Category: Data Source
Importantly, this was the first study of an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to include participants older than 60 years—the most vulnerable age group for this infection. In the phase 1 dose-escalating trial, the vaccine was given at a two-dose schedule at three different concentrations (2 μg, 4 μg, and 8 μg per dose) and was well tolerated in both age groups (18–59 years and ≥60 years). The older age group had lower rates of solicited adverse events than the younger adults: the overall rates of adverse events within 28 days after vaccination were 34 (47%) of 72 participants in the group aged 18–59 years, compared with 14 (19%) of 72 participants in the group aged 60 years and older. At the same time, in both age groups the vaccine was similarly immunogenic: the geometric mean anti-SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibody titres measured by a 50% virus neutralisation assay 14 days after the booster dose were 88, 211, and 229 in the group aged 18–59 years and 81, 132, and 171 in the group aged 60 years and older for 2 μg, 4 μg, and 8 μg vaccine doses, respectively. Moreover, the authors tested cross-reactivity of the neutralising antibodies against several drifted SARS-CoV-2 isolates and showed the potential of their vaccine to protect against evolutionary diverged viruses, should they appear in circulation.
The current study is the second to report the interim results of safety and immunogenicity of inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, with the first being the another β-propiolactone inactivated aluminium-adjuvanted whole-virion SARS-CoV-2 vaccine developed by Wuhan Institute of Biological Products.
Both studies showed very similar levels of adverse events and neutralising antibody titres post vaccination, which indicates the reproducibility of clinical results of similar vaccine modes produced by different manufacturers.
All good news of course, and this vaccine exists right now. Just not for you! Here is the piece from The Lancet, and here is associated commentary, also seeming to confirm the positive results. A phase III trial is underway in the UAE to measure efficacy. I cannot speak to data reliability issues, but presumably the referees at The Lancet find this credible enough to recommend publication.
Via Alan Goldhammer.
After many years of decline in violent behavior among adolescents in several Western countries, recent official statistics indicate a possible trend change. So far, knowledge on how this change is related to co-occurring changes in leisure time activities is limited. Using two cross-sectional surveys from Oslo, Norway, this study found substantial increases in the prevalence of physical fighting from 2015 (N = 23,381; 51.6% girls) to 2018 (N = 25,287; 50.8% girls) in junior and senior high school. The rise in fighting was related to co-occurring changes in several leisure activities, including increasing time spent unsupervised by adults, rising digital media use, and rising cannabis use. The study emphasizes the importance of considering leisure time activities when addressing adolescent misbehavior.
In the aggregate data:
After a steady decline from 2007 to 2013 in police registered violent crime among adolescents under the age of 18 in Oslo, the capital of Norway, the number of violent crimes increased from 259 to 499 from 2013 to 2018, an increase
of 93% in five years.
Table 2 indicates that changes in “migration background” do not seem large enough to explain that evolution, even if that were the significant factor. And from the survey data:
In junior high school, the prevalence rates for boys increased from 31.4% in 2015 to 38.1% in 2018 and from 8.9% to
13.1% for girls…
A vaccine for COVID-19 is urgently needed. Several vaccine trial designs may significantly accelerate vaccine testing and approval, but also increase risks to human subjects. Concerns about whether the public would see such designs as ethically acceptable represent an important roadblock to their implementation, and the World Health Organization has called for consulting the public regarding them. Here we present results from a pre-registered cross-national survey (n= 5; 920) of individuals in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The survey asked respondents whether they would prefer scientists to conduct traditional trials or one of two accelerated designs: a challenge trial or a trial integrating a Phase II safety and immunogenicity trial into a larger Phase III efficacy trial. We find broad majorities prefer for scientists to conduct challenge trials (75%, 95% CI: 73-76%) and integrated trials (63%, 95% CI: 61-65%) over standard trials. Even as respondents acknowledged the risks, they perceived both accelerated trials as similarly ethical to standard trial designs, and large majorities characterized them as “probably” or “definitely ethical” (72%, 95% CI:70-73% for challenge trials; 77%, 95% CI 75-78% for integrated trials). This high support is consistent across every geography and demographic subgroup we examined, including people of diverging political orientations and vulnerable populations such as the elderly, essential workers, and racial and ethnic minorities. These findings bolster the case for these accelerated designs and can help assuage concerns that they would undermine public trust in vaccines.
Here is the paper by David Broockman, et.al.
This paper studies the heterogeneous impacts of the US-China trade war through linkages in global value chains. By building a two-stage, multi-country, multi-sector general equilibrium model, this paper discusses how imports tariffs effect domestic producers through internal linkage within industry and external linkage across industries. The model validates that imports tariffs on Chinese upstream intermediate goods negatively affects US downstream exports, outputs and employment. Effects are strong in the US industries that rely much on targeted Chinese intermediate goods. In addition, this paper differentiates the impacts of the two rounds of the trade war by comparing tariffs on intermediate goods and consumption goods. This paper estimates that the trade war increases US CPI by 0.09% in the first round and 0.22% in the second round. Finally, this paper studies the welfare effects of the trade war. This paper estimates that the trade war costs China $35.2 billion, or 0.29% GDP, costs US $15.6 billion, or 0.08% GDP, and benefits Vietnam by $402.8 million, or 0.18% GDP.
That is by Yang Zhou of the University of Minnesota, via the excellent Kevin Lewis. Those numbers should not come as a surprise, they do indicate that both countries are worse off, but they also show that a lot of the bargaining power does in fact reside on the side of the United States.
This study evaluates evidence pertaining to popular narratives explaining the American public’s support for Donald J. Trump in the 2016 presidential election. First, using unique representative probability samples of the American public, tracking the same individuals from 2012 to 2016, I examine the “left behind” thesis (that is, the theory that those who lost jobs or experienced stagnant wages due to the loss of manufacturing jobs punished the incumbent party for their economic misfortunes). Second, I consider the possibility that status threat felt by the dwindling proportion of traditionally high-status Americans (i.e., whites, Christians, and men) as well as by those who perceive America’s global dominance as threatened combined to increase support for the candidate who emphasized reestablishing status hierarchies of the past. Results do not support an interpretation of the election based on pocketbook economic concerns. Instead, the shorter relative distance of people’s own views from the Republican candidate on trade and China corresponded to greater mass support for Trump in 2016 relative to Mitt Romney in 2012. Candidate preferences in 2016 reflected increasing anxiety among high-status groups rather than complaints about past treatment among low-status groups. Both growing domestic racial diversity and globalization contributed to a sense that white Americans are under siege by these engines of change.
Here is the article, by Diana C. Mutz, via someone on Twitter whom I have forgotten!
It is not mainly about NBA politics:
- US Open (golf) final round: down 56%
- US Open (tennis) was down 45% and the French open is down 57% so far
- Kentucky Derby: down 43%
- Indy 500: down 32%
- Through four weeks, NFL viewership is down approximately 10%
- NHL Playoffs were down 39% (Pre Stanley Cup playoffs was down 28% while the Stanley Cup was down 61%).
- NBA finals are down 45% (so far). Conference finals were down 35%, while the first round was 27% down. To match the viewership, activity on the NBA reddit fan community is also down 50% from the NBA finals last year.
That is from Daniel Frank, here are a few of his hypotheses:
- Sports are very social. People love talking about sports with their peers and without interacting with as many people, people have less opportunities to talk about sports with others. This has the effect of making fans feel less engaged and more casual fans less likely to start watching, creating a cascading effect on engagement.
- Watching sports is a great way for people to tune out, relax and distract themselves from normal life. With so many people working from home, having a less defined break from work to non-work, and potentially working less hard, watching sports feels like less of an escape than it used to.
- People have started consuming politics like they do sports and their interest in sports has been cannibalized by political fanaticism.
- Lots of people are experiencing mental health challenges and struggling and don’t have the same interest in things they used to enjoy like sports.
My intuitions are quite close to Daniel’s — what do you all think?
— Eric Kaufmann (@epkaufm) April 12, 2020
First, I don’t think “liberals” is exactly the right word here, but I’m not going to relitigate that one now. Second, as I’ve argued in my The Age of the Infovore (and in some forthcoming writings you haven’t seen yet), I don’t think “mental health condition” is appropriate in this context. Furthermore, what are called “mental health conditions” often are sources of insight and can be positively correlated with talent.
That all said, I don’t think you can understand modern American discourse, most of all social media, without recognizing that “the intellectual Left” has higher neuroticism — as defined by Five-Factor personality theory — than say centrists. The Right of course has its own correlations, but that is a topic for another time.
We estimate the impact of mask mandates and other non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) on COVID-19 case growth in Canada, including regulations on businesses and gatherings, school closures, travel and self-isolation, and long-term care homes. We partially account for behavioral responses using Google mobility data. Our identification approach exploits variation in the timing of indoor face mask mandates staggered over two months in the 34 public health regions in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province. We find that, in the first few weeks after implementation, mask mandates are associated with a reduction of 25 percent in the weekly number of new COVID-19 cases. Additional analysis with province-level data provides corroborating evidence. Counterfactual policy simulations suggest that mandating indoor masks nationwide in early July could have reduced the weekly number of new cases in Canada by 25 to 40 percent in mid-August, which translates into 700 to 1,100 fewer cases per week.
That is from a new NBER working paper by Alexander Karaivano, Shih En Lu, Hitoshi Shigeoka, Gong Chen, and Stephanie Pamplona.
Region is a strong predictor of female survival, literacy, autonomy, employment, and independent mobility. A woman with the exact same household wealth/ caste/ religion will likely have more autonomy if she lives in the South.
It does not seem to be a function of wealth, nor was colonialism a major factor. And cousin marriage, which is more prevalent in the south? Alice notes:
Southern women may have gained autonomy despite cousin marriage, not because of it.
Islam, however, is one factor:
In sum, gender segregation became more widespread under Islamic rule. Men continue [to] dominate public life, while women are more rooted in their families, seldom gathering to resist structural inequalities.
But perhaps most significantly:
Female labour force participation is higher in states with traditions of labour-intensive cultivation…
Wheat has been grown for centuries on the fertile, alluvial Indo-Gangetic plain. Cultivation is not terribly labour-intensive, though cereals must still be processed, shelled and ground. This lowers demand for female labour in the field, and heightens its importance at home.
Rice-cultivation is much more labour intensive. It requires the construction of tanks and irrigation channels, planting, transplanting, and harvesting. Women are needed in the fields. Rice is the staple crop in the South.
Pastoralism may have also influenced India’s caste-system. Brahmins dominate business, public service, politics, the judiciary, and universities. Upper caste purity and prestige has been preserved through female seclusion, prohibiting polluting sexual access. These patriarchal norms may be rooted in ancient livelihoods. Brahmins share genetic data with ancient Iranians and steppe pastoralists. Brahmins also comprise a larger share of the population in North India and only 3% in Tamil Nadu.
Over the centuries, male superiority may have become entrenched.
Northern parents increasingly support their daughters’ education, but this is primarily to improve their marriage prospects, not work outside the home.
There is much, much more at the link, including some excellent maps, visuals, and photos.
Researchers from the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI), Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, Berkeley, worked with public health officials in the southeast Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to track the infection pathways and mortality rate of 575,071 individuals who were exposed to 84,965 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. It is the largest contact tracing study — which is the process of identifying people who came into contact with an infected person — conducted in the world for any disease.
Lead researcher Ramanan Laxminarayan, a senior research scholar in PEI, said that the paper is the first large study to capture the extraordinary extent to which SARS-CoV-2 hinges on “superspreading,” in which a small percentage of the infected population passes the virus on to more people. The researchers found that 71% of infected individuals did not infect any of their contacts, while a mere 8% of infected individuals accounted for 60% of new infections…
The researchers found that the chances of a person with coronavirus, regardless of their age, passing it on to a close contact ranged from 2.6% in the community to 9% in the household. The researchers found that children and young adults — who made up one-third of COVID cases — were especially key to transmitting the virus in the studied populations.
“Kids are very efficient transmitters in this setting, which is something that hasn’t been firmly established in previous studies,” Laxminarayan said. “We found that reported cases and deaths have been more concentrated in younger cohorts than we expected based on observations in higher-income countries.”
How persistent are economic gaps across ethnicities? The convergence of ethnic gaps through the third generation of immigrants is difficult to measure because few datasets include grandparental birthplace. I overcome this limitation with a new three-generational dataset that links immigrant grandfathers in 1880 to their grandsons in 1940. I find that the persistence of ethnic gaps in occupational income is 2.5 times stronger than predicted by a standard grandfather-grandson elasticity. While part of the discrepancy is due to measurement error attenuating the grandfather-grandson elasticity, mechanisms related to geography also partially explain the stronger persistence of ethnic occupational differentials.
That is the abstract of a piece by Zachary Ward, from American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. In a number of regards this paper goes well beyond the previous literature. Here is another interesting sentence:
…I find that 51 percent of initial ethnic gaps in occupational income remained after three generations.
The author also notes:
Rather than argue for an ethnic-specific causal mechanism, I instead point to measurement error and geography as key reasons for the stronger persistence of ethnic differentials across three generations.
I am not so convinced, as where you choose to live is endogenous to your expected labor market quality. I am somewhat more persuaded by this point:
…the ethnic mean provides more information about the father’s true occupational status.
Iin other words, what appears to be an influence of ethnicity might instead be a transmission channel through the background of one’s own father.
At times the author seems naive, at other times Straussian, or maybe just afraid? To be clear, I am myself an extreme culturalist, and that is not a Straussian remark. This is in any case a major contribution to a contentious debate.
A herd immunity data point: Borough Park in NYC has one of the highest antibody rates seen in the developed world: 43.9%, based on a huge testing program covering almost 1/3 of local pop. This week positivity rates of Covid-19 tests coming back hit 17%.
The most productive part of medical care is treatment for cardiovascular disease, both acute conditions and risk factors. Productivity estimates for acute cardiovascular diseases are $89,000 in aggregate — 79% of the total increase [in health care productivity from 1999 to 2012].
There has been very little progress over that same period in treating mental illness, arthritis, and musculoskeletal conditions. How about this:?
Despite a vast increase in the number of people treated with drugs for mental illness, the population’s mental health showed essentially no change over time.
Overall medical care was increasing in productivity over that period by about 0.7% a year, still great stagnation territory as they say.
That is all from a new paper by David M. Cutler, Kaushik Ghosh, Kassandra Messer, Trivellore Raghunathan, Allison B. Rosen, and Susan T. Stewart.
Here are the top ten, by Tomas Casas and Guido Cozzi:
4. United Kingdom
5. United States
China comes in #12, Mexico wins for Latin America, Poland overperforms and France (!) underperforms. Botswana is #23, and Argentina…uh-oh. I don’t quite understand how the index is constructed, but how much a given elite focuses on Value Creation and avoids rent-seeking seems to be a key consideration. The degree of Regulatory Capture counts as a negative. Overall, the U.S. does very, very well on many metrics, but does poorly on Value Extraction.
Did this happen? Were Spain’s hardest hit provinces in the spring spared in the second wave?
To get a quick sense of the answers to those questions I plotted the cumulative number of cases per 100,000 population in the Spanish provinces since June 15 against the proportion of the population in the provinces that tested positive for antibodies after the first wave. If herd immunity were playing a large role in suppressing cases in the second wave, we would expect to see a negative relationship between provinces with high levels of antibodies in the population at the end of May and total case counts since that time…
Instead of a negative correlation, there is a positive, although weak, correlation between having higher prevalence of antibodies in the population and having a higher case rate in the second wave.
…Take Madrid for example, if roughly 13% of the population had antibodies after the first wave, at least one of the low-HIT models estimates the Rₑ would be approximately 60% lower than than the unmitigated reproductive rate (R₀). If population immunity were reducing transmission in the Madrid area by 60% below unmitigated levels, it seems unlikely Madrid would again have one of the highest rates of infection in the second wave [yet it does].
…Ultimately, the strongest conclusion that can be drawn from this look at infection rates is that there is not clear evidence herd immunity is playing a significant role, yet.
Also take a look at a deeper dive looking for herd immunity in Sweden (spoiler alert: no signs of it yet).
It is fine to call this inconclusive, but still the pattern predicted by standard herd immunity claims is not yet showing up. Here is the whole piece from Kbenes, very useful.
And elsewhere, this was not supposed to happen, as New York Orthodox Jews also have been cited as a “herd immunity” community:
Officials this week released statistics showing that the positivity rate in some Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods [in NYC] had grown to anywhere from 3 percent to 6 percent, significantly more than the city’s overall rate of between 1 percent and 2 percent. Officials are especially worried about the positivity rates in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Borough Park, Midwood and Gravesend, which they have referred to as the “Ocean Parkway Cluster.”
Here is that full story (NYT).