1/ Most lockdown supporters don't understand cost-benefit policy analysis. The question is not whether lockdowns reduce Covid rates. The answer to that is a clear "yes": how could they not? Banning movement reduces infections, much like banning cars would reduce traffic deaths.
2/ The question is whether lockdowns prevent enough additional Covid cases *as compared to other policies*, such as warnings and advice. The question is also whether lockdowns prevent significantly more Covid cases than *the normal response of average citizens* to rising case
3/ numbers. The vast majority of people will react to rising case numbers by limiting travel and taking precautions on their own. How much does a formal government lockdown add to these voluntary precautions? What is the *marginal* added effect of lockdowns over government advice
4/ and voluntary compliance? *That* is the proper way to calculate the benefit of lockdowns -- the extra *marginal* behavior change they achieve (by coercion). The evidence suggests this *marginal extra* reduction from lockdowns is not large. cspicenter.org/blog/waronscie…
5/ But this isn't the end! We also have to calculate the *cost* of lockdowns. These are (1) tangible costs -- reductions in economic activity; (2) psychological costs (depression, substance abuse), and (3) liberty costs -- governments preventing citizens from exercising many
6/ fundamental rights -- to travel, to demonstrate, to operate their business, the list goes on. Now of course there will be tangible and psychological costs to voluntary behavior change -- people will reduce risky activites, and this will have an economic effect.
7/ This voluntary reduction in activity will also have psychological effects. But lockdowns certainly contribute significant *additional* tangible and psychological harm -- there's a difference between deciding not to vacation because you think it's risky, and being forced to.
8/ stay home against your will. And only lockdowns damage liberty. Nobody should welcome governments shutting down major liberties for literally months on end. That is a political and social disaster which should be taken very seriously.
9/ So the question is: Do lockdowns -- as opposed to less intrusive measures -- *prevent* so much harm that the harm they *cause* is justified? Based on the situation right now, when we know much more about Covid and have better treatments, I say the answer is a clear "no". END

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More from @AndrewHammel1

8 Apr
1/ What would I have done to contain Covid if I were King of Europe? In the first phase, when we didn't know much about the disease, lockdowns until enough data had been gathered about risk/mortality/treatment, etc. Pour billions into vaccines starting Day 1, perhaps
2/ announcing a contest. During the late Spring/summer lull, which happens with all respiratory viruses, begin aggressive contact tracing. Temporarily suspend data-privacy regulations and create a vigorous, workable tracing app. Setting the GDPR aside is a whole lot
3/ less of a rights violation than a lockdown, isn't it? Organize massive track and trace teams to figure out where the virus is most likely to circulate. At the same time, during the summer, create thousands of portable container ICU beds and a staff of well-paid
Read 14 tweets
6 Apr
@transatlantic @DavidVickery1 See, the problem with your reasoning is that whenever cases *fall* after governments impose lockdowns or other restrictions, you always attribute that to the lockdown. When cases *rise* after loosening, you attribute that to the loosening.
When cases *rise* after lockdowns, you say they would have risen further without them. When they *fall* after loosening, that just means other factors hindered the spread. It's a classic of selective biased reasoning, heads I win, tails you lose.
I'm inviting you to take the long-term perspective based on longitudinal time-series data, not random noisy news blips here and there. And when you look at that data thoroughly, as I have (and you haven't), it emerges that there is *no clear relationship* between
Read 5 tweets
5 Nov 20
1/ There are plenty of Euros smugly turning up their nose at America's "election chaos" who don't understand a number of key things about the USA. Almost all European countries (in fact, most countries) have mandatory government registration of all residents.
2/ Anytime you move, you must notify government authorities of your new address. Europeans, who have lived with strong centralized states for centuries, simply accept this and have a hard time imagining how it could be different. And it's easy to keep these records in small
3/ countries with small populations. So in Germany, when elections happen, the government sends a vote authorization notice to your address, which you then take to the polls along with your national ID card. This indeed makes for simple elections, since the state
Read 12 tweets

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