Trump cut off funding to the WHO. What’s that? And also, why?
Most people probably hadn’t heard of the WHO until Trump announced he was cutting off funding. Here’s what you should know about the organization and Trump’s complaints about it. The Organization. The World Health Organization, an agency of the UN, was established by a 1946 agreement, which went into effect two years later. It has …CONTINUE READING
Discussion of this issue is just beginning, but there’s a strong case for compensation.
The deaths of coronavirus victims are an ominous statistic that people watch anxiously. Many of those victims have left behind spouses, children, or grandchildren who were dependent on them. While we are spending trillions to help businesses impacted by the coronavirus, so far we are doing nothing for surviving families. We need to start seriously …CONTINUE READING
The first reported California death was a month ago. It seems more like an eon has passed.
How does coronavirus hit a state? First slowly, and then very fast. California was one of the first places in the U.S. to be hit with the coronavirus, and also one of the earliest to take action. Here’s a timeline, with some national events for comparison: January Jan. 25. First California coronavirus case reported. February …CONTINUE READING
Don’t break out the champagne when infections peak. Most deaths could happen afterwards.
There are some indications that we may be getting closer to the peak of new coronavirus cases in New York, and with luck the national peak may not be too far off. That would be welcome news when it comes. But it would be dead wrong to declare victory or assume that the worst is …CONTINUE READING
As it turns out, telling New Yorkers not to worry about the virus was a really bad idea.
The state of Washington seems to be a model of success in dealing with the coronavirus. What can we learn from that experience? And how did Washington’s approach differ from that of another hotspot with about the same population, New York City? Let’s begin by taking a look at how the situation developed in Washington. …CONTINUE READING
What can we learn from other countries’ efforts to control the virus?
Countries around the world have taken different pathways in responding to coronavirus. We can learn from their experiences– sometimes what to avoid, sometimes what we might do in the next phase of disease response. We should be starting to get a sense of what works, although a lot of rigorous study will be necessary to …CONTINUE READING
Takings law is complicated, but the answer to this question is clear. The answer is no.
Like others on the extreme right, the Hoover Institution is campaigning against “stay at home” orders because they cost too much money. Regrettably, the most recent argument to this effect on their website is by my colleague John Yoo. He argues that the Constitution requires states to compensate business owners for their losses. That’s simply …CONTINUE READING
Models are crucial to making policy decisions during the epidemic, but you have to know how to use them.
This post works through an exercise in how to use and interpret models of disease spread. Here are the takeaways for policy analysis: You need to know about a model’s sensitivity. Particularly in settings where the specific numbers really matter, such as forecasting how many hospital beds will be needed, it’s important to take into …CONTINUE READING
California still needs more housing close to transit.
In recent weeks, California has emerged as one center of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it continues to face challenges that existed long before the disease reached the state. Two serious ones: how California will meet its ever more stringent greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, and how the state will manage to provide affordable housing for …CONTINUE READING
There’s a lot we don’t know at this point. How should we deal with that?
Knowledge about the coronavirus is limited but growing. In the meantime, how should we cope with this uncertainty? I can’t give you psychological advice, but I can say something about how to think about this uncertainty. How to make decisions under uncertainty is something we know a lot about from the environmental sphere. Uncertainty is …CONTINUE READING