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    Senior Member ahalpert's Avatar
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    Probably, and that was known at the time. From an article in the NYT on March 22:

    If it were possible to wave a magic wand and make all Americans freeze in place for 14 days while sitting six feet apart, epidemiologists say, the whole epidemic would sputter to a halt.
    But, given the impossibility of completely wiping out the virus, you would still need to take suppressive steps afterwards or else exponential spread would lead you right back to where you started in a matter of weeks or months.


     

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    Back of envelope calculations....

    2 million lives saved x 10 million dollars per life (a commonly used estimate by economists) = 20 trillion dollars

    And that's how policy makers think. If it were only 200k lives, the deal would be off. If our response cost 40 trillion dollars, the deal would be off.

    It's why governors of every stripe are taking drastic action and mandating masks right now. Mandating masks is also hella cheap and has few negative side effects compared to basically every other intervention at our disposal.

    On Monday, Sweden limited public gatherings to 8 people maximum by penalty of fine or prison. Earlier this year, during the first wave, the limit had been 50. More recently, during the lull, the limit had been 300, in each case by recommendation only.

    in a dramatic U-turn on Monday, new restrictions will no longer be a recommendation but enshrined in law as part of Sweden’s Public Order Act, which means there will be harsh penalties for violating them. Lawbreakers could face fines or up to six months in prison.

    The restriction is aimed at public events such as sporting events and concerts and doesn’t extend to private gatherings.

    Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told citizens: “It’s going to get worse. Do your duty and take responsibility to stop the spread of infection.

    “There should not be social situations with more than eight people even if they are not formally affected by the law. This is the new norm for the whole society, for all of Sweden. Don’t go to the gym. Don’t go to the library. Don’t have dinners. Don’t have parties. Cancel.”
    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/sw...le-11605538856
    Last edited by ahalpert; 11-18-2020 at 11:49 PM.


     

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    Because this is the only pandemic in history that has such a wide and diverse digital record of its lengthy journey and impact, I think world leaders will be more prepared in the future (especially that we now know this could actually really happen at this level...and not only in Hollywood).

    Truth is...the fact-of-the-matter is that it will always be much easier to discuss what should have been done or could have been done than actually making someone do it.

    It is difficult to control large countries.


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    Exactly. we have a well documented pandemic of 1918. We already knew even back in March, that it would be much worse this winter. It's straight out of the 1918 pandemic playbook and yet the proper steps were not taken.

    Standard human behavior - Unwilling to do what must be done until it has to be done or until it's too late. My favorite example is WWII. The world had several years to put out the fire, but waited for too long. 40 million lives later, it worked out ok.


     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul F View Post
    Exactly. we have a well documented pandemic of 1918. We already knew even back in March, that it would be much worse this winter. It's straight out of the 1918 pandemic playbook and yet the proper steps were not taken.

    Standard human behavior - Unwilling to do what must be done until it has to be done or until it's too late. My favorite example is WWII. The world had several years to put out the fire, but waited for too long. 40 million lives later, it worked out ok.
    It's all a bit tragedy of the commons...or something. There's probably a different term.

    It's difficult to organize collective action to deal with uncertain outcomes that are not immediate


     

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    Organization is much more successful when fear is the ultimate equalizer.


     

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    Quote Originally Posted by ahalpert View Post
    Back of envelope calculations....

    2 million lives saved x 10 million dollars per life (a commonly used estimate by economists) = 20 trillion dollars

    And that's how policy makers think. If it were only 200k lives, the deal would be off. If our response cost 40 trillion dollars, the deal would be off.
    Thanks for sharing that. Super interesting. Question, though - this is a generic value. Do they adjust it to account for "the vulnerable" and given a lower VSL to those late in life, etc.? Any data on that?

    Learning something here and it's a strong point regarding all the talk of "the economy". When you calculate in that sense, if we reach 500k tests that's an expensive loss in GDP. But I assume the number is calculated assuming a lifelong contribution of GDP, so it must change if the person is 75?


     

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    Quote Originally Posted by ahalpert View Post

    And now that we know that a 95% effective vaccine is just a few months away from widespread distribution, every infection that we prevent in the interim could be a life saved. We are not simply delaying the inevitable.

    We are the most technologically advanced civilization in human history, if not universal history. I'm not willing to go full lord of the flies without a fight.
    Also a very interesting point... does change the game when we think of how we respond with end in sight VS the prospect of this being a "just live with it" endeavor.


     

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    My brother was saying a couple days ago a guy he ran into from Toronto that said he was surprised that everyone here locally(population around 10K) was wearing masks. The guy said "In Toronto nobody wears a mask." I replied "No poop." Meaning T.O is having major spkies in Covid compared to other areas of the province. Wearing a mask doesn't bother me in fact in this current cold weather it help keeps my face warmer. To each is own. We all make choices and live with them. Just sayin'.
    "Remember To Dip the Right End of the Cigar in your $250.00 dollar glass of Brandy." -Doc Bernard.


     

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    Quote Originally Posted by filmguy123 View Post
    Thanks for sharing that. Super interesting. Question, though - this is a generic value. Do they adjust it to account for "the vulnerable" and given a lower VSL to those late in life, etc.? Any data on that?

    Learning something here and it's a strong point regarding all the talk of "the economy". When you calculate in that sense, if we reach 500k tests that's an expensive loss in GDP. But I assume the number is calculated assuming a lifelong contribution of GDP, so it must change if the person is 75?
    I'm not really sure how these things are calculated, it's just what I've seen bandied about. Some people make a discount for the elderly. I can't remember the exact figures I've seen. I think some people use $15 million for an under-65 and $10 million for an over-65. Or maybe $10 million for the under and $5 million for the over.

    I just skimmed this but it may explain more:

    Alan Krupnick: Yeah. Well, the first thing is to understand exactly what this concept is from an arithmetic point of view. So suppose that there's a million people in a city and you can have some regulation that's going to reduce the probability of death by one in a million. What that really means is for a million people, somebody in that city is going to not die that would have otherwise died by cleaning up the pollution, let's say. So we're saving one life. Nobody knows whose life it will be, but we're saving one life. And then we ask people or we find out however we do that, which is the next thing I'll say. We find out that each person on average is willing to pay $10 to know that the risk of them dying prematurely is going to go down by one in a million. And so then we add up those $10 for each person in the city. So that's $10 million. So the value of a statistical life is 10 million. And what it is formally, it's the willingness to pay to reduce your risk of death divided by what that risk change actually is.

    And in this case, it's one in a million. So it's 10 divided by one in a million, and that's 10 million. That's how it works. Now, where does this $10 come from? Basically there are two techniques. One is called “revealed preference,” and the other is called “stated preference.” The revealed preference techniques are observations and statistical analyses of how people in their everyday lives trade-off small changes in risk of death for money. The most popular approach for getting this estimate about people's preferences for trading risk for money is called the “hedonic wage approach.” What we know is that people in riskier jobs than other people, all other things equal, get paid a wage premium for taking that added risk. So if you know what those wage premiums are and you know what the added risk is, that's the numerator and denominator of this VSL calculation. Those studies yield this estimate actually of about $10 million per statistical life.

    Daniel Raimi: So if we're looking at people working risky jobs, let's say people working on an oil and gas rig or people working on dangerous fishing vessels, we observe the change in their risk of dying and then we observe how much additional money they're paid for that job compared to some other similar job that doesn't have that risk of death. Is that right?

    Alan Krupnick: Yeah, exactly. We noticed that people on oil rigs have a higher risk of dying than people sitting in an office on the job, so that's the difference in risk. And then we know the wage premium that people on that oil rig get paid, so then we have the pieces to calculate the VSL. Now, remember: people on that oil rig, they probably don't have PhDs. So when you do the statistical analysis, you need to correct for differences in education, or gender, or race, or other factors that actually do affect wage differentials across the industry. But once you do that—and you can do it in pretty sophisticated ways—that yields the wage premium that's associated with this higher risk of death. The other approach is the “stated preference approach.” This approach involves using sophisticated surveys to elicit people's preferences for reducing their risk of death, and this is actually an area where my research specializes. I do these studies where I asked people in certain contexts, situations, how much they're willing to pay to reduce their risk of death by a little bit.

    We could go on and on about all the details of these surveys and all the checks and credibility issues. So how one can really believe the results you get from a survey, that's hypothetical. It's not their observed behavior as it is in revealed preference approaches. It's their stated behavior within these surveys. Those surveys tend to yield a number that's actually lower than the 10 million that you get from the wage hedonics in the range of $3-$5 million
    https://www.resourcesmag.org/resourc...alan-krupnick/


     

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