public health

The Epstein Affair

A prominent law prof got COVID-19 numbers disastrously wrong.  Then things got worse.

The New Yorker recently published a devastating interview with law professor Richard Epstein. He had attracted their notice by publishing two columns on the Hoover Institution website, the first projecting a total of 500 U.S. deaths from the coronavirus (later raised to 5000), and the second defending his work.  I don’t see any need to …

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Inequality and the Coronavirus

Everyone is at risk, but some more than others.

It’s a truism among disaster experts that people who were disadvantaged before a disaster are also the most vulnerable during the disaster.  There are aspects of the coronavirus pandemic that fit this mold.  Here are some of the disparities we can expect to see. Rural v. Urban. Much of our economic growth and job opportunity …

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Does Being Conservative Have to Mean Ignoring Risks?

Florida’s Ron DeSantis doesn’t seem to think so.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis shows that it’s possible to be a staunch conservative and still be honest about the risks of climate change and the coronavirus.

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The Right Wing’s Views of Coronavirus and Climate Change

There’s a common theme: “nothing to worry about, folks.”

It’s interesting to see what conservative think tanks are saying about the coronavirus and compare it with their views on climate change.  There are some common themes — both problems tend to get downplayed, along with any possible need for major government action.  Like Trump himself, the conservative think tanks seem unable to process scientific …

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Risk, Uncertainty, and COVID-19

What do we actually know at this point about the dangers?

Like many environmental hazards such as toxic chemicals, the coronavirus is fundamentally a problem in risk management. And like issues such as climate change, the problem involves scientific data, modeling, and a good deal of uncertainty. With climate change, the key parameter is climate sensitivity. For diseases the key parameter is called R0, which measures …

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Virus Denial

Yet another effort to ignore reality, from the usual players.

We’ve seen this movie before. Scientists warn of a serious threat. But in Trump World, the problem doesn’t exist. It’s just a product of alarmism. First, climate change. Now, the coronavirus, COVID-19. Trump himself has worked hard to minimize the problem. “We have very few people with it,” he said, and ” people are getting …

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The World’s Looming Water Crisis

Climate Change Worsens Chronic Water Shortages for One-Quarter of Earth’s Population

The World Resources Institute recently released a disturbing report chronicling increased, dire water shortages around the globe that threaten millions of the earth’s inhabitants.  Climate change is a major contributing factor.  Public health crises, social unrest and global political conflicts are the inevitable consequences if the problem is not addressed successfully–and soon. “17 Countries, Home …

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Get Ready for Phase 2 of the Deregulation Wars

Air quality standards are next on the chopping block.

The first phase of Trump’s regulatory rollbacks has been directed against Obama’s climate change regulations.  Those deregulatory actions will be finalized soon.  What happens next will be in the hands of the courts. But the Trump EPA is now beginning a new phase in its attack on environmental regulation.  Having tried to eliminate climate rregulation, …

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Pruitt’s Utterly Opaque “Transparency” Proposal

Ironically, the proposal calling for greater transparency provides little clue into the agency’s thinking.

EPA recently issued a notice of proposed rulemaking entitled “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science.” The proposal would prohibit the agency from considering studies of health risks unless enough data is made publicly available to allow EPA or industry to validate the results. That sounds fine, but these studies often involve either confidential health records or …

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Actual True Story: Trump Admin. Proposes Bold New Regulation

Yes, it’s hard to believe. But it actually did happen.

On Thursday, the FDA made a stunning announcement about a new regulation for cigarettes.   Given that this is the Trump Administration, you might have thought they were going to require school lunch programs to hand out cigarettes or something. But no. FDA is proposing — or more accurately, is proposing to issue a proposal — …

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