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Some Covid Links

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board shares the findings of new research by Phil Kerpen, Steve Moore, and Casey Mulligan on the responses to Covid-19 of the different U.S. states. A slice:

Utah ranks first by a considerable margin over Nebraska and Vermont. The Beehive State scored well across all three categories: fourth on the economy, fifth in education (as measured by lost days in school), and eighth in Covid mortality adjusted for a state population’s age and the prevalence of obesity and diabetes (leading co-morbidities for Covid deaths). The authors used a regression analysis for the economy that adjusted for state industry composition.

The top 10 in the rankings are smaller states with the notable exception of Florida, which ranks sixth. Recall how the Sunshine State’s decision to open itself relatively soon after the first lockdowns was derided as cruel and destructive. Gov. Ron DeSantis was called “Governor DeathSentence.”

The study ranks Florida 28th in mortality, in the middle off the pack and about the same as California, which ranks 27th despite its far more stringent lockdowns and school closures. But Florida ranks third for the least education loss and 13th in economic performance. California ranks 47th overall because its shutdowns crushed the economy (40th) and in-person school (50th).

In other words, Florida did about average on mortality as other states, but it did far better in protecting its citizens from severe economic harm and its children from lost schooling. “The correlation between health and economy scores is essentially zero,” say the authors, “which suggests that states that withdrew the most from economic activity did not significantly improve health by doing so.”

The NBER working paper presents the data straight without policy conclusions, but here’s one of ours: The severe lockdown states suffered much more on overall social well-being in return for relatively little comparative benefit on health.

Here’s a link to the Kerpen, Moore, and Mulligan paper.

Vinay Prasad, warning against unsubstantiated claims about Covid consequences, hopes that we’ll soon reach “herd sanity.” Here’s his conclusion:

As zero Covid advocates recover from Covid, we may eventually reach herd sanity. That is when we stop treating mild covid infections like the boogeyman, and realize that living with others means that there are many infections we cannot avoid.

National Review‘s Jim Geraghty decries the catastrophe created by the Chinese government’s Covidocratic tyranny. Two slices:

I can remember when James Palmer, the deputy editor of Foreign Policy, jabbed at me for calling China’s official Covid-19 statistics “insanely implausible,” insisting, “China did, in fact, get the pandemic under control with draconian lockdowns. Pretending that didn’t happen just reinforces the belief of the Chinese public in Western bias and prevents them accepting *good* coverage. That you don’t like it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”


And the richest city in China is facing overwhelming food supply problems and the risk of large-scale starvation. This is your country on autocracy, devastating self-deception, and obsessively stubborn Covid-19 policies.

That warning from a surveillance drone warning people to go back inside from their balconies– “control your soul’s desire for freedom” — makes a really succinct national motto.

Matthew Henderson argues that Xi Jinping “cannot abandon his policy of brutal lockdowns, whatever the cost, lest it undermine his quest for ultimate power.” A slice:

Xi hopes to extend his tenure as supreme leader of the CCP at its 20th Party Congress later this year. His explicit backing for Zero Covid seems to be influenced by his interest in claiming victory over the virus to support his ambitions at home and his struggle with democratic critics abroad. Those who seek to share in his dictatorship will not venture to derail Zero Covid now. Nor will Xi tolerate any exposure of its flaws.

Marty Makary tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

New Finnish study found that school mask mandates did not impact transmission. Well-done analysis comparing schools that adopted mask mandates to those that didn’t: https://medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.04.04.22272833v1 Nice explanation of how masking toddlers today is not following the science. It’s anti.👇🏼👇🏼

Who’d a-thunk it?

TANSTAFPFC (There Ain’t No Such Thing As Free Protection From Covid.)

Julia du Fresne warns of the horrifying pretensions of the World Health Organization.

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

March 2020: I asked Stanford for a letter granting me permission to travel to and from my office despite shelter in place. I carried that letter every single day in my pocket for a year in case I was stopped and asked to show my papers. In the USA.