COVID19 Factors We Should Consider/Current Events COVID19 Factors We Should Consider/Current Events - Page 2

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  1. #11
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    A little thought experiment.

    In a properly capitalist environment hit by a suspected epidemic, the price of a Testing kit should increase substantially; after all, the whole population should be tested, and the production capacity of the testing kits, not to mention the ability to process them is limited.
    It might be that at some point, the price goes up so much that a lot of people will be unwilling topay the price of testing themselves, which will only increase the spread of the contagion (The Governor of the State of New York has recently mandated for NY insurers to waive testing costs, so this might not be that imaginary an issue. source: https://twitter.com/NYGovCuomo/statu...34259912155137).

    In such an environment, it might also be quite likely that sick days are paid only up to a limit, or maybe not at all; thus, employees might consider not worth their while to call in sick if they suspect they have been infected, another factor that could spread the contagion even further (In a recent editorial, the NYT has called for paid sick leave to be provede, which makes me think it might not be widespread. Source: https://twitter.com/nytopinion/statu...65636873166849).

    In other words, in a perfectly capitalist environment there might factors that might facilitate the spread of the contagion, more than in other social set-ups.


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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by IlPrincipeBrutto View Post
    A little thought experiment.

    In a properly capitalist environment hit by a suspected epidemic, the price of a Testing kit should increase substantially; after all, the whole population should be tested, and the production capacity of the testing kits, not to mention the ability to process them is limited.
    The production capacity of EVERYTHING is limited. Supply, demand, and the signals that can only be sent by market prices account for how we allocate our inherently limited resources to produce things. So basically, your assertion is completely wrong. You've asserted the price will go up and left it there.

    Here's a much more likely, logical scenario in a true market economy: The price would indeed go up, at first, as demand spikes. This causes more entrants into the market of production - instead of making the same amount of pencils and plastic knives and band-aids and shampoo and washclothes and T-shirts and ice cream cones and radios and coffee makers etc...that are made during normal times, producers allocate their resources to get in on the booming testing kit business, driving the price back down very quickly. Likely driving it down below what it was in the first place. After all, aren't our socialist friends constantly railing against how greeeeeeeeedy the evil capitalists are? Would they not want to get their greedy, grubby hands on this big money that the testing kit business is now offering?

    The main thing in a non-market economy that stops this is the gov't "saving us all" by placing a price ceiling on such an important good to avoid "price gouging," thus leaving little to no incentive for producers to ramp up production or new ones to enter the market. Thus limiting supply so lots of people remain untested.
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnst_nhb View Post
    Figuring out how to do it is not the hard or slow part.
    What do you think is the hard and slow part about putting this test together?

    I will answer this question myself, because I don't think it will be answered otherwise:

    The knowledge, testing protocols, reagents and commercial equipment have been readily available (even to the public) for quite some time now. I would easily and cheaply be able to perform the test in my garage (or hospital or clinic or pathology laboratory), but I would not officially be able to call it a Covid-19 or tell patients the results or sell it to others. The hard and slow part is bureaucracy and regulation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yngvi View Post
    What do you think is the hard and slow part about putting this test together?

    I will answer this question myself, because I don't think it will be answered otherwise:

    The knowledge, testing protocols, reagents and commercial equipment have been readily available (even to the public) for quite some time now. I would easily and cheaply be able to perform the test in my garage (or hospital or clinic or pathology laboratory), but I would not officially be able to call it a Covid-19 or tell patients the results or sell it to others. The hard and slow part is bureaucracy and regulation.
    You answered your own question (with my answer) attempting to point out that my question was dumb. The quip about it not being answered was a nice touch too.

    Now for grins, should “you* be able to offer the test out of your garage?

    Bureaucracy is very often a clusterfuck. Regulation too, but not always.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yngvi View Post
    What do you think is the hard and slow part about putting this test together?

    I will answer this question myself, because I don't think it will be answered otherwise:

    The knowledge, testing protocols, reagents and commercial equipment have been readily available (even to the public) for quite some time now. I would easily and cheaply be able to perform the test in my garage (or hospital or clinic or pathology laboratory), but I would not officially be able to call it a Covid-19 or tell patients the results or sell it to others. The hard and slow part is bureaucracy and regulation.
    Assembling a PCR test to spec from a kit is probably pretty straightforward these days. I believe you there. But how do you arrive at the specs? How sensitive and specific should the test be? How many coronaviruses similar to COVID-19 should be judged "positive"? How many false positives and negatives are acceptable? These are policy questions well beyond your average PhD student. How do you manufacture a test kit for mass distribution that performs under reliable circumstances? That is probably beyond the equipment available in your garage. Aside from the bureaucracy, which I agree is formidable, these are the difficult parts of this problem.

    Having a look at the labeling and quality issues pervasive in the supplement industry should be sufficient to temper the rush to an unregulated "pure capitalist" approach to public health.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yngvi View Post
    What do you think is the hard and slow part about putting this test together?

    I will answer this question myself, because I don't think it will be answered otherwise:

    The knowledge, testing protocols, reagents and commercial equipment have been readily available (even to the public) for quite some time now. I would easily and cheaply be able to perform the test in my garage (or hospital or clinic or pathology laboratory), but I would not officially be able to call it a Covid-19 or tell patients the results or sell it to others. The hard and slow part is bureaucracy and regulation.
    The hard and slow part is the vetting of the test, not the design of the test. Would you be able to say what the detection limit of your garage test is? What would you use as test material to determine the detecting limit? How about the specificity? How much variation in sequence would your garage test be able to tolerate? How much should it tolerate? What types of samples would your garage test work on? Could you say that it will work on samples that have been handled in a way that was not ideal? Could you say that it should work on the type of machine that I have in my garage or just the one that is in your garage? Figuring this stuff out is the hard and slow part, not the test design.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Wolf View Post
    The production capacity of EVERYTHING is limited. Supply, demand, and the signals that can only be sent by market prices account for how we allocate our inherently limited resources to produce things. So basically, your assertion is completely wrong. You've asserted the price will go up and left it there.

    Here's a much more likely, logical scenario in a true market economy: The price would indeed go up, at first, as demand spikes. This causes more entrants into the market of production - instead of making the same amount of pencils and plastic knives and band-aids and shampoo and washclothes and T-shirts and ice cream cones and radios and coffee makers etc...that are made during normal times, producers allocate their resources to get in on the booming testing kit business, driving the price back down very quickly. Likely driving it down below what it was in the first place. After all, aren't our socialist friends constantly railing against how greeeeeeeeedy the evil capitalists are? Would they not want to get their greedy, grubby hands on this big money that the testing kit business is now offering?

    The main thing in a non-market economy that stops this is the gov't "saving us all" by placing a price ceiling on such an important good to avoid "price gouging," thus leaving little to no incentive for producers to ramp up production or new ones to enter the market. Thus limiting supply so lots of people remain untested.
    Why, it's almost as if this crazy wackadoodle theory is borne out empirically as well! The one thing I might need to revise about my comment above is that culture matters too - while 34 states have passed anti price gouging laws since 1995, there is also a cultural bias. I might argue that the laws contribute to this cultural bias and I suspect they do - but it's probably not solely due to the laws. So while gov't is the main impediment, a cultural bias against so-called "price gouging," due to lack of economic understanding of how beneficial that practice actually is, is also probably at work.

    I wish the Surgeon General had studied economics. The Law of Supply and Demand — the most fundamental principle of economics — tells us that shortages cannot exist when prices are allowed to adjust to changes in supply and demand. Or, to put it another way, shortages *only* arise when the price mechanism is impeded, whether by law or by custom.

    In the United States, and around the world, both law and custom prevent market prices from adjusting when such adjustment is most urgently needed: when there is a supply disruption and/or a spike in demand for that product. That is happening right now, when it comes to “N95” masks, the type that filter out 95% of particles and are deemed most effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus.

    I actually bought a box of 10 of these masks last year for a trip to Mumbai, India, where I used them — quite successfully — to protect me from the highly polluted air in that city. It cost about $15. Yet today at all of the drug and hardware stores around town that used to sell these masks, I see signs on their front doors that say, “No masks available.”

    Demand has spiked for these masks. Whether this spike in demand is based on sound medical opinion or not, it is a fact. If prices were allowed to adjust, they would rise. This would have two effects. First, it would reduce the quantity purchased. Those who were not willing to pay the higher price for the masks would not get them, while those who urgently needed the masks — and could pay for them (think: hospitals!) — would find them readily available.
    Anti-Gouging Laws Can Kill – AIER
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnst_nhb View Post
    You answered your own question (with my answer) attempting to point out that my question was dumb. The quip about it not being answered was a nice touch too.

    Now for grins, should “you* be able to offer the test out of your garage?

    Bureaucracy is very often a clusterfuck. Regulation too, but not always.

    My fault there. I honestly thought I wouldn't get an answer.

    That a very good question. I will overcorrect from my last response and leave it unanswered. Although, I suspect we may have damn near the same answer for it.

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    And, while we were arguing about whether the CDC was too slow to fix their test, FDA has addressed the situation:

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Issues New Policy to Help Expedite Availability of Diagnostics | FDA

    I couldn’t find mention of all the entrepreneurs producing tests in their garages, but you might still want to get your test out there and compete on price! I’m sure there’s a market for home tests to be found on eBay!

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