David Leonhardt

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Some precautions (like indoor masks) make sense for unvaccinated kids. But it’s also vital to help them return to normalcy. The biggest damage that Covid has done to kids is not from the virus itself. It’s the social, academic and emotional losses. nytimes.com/2021/06/18/bri…
Polls suggest that many Democratic voters have an inflated sense of Covid’s risks to children. If you’re liberal, you may want to ask yourself if you fall into this category. (If you’re conservative, you may want to encourage more of your friends to get vaccinated.)
So why so much attention to Delta and kids? It’s understandable. We have spent a year and a half obsessed with this deadly pandemic. But Covid just isn’t the main risk that most kids now face in their daily lives, even with Delta.
The best assumption seems to be that Delta will be modestly worse for children than earlier versions of the virus. “I haven’t seen data to make me particularly worried about Delta in kids,” @JenniferNuzzo says.
Delta does appear to be more severe than earlier variants of Covid. But it also appears to be in the same general range as those earlier versions. Look at childhood Covid hospitalizations in England, where Delta is now widespread:
The same is true for infants:
First, some overall perspective on kids and Covid… Serious cases of Covid among children have been extremely rare, much rarer than other risks that kids face:
I’ve heard from many parents of kids under 12 looking for guidance on the Delta variant of Covid. Today’s Morning newsletter tries to provide some. 🧵 nytimes.com/2021/06/18/bri…5
The two key facts about the Delta variant: 1. It seems to be both more contagious and more severe than other versions of the virus. 2. Vaccines work extremely well against it, virtually eliminating death. Check out the recent trends in Britain: nytimes.com/2021/06/14/bri…
The 29 shots per 100 people seems solid. When you look at the country-by-country data, that's consistent with a % in the high teens or low 20s for the share of people worldwide who have gotten at least 1 shot. I'd welcome thoughts or data from anyone who has it.
Yes, @OurWorldInData (which is generally wonderful!) reports 12% of the world has gotten at least 1 shot. But it also reports 29 shots for every 100 people worldwide. Those two stats seem inconsistent. The average recipient has not received 2+ shots. So 12% seem implausible. twitter.com/YesJeffAllen/s…
Is there a place where I can get the equivalent of a stack of resumes & cover letters for the NYC primary elections? I don’t want someone else’s one paragraph summary & I don’t want to read dozens of 3,000 word profiles. I want resumes & cover letters.
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A reflection of Canada's pacesetting 1st dose vaccination campaign is that it has now crossed back the US for new cases, population-adjusted @OurWorldInData
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The Senate bill is meant to address the R&D gap. And it’s a meaningful amount of money. But it also falls well short of closing the gap with China. nytimes.com/2021/06/08/bri…
China is basically copying the old U.S. model: Use government investments to gain a scientific advantage on other countries, which can translate into both economic and military advantages. And the U.S. is abandoning that model.
Other governments now devote significantly more to R&D than the U.S.
The U.S. government used to spend between 1% and 2% of GDP on investments in research and development. That spending yielded enormous returns: satellites, life-saving drugs, great universities, the internet and more. But federal R&D spending has fallen in recent decades. 🧵
5. Britain is important on its own terms. It also may offer a window into what will happen in the US and elsewhere.
4. The next few weeks in Britain will be important to watch. Does the increase in cases peter out? Even more important: does it lead to an increase in deaths? If not, an increase in (mostly mild) cases seems like an acceptable cost for reopening society. nytimes.com/2021/06/07/bri…
3. Beyond vaccination, behavior restrictions can still play a role. The key ones seem to be restrictions of indoor behavior for unvaccinated people, especially adults.
2. Nothing matters more than vaccination. The faster and more widespread that shots get into arms, the fewer infections will occur. And progress feeds on itself: Fewer infections also mean fewer future infections.
1. Making extreme progress against Covid — as Britain has done — is not the same thing as ending the pandemic. There can still be outbreaks. The Southern U.S., with low vax rates, will be especially vulnerable in coming months. nytimes.com/2021/06/07/wor…
Britain has handled Covid very well over the past six months. But cases have doubled there over the past couple of weeks, with the Delta variant playing a big role. What are the lessons for the U.S. and the rest of the world? 🧵
The NCAA making women finish a softball game at 2am and then come to the field less than 12 hours later is ridiculous. And obviously sexist. Really... no men's sport with this level of revenue would be treated like this. Not even sure the non-revenue men's sports see this.
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One of the great byproducts of a ranked choice voting election. twitter.com/TonyFratto/sta…
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Questions, challenges and corrections are welcome!
And if that’s correct, the overall Covid hospitalization rate for ages 5 to 17 is broadly similar to the overall flu hospitalization rate and probably modestly lower.
If this math is correct, it suggests a typical child flu hospitalization rate (ages 5-11) is about 4 times higher than the Covid hospitalization rate for the same age group.
The new CDC data also suggests that the adolescent hospitalization rate for Covid-19 symptoms is roughly .25x the child (ages 5-11) hospitalization rate for Covid-19 symptoms. (Again, from: cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/7…)
Together, these suggest that the adolescent hospitalization rate for Covid-19 symptoms happens to be similar to the child hospitalization rate (ages 5-11) for a typical flu season.
By coincidence, the child hospitalization rate (ages 5-11) for a typical flu season is also roughly 3x the adolescent hospitalization rate for flu symptoms during a typical season… (From: cdc.gov/flu/about/burd…)
The adolescent hospitalization rate for Covid-19 symptoms appears to be roughly 3x the adolescent hospitalization rate for flu symptoms during a typical season… (From: cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/7…)
Warning: this thread contains both arithmetic and an attempt to think through a problem out loud. I’d be interested to hear whether others think this sounds right.
Hospitalizations are *NOT* increasing in adolescents, as is being widely reported. Not sure why CDC cut the data at April 24 in this new June 4 report. Current data are avail through the end of May (?), and it tells a different story... LEFT: end of May RIGHT: end of April 1/n
Retweeted by David Leonhardt
--> (Remember that 10x zero deaths still equals ~0 deaths.) twitter.com/joshmich/statu…
The full picture: - The risks of any form of severe Covid for adolescents are extremely low (and even lower for kids under 12). - The risk of death was zero in the most recent period studied. - But vaccination is still a better bet. It also indirectly protects adults.
... it's 1/3 of a tiny number. Emphasizing the 1/3 will cause many people to believe ICU risk is higher than it actually is.
5. Finally, here is one bit of (sometimes accidental) sensationalism that I encourage people to be on guard for: It's accurate to say that about 1/3 of adolescents hospitalized with Covid had to go to the ICU. But it's also a bit misleading. 1/3 is a big share! And yet...
4. The hospitalization rates for kids under 12 - a key group, given vaccine access - are even lower than for adolescents.
3. The Covid risks for adolescents without an underlying medical condition are much lower than for those without a condition. About three-quarters of the 200 adolescents hospitalized with Covid had an underlying condition, like obesity, chronic lung disease or heart disease.
2. The Covid risks for adolescents are nonetheless extremely low: 64 Americans aged 12-17 needed ICU care for Covid from Jan-Mar 2021, and zero died. By comparison, about 300 to 400 died in vehicle accidents during the same period. 300+ vehicle deaths vs. 0 Covid deaths.
A few thoughts on this new data: 1. Covid is *not* zero risk for adolescents: In the first three months of this year, 204 Americans between ages 12 and 17 were hospitalized with Covid symptoms and 64 of them needed ICU care. This data argues for vaccinating adolescents. twitter.com/CDCMMWR/status…
@DLeonhardt @mollyhc Thank you for this, David. I have long hated the super-long days that Saturday and Sunday are at the WCWS. But that was on a personal level. To understand the toll that schedule may be taking on the players? I loathe it even more.
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And a postscript: I came upon this story only because of revelatory journalism by The Oklahoman's @JenniCarlson_OK and WashPost's @mollyhc, both of whose work is linked above.
Bottom line: College softball and baseball attract similarly sized audiences, yet the @NCAA treats them quite differently. In softball, it does not provide showers for the athletes at the nationally televised championship tournament. nytimes.com/2021/06/04/bri…
I asked @NCAA about all of this. @jonibc, the NCAA senior vice president for championships, did not respond to any of the specific inequities between softball and baseball. nytimes.com/2021/06/04/bri…
The softball tournament also plays with a compressed schedule. Teams have few off days - and sometimes must play two game in a single day, increasing injury risk. Coaches told @JenniCarlson_OK that the NCAA does this to save money on hotels and meals. oklahoman.com/story/sports/c…
Compare this to baseball's College World Series, which includes free massages for players, a golf outing and a big dinner for players, coaches and VIPs. And yes: the baseball players have showers at their championship stadium.
Despite the huge fan interest, the NCAA treats softball as a 2nd-class sport. The stadium that hosts the championship tournament does not have showers. The athletes must go back to their hotels to shower, as @mollyhc documents in this eye-opening story. washingtonpost.com/sports/2021/04…
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