Virus update

1. Ynetnews said,

Researchers at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital on Thursday announced it has seen positive results in preliminary trials for a cure for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Joseph A. Ladapo wrote,

while scientists argue that widespread vaccination will prevent variants from taking hold, lessons from the past year should make it abundantly clear that our ability to stop the spread of variants is extraordinarily limited.

So there is still a low-probability scenario in which We will quietly give up on a vaccine. But keep in mind that neither the Ynetnews piece nor Lapado’s op-ed should be treated as reliable.

2. I am pretty close to declaring Mr. Biden a failure as a virus-war President. To succeed, he needs to fight the bureaucracy much harder.

–declare the vaccine distribution system a failure, and put a military person in charge.

–take the vaccine approval process out of the hands of the FDA. In addition to FDA input, get input from a scientific advisory panel, consisting of folks like Michael Kremer, Scott Alexander, Bret Weinstein, and Balaji Srinivasan.

–create a treatment-protocol study group to evaluate current knowledge, disseminate best practices on an ongoing basis, and see that trials are conducted as rapidly and reliably as possible.

3. Our county’s vaccine appointment systems are ridiculous. Pointer from Tyler Cowen. But my wife got her first shot Friday, and I got mine Monday.

–Even though some occupations under age 65 are eligible, I don’t see how anyone with a job could possibly get an appointment. Trying to navigate/game the appointment systems is a full-time job, involving checking multiple web sites, learning what time is best to check a particular web site, hitting the “refresh” on your computer continually, and so on.
–Because it takes so much social capital to work the system (local list-servs are buzzing with tips on how to get an appointment), I was not surprised when a white person told me of getting an appointment at a grocery store in a mostly-black neighborhood and finding that all the other people with appointments were white. So on top of everything else, it exemplifies systemic racism.
–If a private firm operated like this, no one would put up with it.

4. You can’t die now–it’s the Super Bowl! Total COVID deaths for February 7-8 were under 3000, the lowest two-day total this year. Doctors do have a lot of discretion to keep someone alive for a day or two longer if that is more convenient for the family. I’m expecting a bounceback today.