The CDC went from recommending outdoor masking (way too precautious!) to triggering a cascade of indoor unmasking (seems a little early!) in like 17 days without any material change in the underlying science.
I don’t want to be “whatever the CDC says, I’m against” guy. But let’s just agree there is empirically no internal consistency to these positions, it’s just lurching from hyper-neuroticism to YOLO. This might as well be public health guidance by magic eight ball.
The right way to nudge the vax hesitant is to tell people the truth—the vaccines work very well—and let states offer benefits.

It's not to swing wildly toward unmasked indoor spaces in the hopes that it serves as a bankshot to persuade the skeptical.…
NB: For everybody saying "This is what all you anti-outdoor-mask people wanted!" ...…

... nope.
Coda: Shocker, @zeynep is making sense on masks and COVID

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More from @DKThomp

11 May
I wrote about America's troubling vaccine slowdown…

Daily vaccinations peaked the week the FDA paused the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. They're down 40% since. Coincidence?
1. It's the J&J pause—period.

Average daily shots peaked *the very same week* as the FDA announcement on Johnson & Johnson. What's more, daily doses plunged for every age group among non-senior adults, at the same time.
But wait...

Since mid-April, daily vaccinations are down ~40%. The highest-quality surveys don't show any increase in vaccine hesitancy that would explain more that a fraction of that. Something else is going on.
Read 6 tweets
10 May
In the last 20 years, I've gone from being completely obsessed with baseball, to not watching until the postseason, to basically never watching but loving old stats, to yawning from afar as the game disappears into a cloud of strikeouts punctuated by solo home runs.
A theory.

Few years ago, I wrote The Shazam Effect about how the big data revolution in music was leading to more repetitive music and radio playlists…

As the industry learned about ppl's tastes, they realized ppl just want the same thing over and over.
What does the Shazam Effect have to do with baseball?

Well, when a handful of cultural producers get "smart" about what works in their industry, the formula gets shared widely, and as strategies homogenize, the entertainment product becomes more boring.
Read 6 tweets
8 May
On overcoming vaccine hesitancy, I've come around to the position of "just pay them"
Will vaxbucks fix all of the vax-hesitancy problems? No.

Will millions of people still refuse the shots? Yes.

Is it sort of moral hazardish to means-test vaxbucks for the no-vax crowd? Kinda.

Will some ppl be *even more sure* that vaccines are a govt conspiracy? Yes.

Even so!
Most plans to overcome vaccine hesitancy cost money, either literally, or in the form of time spent with patients.

If we're going to spend scarce resources on the problem, maybe we should spend the least scarce resource—federal outlays—and give it directly to people.
Read 4 tweets
3 May
Tens of millions of Americans—including 60 percent of young Republicans—say they'll refuse the COVID vaccine.

I spoke to 11 of them. I asked them where their views came from and what might change their minds.

Here's what they told me:…
Four themes emerged from our conversations:

1. The "no-vaxxers" never thought the pandemic was a serious threat to them, and they resent the idea that they need a pharmaceutical intervention to get back to a normal life that they never wanted to stop living.
2. Many people I spoke to said they had already tested positive for COVID and felt confident in their natural immunity.

(Since this group took fewer precautions last year, it would make sense that a higher-than-avg share of them would have antibodies.)
Read 10 tweets
27 Apr
There have been a couple of great podcasts/articles about why NFL teams are still so bad at picking QBs. Coupla thoughts.

1. QB is one of the most contingent jobs in sports. He can't pass to himself, or block for himself. Success is determined by forces outside his control.
2. The reverse order draft (typically) guarantees the best college QBs go to the worst teams—a situation unlike any non-sports career—which means college talent is often "rewarded" with an awful professional home.
3. Greatness is (often) non-linear. Manning was a turnover machine who quickly learned historic efficiency. Brees was inconsistent before NOLA. Brady was a super-clutch player who got better and better thru his 20s until became a statistical monster in his 30s.
Read 4 tweets
19 Apr
A very hard question that we should probably try to answer at some point: What state had the best COVID response above expected value?

Here's the chart of excess deaths (Y) vs job losses (X) by state. Some thoughts...
And here is the color-coded map of deaths per capita by state (darker red means more deaths per population)
Coupla observations:

1. State policies fed into regional effects: Many deep south states and northeast states really got rocked.

2. But northern New England and the west/northwest did much better, as regions.
Read 5 tweets

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