American distress (average is over)

The proportion of the US population in extreme distress rose from 3.6% in 1993 to 6.4% in 2019. Among low-education midlife White persons, the percentage more than doubled, from 4.8% to 11.5%. Regression analysis revealed that (1) at the personal level, the strongest statistical predictor of extreme distress was “I am unable to work,” and […]

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China fact of the day

A Chinese pharmaceutical company has injected hundreds of thousands of people with experimental Covid-19 vaccines, as its Western counterparts warn against administering mass vaccinations before rigorous scientific studies are complete. China National Biotec Group Co., a subsidiary of state-owned Sinopharm, has given two experimental vaccine candidates to hundreds of thousands of people under an emergency-use condition approved by Beijing […]

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The fragility of herd immunity

Trouble in the Madrid region is brewing again, even though earlier seroprevalance had clocked in at about 20 percent: Good for New York of course, here is a thread discussing the comparison, to me the conclusions seem premature.  The important point in any case is that Covid-protected time periods need not last forever, and you […]

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Markets in everything

Swedish label Kön has produced a range of gender-neutral underwear to demonstrate that products “don’t have to be categorised” as just for men or women. The underwear is made from plant-based textiles and comes in recycled paper packaging. Wanting to create an inclusive brand suitable for everyone, Bill Heinonen founded Kön – a fashion company […]

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My Conversation with Matt Yglesias

Substantive, interesting, and fun throughout, here is the audio, video, and transcript.  For more do buy Matt’s new book One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger.  Here is the CWT summary: They discussed why it’s easier to grow Tokyo than New York City, the governance issues of increasing urban populations, what Tyler got right […]

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Are School Reopening Decisions Related to Union Influence?

Yes, in short.  Here is a new paper from Corey Deangelis and Christos Makridis: The COVID-19 pandemic led to widespread school closures affecting millions of K-12 students in the United States in the spring of 2020. Groups representing teachers have pushed to reopen public schools virtually in the fall because of concerns about the health […]

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Dark matter, second waves and epidemiological modelling

Here is a new paper from Karl Friston, Anthony Costello, and Deenan Pillay: Background Recent reports based on conventional SEIR models suggest that the next wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK could overwhelm health services, with fatalities that far exceed the first wave. These models suggest non-pharmaceutical interventions would have limited impact without intermittent national lockdowns and […]

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Covid-19 in Kenya

Let’s hope this is true!: Policy makers in Africa need robust estimates of the current and future spread of SARS-CoV-2. Data suitable for this purpose are scant. We used national surveillance PCR test, serological survey and mobility data to develop and fit a county-specific transmission model for Kenya. We estimate that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic peaked […]

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Should NBA referees call fouls objectively in playoff games?

I call them “rule of law” foul calls, because they are in accord with clearly defined standards for a foul call.  In contrast, in the “good ol’ days” referees used to think: “I’m not going to let a foul call determine the outcome of this playoff game in the decisive moments.”  So unless the defender […]

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On vaccine timing, from the comments

MR commentator Sure writes: Current US excess all-cause mortality is running around 10K above trend line on a good week. For these purposes we need neither know nor care if this is do to Covid directly, fear of catching Covid, or the effects of lockdown policies (e.g. increased rates of suicide from business failure). Suppose […]

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