What happened to the mandate, the third leg of the stool?

But Congress did ultimately chop off a leg when it repealed the mandate penalties in 2017 — and, despite these predictions, the Affordable Care Act still stands. New federal data and economic research show the law hasn’t collapsed or entered the “death spiral” that economists and health insurers projected. Many experts now view the individual mandate as […]

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The international game theory of vaccines

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt: Ideally, a government will wish to publicize the announcement of a vaccine while slow-walking the actual distribution. That way, if there is something wrong with the brew, it can stop distribution before too many of its citizens experience adverse side effects. In […]

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Horror fans and morbidly curious individuals are more psychologically resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic

Fans of horror films exhibit less psychological distress during COVID-19. Fans of “prepper” films reported being more prepared for the pandemic. Morbidly curious people exhibit greater positive resilience during COVID-19. Morbidly curious people are more interested in pandemic films during the pandemic. Speculative, and yes replication crisis, but consistent with my intuitions, and in any […]

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Determinants of life expectancy

Life expectancy in the US increased 3.3 years between 1990 and 2015, but the drivers of this increase are not well understood. We used vital statistics data and cause-deletion analysis to identify the conditions most responsible for changing life expectancy and quantified how public health, pharmaceuticals, other (nonpharmaceutical) medical care, and other/unknown factors contributed to […]

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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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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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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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