shutdowns need to last 12 weeks to save lives, assuming that's the highest priority

Risky weeks ahead and until vaccines arrive. Meanwhile Texas Attorney General tells county officials they can’t require face masks or issue stay-at-home orders”.

Social distancing didn’t meaningfully reduce the number of deaths from the Spanish flu a century ago because it didn’t last long enough, says a new research paper that has implications for the response to Covid-19.


“The lesson for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in 2020 is that, to curtail overall deaths, the NPIs [non-pharmaceutical interventions] used have to be maintained for substantially longer than a few weeks. Most likely, 12 weeks work much better than 4-6 weeks,” Robert Barro writes in the National Bureau of Economic Research working paper.

Barro’s calculation doesn’t take into account the economic losses from an extended shutdown. But in an email, he says any decline in gross domestic product has to be weighed against the economic value of saving lives. He uses $10 million for the value of a single life, based on estimates of how much additional money people demand to be paid for jobs that increase the risk of dying. At 12 weeks, he says, the benefits from a shutdown exceed the costs.…


A new academic paper produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York concludes that deaths caused by the 1918 influenza pandemic “profoundly shaped German society” in subsequent years and contributed to the strengthening of the Nazi Party.

The paper, published this month and authored by New York Fed economist Kristian Blickle, examined municipal spending levels and voter extremism in Germany from the time of the initial influenza outbreak until 1933, and shows that “areas which experienced a greater relative population decline” due to the pandemic spent “less, per capita, on their inhabitants in the following decade.”

The paper also shows that “influenza deaths of 1918 are correlated with an increase in the share of votes won by right-wing extremists, such as the National Socialist Workers Party” in Germany’s 1932 and 1933 elections.…

Here is the 12-May #COVID19 US per-state chart of cumulative deaths per capita and trends.  32 out of 52 have higher growth today than yesterday.  Overall US growth continues at 1.6% per day.

Here is the 12-May #COVID19 US per-state chart of cumulative deaths per capita and trends.  32 out of 52 have higher growth today than yesterday.  Overall US growth continues at 1.6% per day.

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