V-Day?

Today we have had our appointments for the first dose. But because the vaccine location is in a different county from where we live, that county decided to cancel us.

Actually, it sounds like we would have had a DMV-like experience. I’m not feeling sad.

Note that the average daily death rate in the U.S. is about 5 times it was this summer. If the vaccine is 90 percent effective, that means that my risk after vaccination is 1/10 of what it was without vaccination. Combining the two, that means that after the second dose and the vaccine has taken hold, I will have half the risk that I had this summer. That does not make me excited about getting out and circulating, even with the vaccine.

I will feel better if after a couple of months there are signs that the vaccine is reducing the incidence of the virus in the whole population. In a sense, getting the vaccine early is like getting onto a tour bus early. The bus isn’t going anywhere until more people are on board.

By the way, I think that Alex Tabarrok’s idea of giving first doses to more people and second doses to fewer people is unlikely to work in a free society. From society’s perspective, it may work more quickly to eradicate the virus. But from an individual perspective, I would rather wait to get two doses than get one dose and have to live with uncertainty about what happens next.

Speaking of the virus, the asymptomatic spreader fight never ends. Daniel P. Oran and Eric J. Topol write,

Today, the best evidence suggests that about half of Covid-19 cases are caused by infected people who do not have symptoms when they pass on the virus. These symptom-free spreaders are roughly divided between those who later develop symptoms, known as pre-symptomatic individuals, and those who never develop symptoms.

On the politics of the virus, Christopher J. Snowdown writes,

I suppose my position is boringly centrist. If you want a more invigorating take, you might be drawn to the Zero COVID strategy supported by “Independent” SAGE or the plan laid out in the the Great Barrington Declaration to shield the vulnerable and achieve herd immunity the old-fashioned way. Both of these options carry significant downsides and have now been made redundant by the vaccines, but whilst these ideas might have been flawed or unrealistic, they were not crazy. The former had worked in New Zealand and the latter had been the preferred policy of the chief medical officer until the hasty U-turn of March 2020. These were ideas that reasonable people could debate without being considered cranks.

But now, in the final months of this nightmare, the conversation among many of the noisiest lockdown sceptics has become decidedly cranky.

He speaks as a libertarian, policing his own side. Policing your own side is very honorable, in my view. It is the best way to fight polarization.

But libertarians can be more correct than others give them credit for. See Jacob Grier, who points out the many way government failures in the pandemic. Pointer from Tyler Cowen.

This reminds me that my main problem with “state-capacity libertarianism” is that the phrase itself assumes away, or at least downplays, the main reason I have for leaning libertarian. That is, there are structural reasons for state performance to be worse than you would expect and for market performance to be better than most people would expect.