It’s been more than two years since the start of the Covid pandemic, and much progress has been made. But how much do we have? have learned? We have a vaccine available, now for people of almost all ages. This is a remarkable achievement, but how effective is it in the end? And perhaps more importantly, what do we know now about how to manage future epidemics? Such questions weigh heavily on Dr. Vinay Prasad’s (and my!) mind. In this episode, EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomes Prasad to explore these questions and more.
Now we want to hear what hurt you Use the prompts below to spark comments here in this conversation, or use them to start a new conversation offline. Conversation is what we’re here for.
1- Prasad is clear that he believes the Covid vaccine is a significant achievement that has clearly benefited us in this pandemic. What does he mean, then, when he says that we may now face diminishing returns from vaccines, especially among younger people?
2- Prasad says we now have two buckets of risk when it comes to vaccination. The first is the “original antigenic sin” bucket, the second is the risk of myocarditis. How do these buckets differ, and how does Prasad believe we should approach each? And importantly, what role does he think randomized control trials should play?
3- Roberts asks Prasad what “distortions in public health will plague us over time.” How does Prasad respond? How has this problem affected the way you Think about the pandemic?
4- Next, Roberts asks Prasad if the most aggressive lockdowns have prevented the most deaths. (FWIW, Prasad calls this “one of the biggest economics questions of the next quarter century.”) According to Prasad, how do we know whether a lockdown has helped or hurt a country? What can we learn? More?
5- The conversation ends with a discussion of the impact of COVID on children, especially the mask mandate. What we know and what we do according to Prasad no Know about them? To put it mildly, Prasad is very unhappy about the lack of randomized trials, which he thinks would be easier to accomplish. Why does he think that, and what does he mean when he says, “I think that a nation is willing to, I mean, print $5 trillion in money and lose $20 trillion in GDP. [Gross Domestic Product]But not willing to spend, you know, $10 million, a hundred million, for something moving basic Randomized trials in public health? I think that’s a problem for me.”