So I want to talk about vaccines and the scale of stupid involved in what's happening.
We've heard what % of the population is vaccinated. What % of vaccines are distribute. We've heard about prioritization.

But does anybody have any numbers on prioritization? I couldn't find any. So I made some.
How many people live in each state who are either healthcare workers or elders living in group quarters? With a little adjustment for population change, we can estimate this, and see if states were over- or under-allocated vaccines.
So we can divide "vaccines distributed" according to the CDC by "number of healthcare workers and people in retirement homes."

What do we get? Here's what we have, and this is EXCLUDING distributions to Native American health bodies, prisons, DoD, and the VA system.
Alaska, DC, Nevada, Hawaii, Georgia, and Arizona all got more vaccines than they have people eligible to receive them in phase 1.

Cannot tell you how insane that seems to me.
Meanwhile, ND, MA, OH, and NY all got less vaccine than they'd need to even get their priority populations 2/3 vaccinated.
Keep in mind that Alaska, Hawaii, Arizona, DC, and Nevada are also states that have relatively high rates of DoD and/or Indian Health Services, which I'm *not* counting.
This isn't a supply chain issue. It's not like it just easier somehow to get vaccines to Alaska, but super hard to get them to Massachusetts.
Maybe you can argue over-allocating to Alaska or Hawaii is good BECAUSE it's hard to get vaccines there. Okay, maybe. But that doesn't apply to Arizona, DC, or Nevada.
So here's how many vaccines have been ADMINISTERED compared to priority populations. Obviously, we know by now many vaccines have gone outside the prioritized group. But assuming 100% were within-priority, this is how many priority folks are vaccinated.
SURPRISE SURPRISE DC is at like Israel-levels of vaccinating its high-priority group. And again, THAT IS NOT INCLUDING the DoD's vaccination program, which obviously is huge in DC.
If the government had a plan to vaccinate the elites in the capital first, that might actually make a lot of sense! Maybe you need to do that!

But it should be publicly justified.
Meanwhile, West Virginia is also approaching Israeli levels of completion of prioritized groups. So is South Dakota.
BUT HOLD ON.

This is all wrong!

Because guess what?

SOme people already got COVID, and so already have some immunity! We need to account for them!
See, what the Feds SHOULD have done is allocated vaccinations based on the number of priority people in a state **who had not already gotten COVID**.

We can estimate the exposure rate in a state using widely-accepted IFR estimates and official deaths.
So here's vaccine distributions vs. the likely actual number of people who in a rational world possibly *should* have been prioritized in that first wave.
So Maine, Ohio, Vermont, and New Hampshire got shafted, while Alaska got two vaccines for every person who really needed one in the first wave.
So, who's really doing tons of vaccination of priority folks who need it?

South Dakota, DC, WV, ND, CT, NM, AK.

Who's lagging? Arkansas. Georgia. Alabama. South Carolina. Oregon. North Carolina.
Sorry, I misspoke. I shouln't say Israel-level of vaccination, since I'm looking at just *nursing home* elders + healthcare workers, while Israel has done like 80% of *all elders* (but less for health workers).
Anyways, the point is, the Federal government set a priority list.... and then distributed vaccines with a fairly blatant disregard for that priority list.
So of course there's excess! The Federal government ***allocated excessively*** to some states, and under-allocated to other states. Some states got shafted for no apparent reasons.
My guess on what actually happened here is that a drug company gave them a sheet saying, "Here's how we usually allocate flu vaccines" or "Here's how we usually allocate pneumococcal vaccines" and they just adopted that distribution.
I was sent some data I had not seen before on vaccine *allocations*. Distributions are "how many doses states have ordered for shipment," which is not the same as "how many doses the Feds allocate."
So first of all, if you drop Alaska which was allocated a double share of doses, here's "share of allocations administered" vs. "allocations per capita."

It's noisy, but broadly states that received more vaccines used more of what they got.
This suggests that inventory effects are in play. Vaccine providers dislike running out. That's probably not states: it's probably hospitals, pharmacies, county health offices basically "wanting to keep some in reserve" even though they've been told not too.
That getting a *bigger* allocation would lead to a *larger* share used is kinda wild.

And if you use the priority population as the baseline instead of total population (total pop was used in HHS' actual formula), it gets weird too.
You can see that while getting more total vaccines leads to MORE usage, getting more vaccines COMPARED TO PRIORITY PEOPLE leads to LESS usage. This is the demand effect. States that were "overallocated" compared to priority people have unused inventory.
This is super important!!

What this is telling us is "states who were a bit more flush on inventory push vaccine out better, but states that got too many doses compared to eligible people are sitting on unused doses which will expire"
In other words, we would have been better off vaccinating ONE STATE AT A TIME, doing the ENTIRE POPULATION AT ONCE.

Call out the military and go door to door jabbing everybody.
This would maximally address the apparent sources of underuse of vaccines, which are an inventory effect and wastage due to prioritization.
HISTORICAL SIDENOTE:

This is basically how historic Big Vaccination Programs work. Specific areas are targeted for ultra-intense vaccination effort to get saturation.
This is also probably how later-vaccinating places in the developing world will actually do it.
I feel silly I didn't think of this in like October because in hindsight "spread all the doses out to every state and make 51 different plans for small quantities of doses" is actually a really bad sounding plan to begin with.
Probably a better plan would have been to do one state at a time in order of population share over 65, but vaccinate everybody all at once.
Here's distributions of vaccine vs. allocations. As you can see, a few states ordered vaccines they were never allocated. I.... have no idea how that works? Maybe it's a logistics hiccup thing?
Also note that Ohio, one of the states I said was really shafted by the Feds.... is also on the low end in terms of "have state officials actually placed vaccine orders up to their allocation."

West Virginia, meanwhile, is high up there on "actually placing the order."
Here's *Allocations* as a share of priority population. You can still see some states getting wildly different allocations, but which states it is varies.
So allocations do change the story a bit. It's also not 100% clear if distributions include 2nd doses or not. If they do that wouldn't change rank order at all, but it would change the absolute % of orders.
But if distributions include second doses, it would imply that virtually no states has even bothered to place orders for 50% of their allocations.... which I find extremely implausible.

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More from @lymanstoneky

13 Jan
Saw @mattyglesias tweet about a poll of QAnon support (linked). I think it's a *bit* mistaken tho: the table he shared was QAnon support *among those who had heard of it*. But TONS more liberals have heard of QAnon than conservatives!
Here's the net favorability of QAnon (double-weighting the "very" folks) accounting for differences in who's even heard of QAnon. Image
Key to understand is Democrats and liberals are EXTREMELY anti QAnon not only because they are very unfavorable to it but because large shares of Rep/Con folks ***have never heard of QAnon***.
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13 Jan
I think it's fair to criticize US support of the Saudis in this war.

I also think it's unreasonable to argue that we should be providing even humanitarian aid in a region where we know both sides will steal it and use it to enhance their exploitation of the local people.
During the US Civil War, the Confederates starved because the Union starved them.

Food aid to the Confederacy would not have gone to slaves, folks. It would have gone to slave-owners.
It's possible to say both "we should not support the inhumane Saudi war effort" and also "if the Houthis want Iranian support, let Iran feed them."
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13 Jan
reading the self-important and vaguely-cultish textbooks by bayesians makes me want to go out and kill a sufficiently large number of bayesians that i can estimate the mean pitch of their screams
"when we have multiple models, we should choose one using Bayesian statistics"

no

you should do both and publish an appendix showing robustness tests, you cultist
"but my bayesian model takes 4 weeks to process i can't run 1,397 robustness tests"

yes

exactly
Read 33 tweets
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Because we're *not* vaccinating healthcare workers for this reason.

Many healthcare workers getting vaccinated are not even tangentially related to the ICU, or even providers *at all*, and what's actually happening is the fetishization of COVID precautions.
Choices are *justified* through ritualistic gestures at putatively epidemiologically significant concepts.

But the choice to put many non-health-related workers ahead of high risk people is the giveaway.
Likewise, that we have "prioritization" schemes, but allocated vaccines based on *total* population, suggests that those schemes are meaning-making rituals designed to build narratives of just desserts, not health-related efforts.
Read 8 tweets
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I'm one of those approximately 14 Americans who thinks we should give PR statehood and have a new VRA but not DC statehood or universal mail-in balloting.
Good question! Let me list a few things.

Election day is a a kind of super-Federal Holiday, and no employer other than public safety organizations can schedule more than 4 hours of work.
Commit money to waive passport application fees, expand the agency producing them, and automatically issue them for each social security number or any time somebody interacts with the Federal government.
Read 17 tweets
12 Jan
This got me thinking. I instinctually was like, "This is definitely wrong..." and went to check it. And indeed, it's wrong. Graphs below!
So we have to start by asking, "How do we calculate excess deaths?"

By "excess deaths" we mean "deaths above the value we expect in this period based on some plausible counterfactual."
But.... what is the plausible counterfactual!?!?!

This turns out to be super important in a lot of cases. Deciding what the baseline would have been is kind of a big deal.
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