Author Archives: John Hinderaker

Ventilators Are No Panacea

Featured image That is the theme of this article in the Spectator by Dr. Matt Strauss, a critical care physician. He begins: ‘More ventilators!’ cried the journalists on Twitter. ‘Yes, more ventilators!’ replied the politicians. ‘Where are the ventilators?’ demanded the journalists, now screaming on television. ‘Yes, even more!’ replied the government, somewhat nonsensically. That sums up a lot of the current discourse succinctly. I am a critical care physician, specializing in »

Data Suggest Masks Matter, Tests Don’t

Featured image We have posted several contributions by our friend Brian Sullivan. Brian is a serial entrepreneur who founded and now runs a cutting-edge cancer research company. He is an exceptionally able man in several respects; among other things, he understands mathematics. Unlike, apparently, every journalist in the United States. Brian has been analyzing international data on COVID-19 and has come to some striking conclusions. One month ago, the coronavirus pandemic’s impact »

Biden Must Go

Featured image As the Trump administration has been working feverishly (if at times misguidedly, in my opinion) to deal with the Wuhan virus, Joe Biden has been a pathetic bystander, putting out videos from his house and appearing occasionally on television. In both venues he has repeatedly lied about what the Trump administration is doing. Or, to be fair, he may be so out of it that he just doesn’t have a »

Infectious Disease Modeling: What’s the Track Record?

Featured image The London Times has a fascinating story on the tiny, incestuous world of infectious disease modelers. It begins with the two modeling outfits in Great Britain: Oxford University and Imperial College, London. We have all learned about Imperial as the source of the two wildly conflicting estimates that the British government has relied on. Now an Oxford professor is questioning Imperial’s model: The first public signs of academic tensions over »

COVID-19: What To Do?

Featured image This video is part of Peter Robinson’s Uncommon Knowledge series. His guest is Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, who is an economist as well as a member of Stanford’s medical school faculty. Dr. Bhattacharya has become somewhat famous as a result of an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in which he argued that the danger of COVID-19 is probably being overestimated. The conversation is intelligent; Peter is a good interviewer, and »

Has COVID-19 Peaked In the U.S.?

Featured image The Centers for Disease Control web site says there have been around 240,000 identified cases of the Wuhan virus in the U.S., and, as of today, 5,543 deaths. I have generally not paid much attention to data on cases, because the number of cases reported obviously depends in large part on the number of tests being carried out. More tests will generate more cases. Still, this chart suggests that the »

Who Is Dying From COVID-19?

Featured image I have been looking for data on the demographics of those who have died from the Wuhan virus, but for some reason they have been hard to find. This article in the Times of Israel answers some of my questions: Most of Israel’s coronavirus fatalities have been elderly men with underlying medical conditions, in line with global averages. The average age of Israel’s dead was 79.8 years old as of »

The Mirror & The Light

Featured image One thing about self-isolating, you have plenty of time to read. Yesterday I finished The Mirror & The Light, the concluding volume of Hilary Mantel’s trilogy starring Thomas Cromwell. The first book, Wolf Hall, covered Cromwell’s rise to power, first as an aide to Cardinal Wolsey, then, surviving Wolsey’s fall, as a key adviser to Henry VIII. Wolf Hall concludes with Cromwell’s victory over Thomas More. Cromwell was a protestant »

The Wuhan Virus: Where We Are Now [Updated]

Featured image When the news consists just about entirely of the Wuhan virus, and seemingly every death merits a headline, it is easy to lose perspective. So it is time to update this chart, which I have posted a couple of times before. It is very simple: it shows 1) the average number of deaths per year, worldwide, due to the seasonal flu virus, which is around 470,000; 2) the total number »

Coronavirus Brings Out the Worst In France

Featured image The London Times reports from France. Even if we discount a bit for the fact that the British have often taken a jaundiced view of the French, the report is troubling: The wartime appetite for la délation — reporting wrongdoers to the authorities — has reappeared. In country towns, people are denouncing neighbours to the gendarmerie for breaching le confinement and leaving their homes too often. … Tempers are fraying »

Are People Catching On?

Featured image The poll data I have seen indicate that Americans are very much behind their governments’ efforts to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 virus. But today’s Rasmussen Reports also finds widespread concern that the cure–massive shutdown of our economy–could turn out to be worse than the disease: Fifty-nine percent (59%) of all voters are concerned that the government’s #cure for the #coronavirus threat may be worse than the problem, with »

Are COVID-19 Models a Sound Basis For Public Policy? [with comment by Paul]

Featured image Most Americans are now subject to “stay-home” orders of one kind or another, issued by state and local authorities, and countless “nonessential” businesses have been shut down. Millions have been thrown out of work, and thousands of businesses that have been shuttered will never reopen. The stock market has crashed, destroying the life’s savings of millions. Many millions of lives, in short, have been devastated by governments’ responses to the »

A Master Class In Economic Policy [Updated]

Featured image During this weird time when it is illegal for my organization, Center of the American Experiment, to sponsor the kinds of in-person events we normally produce, we are instead taking to the internet. We have planned a series of four programs under the rubric of “Master Class In Public Policy.” The first one is scheduled for tomorrow at noon Central time, and features our senior economist, John Phelan. Phelan will »

Who’s Fiddling?

Featured image I don’t watch television, so I am spared much of the madness that most people have to absorb. But I take it that the Democrats and their press are still doing their best to blame COVID-19 on President Trump. This makes no sense, obviously, but when has that ever stopped them? On CNN on Sunday, Nancy Pelosi said, “As the President ‘fiddles,’ people are dying.” That is an absurd way »

Joe Biden Can’t Be President (2)

Featured image Three weeks ago I wrote a post titled Joe Biden Can’t Be President: I’m not saying Biden shouldn’t be president. That has always been true. I am saying that he lacks the physical and mental qualities necessary to to the job–not to do it well, but to do it at all. Evidence of Biden’s incapacity continues to pile up. Earlier today, he gave an interview to MSNBC in which he »

Burn Down the Regulatory House

Featured image The Wuhan epidemic is bringing to light many regulations and processes that have needlessly impeded efforts to fight the virus by private industry, as well as by government. Quite a few such regulations are now being suspended, causing many to ask, why did we have them in the first place? At Center of the American Experiment’s web site, economist John Phelan offers a textbook example from our state of Minnesota. »

Joe Diffie, RIP [Updated]

Featured image COVID-19 has claimed one of its more prominent victims in country singer Joe Diffie, age 61. I remember Diffie fondly because he was on the radio in the early 1990s, when I first started listening to country music. I liked “Third Rock From the Sun” the only popular song, to my knowledge, whose theme is the nature of causation. Aristotle would approve, I think. Cause and effect, chain of events »