits that would have happened but for lockdowns are something we can estimate as a “cost” of shutting “non-essential” businesses. Yet how do we quantify the cost to individuals of being banned from attending a close relative’s funeral? Or missing a friend’s wedding? Or losing a year of dating to find a life partner?

These non-market liberties are obviously crucial to people’s wellbeing, but get ignored in discussion of the costs of this crisis because they are subjective and unobservable. If that makes them difficult to estimate for any activity, then aggregating their value across the whole population is impossible. And yet, it’s clear that just ignoring these losses entirely guarantees getting the trade-offs of policy wrong.

The Telegraph‘s Editors decry the “absurd” Covid restrictions imposed in Wales. A slice:

The government he leads insists on inflicting upon the Welsh more drastic measures against Covid than the rest of the country, even Scotland. Yet there is no evidence that the tougher line limits the spread of the virus. It merely inconveniences people more.

Mr Drakeford has made it unlawful to go to work “without a reasonable excuse” on pain of an on-the-spot fine, but it is OK to go to the pub where a rule of six is to apply once more with social distancing and masks. A limit of 30 is being introduced on numbers in a private home.

The £60 work charge will be imposed from next Monday with companies hit with penalties of £1,000 every time they break the rule. The fine will apply to employees who travel into England to work even though it is not unlawful over the border. Is it now Labour policy to break up the Union? How on earth can the police decide whether someone is working unreasonably?

Douglas Murray writes that our “narrow obsession with Covid has starved our lives of meaning.” A slice:

In the past two years our sights as individuals and as a nation have been singularly restricted. Our movements have been restricted. Our priorities have been restricted. And it is perfectly possible that as a result we have become a servile, cringing, limited people: requesting permission to rejoin our loved ones; desiring beyond all things the right to attend a football match or a cinema again one day.

Yet this cannot be the total of our ambitions or world view. Any more than should be the simple endless search for longevity. After all, what is the value of a life lived long if it is not also lived deep?

Scott Morefield tweets:

Stanford’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya: “Public health has spent the better part of two years creating the illusion of control … This is a respiratory virus that’s very contagious and it’s not surprising that you catch it. We have no technology to stop the spread of it.”

David McCune tweets:

The Arc of COVID is long but it bends toward the Great Barrington Declaration.