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Missing the Obvious on COVID

The authorities did not close the New York City public schools during the 1918/19 pandemic because they thought it better to have the children in a controlled environment. This is the sort of consideration of alternatives seriously lacking in our handling of COVID-19.

Two years in a row, cases have spiked in the South during the summer after relatively mild springs and before dropping off in the early fall. Last year cases only really started to rise in the Midwest in September. They are currently rising again.

Why? It's odd to me that these two different sets of circumstances haven't invited much discussion on the national stage. In consumer analytics we would analyze these two population segments and see whether environmental and behavioral characteristics might explain the difference.

In less densely-populated areas schools may be the primary factor in children gathering together indoors. In more densely-populated areas with hot and humid weather, children may mix with a greater variety of other children in closer quarters than they would had they been in school.

There are other explanations, of course, but the lack of inquiry into the most basic of issues is part of the reason we're still largely guessing at the best way to fight COVID-19 in a way that is consistent with the framework of a free society.


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