As the slew of vaccines emerging in record time indicates, there is much truth to the maxim “necessity is the mother of all invention.”
For all of the good news about the arrival of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the hard truth for the coming year is that global demand will outpace supply. Without a multilateral agreement to allocate doses globally, the road to recovery will be much longer than it otherwise could have been.
The coronavirus pandemic has created a new kind of culture shock. It has affected essential and highly personal elements of many people’s lives within their own environments. A culture shock of this magnitude has not occurred since WWII. When the pandemic ends, societies will be quite different from what they were in the pre-coronavirus era.
Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Canada have joined a growing list of nations in barring travel to and from the United Kingdom as part of a bid to block a new strain of coronavirus that is sweeping across southeastern England.
The development of contact tracing apps was a promising response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but too few people appear to be using the apps to make them effective. This column offers three economic explanations for non-use: 1) the economic and social costs of quarantine, 2) underestimation of social externalities of app use, and 3) procrastination. It argues for the immediate application of carrots in the form of financial incentives and sticks in the form of regulation to accompany holistic policies that cover education, public campaigns, trust building, accountability, and nudging.
Governments and researchers have been working with an extremely ambitious timetable to provide billions of people with immunity to the new coronavirus. Now, the first vaccines are being distributed, spurring hope that the pandemic’s end is in sight.