Disparities in COVID-19 hospitalization rates

Azar et al. (2020) use electronic health record data to examine differences in COVID-19 hospitalization rates by patient characteristics. The authors find that: …compared with non-Hispanic white patients, nonHispanic African American patients had 2.7 times the odds of hospitalization, after adjustment for age, sex, comorbidities, and income. These findings echo similar COVID-19-related conclusions across California.…

Are COVID-19 tests free?

The answer should be ‘yes’. From an economist’s perspective, prices for goods and services should generally be set at marginal cost unless there are externalities. In the case of COVID-19, there are clear externalities. By finding out that someone is COVID-19 positive, one could not only treat the patient (not an externality) but also the…

More evidence that social distancing works

Kapoor et al. (2020) uses rainfall on last weekend before the stay-at-home order as an instrument for social distancing. variables. They find that social distancing works and has persistent effects, especially early on: We test whether earlier social distancing affects the progression of a local COVID-19 outbreak. We exploit county-level rainfall on the last weekend…

Fighting fraud sensibly in a global pandemic

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc for patients, family, the economy and the health care system. In an attempt to provide support to families and businesses, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act injects funding into the economy. Further, regulations have been relaxed. As Michael Adelberg and Melissa Garrido write today in the Health Affairs…