In praise of Alex Tabarrok

Here’s a question I’ve been mulling in recent months: Is Alex Tabarrok right? Are people dying because our coronavirus response is far too conservative? I don’t mean conservative in the politicized, left-right sense. Tabarrok, an economist at George Mason University and a blogger at Marginal Revolution, is a libertarian, and I am very much not. […]

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The mortality of scholars

After recovering from a severe mortality crisis in the seventeenth century, life expectancy among scholars started to increase as early as in the eighteenth century, well before the Industrial Revolution. Our finding that members of scientific academies—an elite group among scholars—were the first to experience mortality improvements suggests that 300 years ago, individuals with higher […]

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Research funding sentences to ponder

What happens in the 4 mo between when an NIH grant is submitted and when it is sent to reviewers? This makes applications stale before review. COVID grants being reviewed now were submitted before any phase 3 vaccine results — an eternity ago. Can this lag be shortened? — Craig Wilen (@WilenLab) March 28, 2021 […]

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Are Americans getting worse?

Maybe so: Morbidity and mortality have been increasing among middle-aged and young-old Americans since the turn of the century. We investigate whether these unfavorable trends extend to younger cohorts and their underlying physiological, psychological, and behavioral mechanisms. Applying generalized linear mixed effects models to 62,833 adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (1988-2016) […]

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Trypanophobia or How to Alleviate Vaccine Hesitancy

A significant share of vaccine hesitancy is driven by fear of needles, tyrpanophobia. Adults don’t like to admit a fear of needles and less so that they would avoid a vaccine for fear of a jab. But tyrpanophobia is common and does reduce flu immunizations: Avoidance of influenza vaccination because of needle fear occurred in […]

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The EU Vaccine Bungling

The EU vaccine rollout has been remarkably bungled even by the standards we have come to expect from Western governments. In advising governments I and the AHT team argued that vaccines were the world’s easiest cost-benefit test because Billions<<Trillions. Yet when manufactures offered the EU vaccines worth thousands of dollars a dose for just $5-$40 […]

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A simple plan for sick leave

With Covid as a prompt, but not only because of Covid, it is worth thinking about the economics of sick leave more seriously.  How about this for a purely private solution for face-to-face workplaces? Give each full-time worker three sick days each year.  It is not only “paid” sick leave, rather you are paid an […]

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The importance of superspreading events

Empirical observation throughout the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has shown the outsized role of superspreading events in the propagation of SARS-CoV-2, wherein the average infected person does not transmit the virus. Our results suggest the same dynamics likely influenced the initial establishment of SARS-CoV-2 in humans, as only 29.7% of simulated epidemics from the primary analysis went […]

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Pandemic sentences to ponder

Of course, there are national health systems in Canada, Mexico, England, and France, among many others, and the uniformity of failure across this heterodox group suggests that structure may have made less of a difference than culture. “One of the common features is that we are a medical-centric group of countries,” says Michael Mina, a […]

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