What happened with Covid NPIs?
Learning the right lessons from 2020
I know there’s a lot going on, but I thought today would be a good time to debate the hottest policy topic of three years ago: how to fight the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic.
As Nate Silver wrote a month ago, after-action reports on the pandemic show a very clear pattern of blue states having lower mortality than red states. But examining this in more detail shows that the liberal Covid advantage accrues essentially entirely after the rollout of vaccines. While vaccination was highly effective at saving lives and conservative anti-vax sentiment seems to have cost a lot of lives, pre-vaccination variation in Covid policy appears to explain very little about Covid mortality.
In other words, the non-pharmaceutical interventions didn’t work.
Silver pitched this as a contrarian claim, but it strikes me as conventional wisdom. Either way, though, the inefficacy of NPIs in this case is important to note. We’re certain to see more pandemics in the future, and it’s essential to try to learn useful lesso…
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