The coronavirus (COVID-19) that is spreading through China is a tragedy, and I’d like to send my best wishes to those that are sick and my love to those who have passed on.
However, as yesterday’s quote noted – sometimes we need to temper our warm hearts with cold heads in order to understand social phenomenon and discover truths that lead to the improvement of society. If we are interested in understanding the risks to a country associated with coronavirus, we need good information on how the virus spreads and the fatality rate, in order to set appropriate policy.
In that way I’d like to talk about selection bias in the coronavirus figures – how this may overstate the death rate and understate the number of people catching it, and how the cruise ship – as well as being an incubator – may be (in part) a natural experiment which allows us to correct for this bias.
As my economics PhD thesis consider health related questions, this is an issue I like to think through, and which I think is valuable.Read more