Communicable disease: Origin story

An interesting discussion from This American Life (“The Herd“, transcript) talking about the origin of the term “communicable disease” with respect to public health monitoring for the 1918 flu pandemic. Ira Glass: Howard says [St. Louis Commissioner of Health] Dr. Starkloff had all kinds of messages, telling people to wash their hands, don’t cough on…

The rise of telemedicine

We have heard much about how COVID-19 has created a paradigm shift in the use of telemedicine. A paper by Patel et al. (2021) uses claims data between January 1, 2020, to June 16, 2020 to measure this trend quantitatively. They find that in a largely commercially-insured population: In the COVID-19 period, 30.1 percent of…

COVID-19, nursing home quality and vaccination

Interesting findings from an NBER working paper by Cronin and Evans (2020): Higher-quality nursing homes, as measured by inspection ratings, have substantially lower COVID-19 mortality. Quality does not predict the ability to prevent any COVID-19 resident or staff cases, but higher-quality establishments prevent the spread of resident infections conditional on having one. Preventing COVID-19 cases…

Positive news on a COVID-19 vaccine

Great news on progress for a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer. From their press release: Vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection in the first interim efficacy analysis Analysis evaluated 94 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in trial participants Study enrolled 43,538 participants,…