COVID-19

News coverage, academic research and more on the coronavirus pandemic from experts at The Pearson Institute.

Live Mint

07.22.20

The return of workers to cities isn’t a sign of normalcy

As India started to emerge from its lockdown, the exodus of daily-wage labourers from cities to their ancestral homes in rural areas surged. One reason was lack of work, since urban zones faced restrictions on commercial activity. The other was a fear of covid-19. Perhaps as many as 11 million left. As work and economic activity in cities splutters to life, however, we are seeing workers return. This reversal has implications both for the spread of covid and the urban economy.

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NPR

07.02.20

COVID-19 Exploits Cracks In Chilean Society

Chile looked as if it were well prepared to deal with the new coronavirus. It's a rich country — classified as high income by the World Bank. Life expectancy is roughly 80 years — better than the United States'. It has a solid, modern health care system, and when the outbreak began spreading, officials made sure they had plenty of ventilators and intensive care beds at the ready.

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South China Morning Post

06.16.20

Could the China-US conflict evolve into two competing spheres of economic influence?

The increasingly contentious relationship between China and the United States is putting pressure on countries to choose sides, with the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating the process of nations stepping away from each other rather than tackling the crisis together.

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Tolo News

06.10.20

Fix NGO Leadership to Make Aid More Effective

The COVID-19 pandemic is straining the resources of non-government organizations (NGOs) to a breaking point. As the extant donor funding is spread thinner, disruptions threaten NGOs’ supply chain for their ongoing humanitarian operations. This further erodes aid effectiveness—a goal whose achievement has met limited success even prior to the pandemic.   

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WBEZ

06.02.20

After Unrest, Groceries Become Scarcer On Chicago’s South Side – And Volunteers Stepped In

Trina Reynolds-Tyler is from Bronzeville, and goes to school in Washington Park. She said she organized the impromptu street food pantry after Chicago Public Schools suspended meal distribution on Monday.  She said they continued on when they realized that the school system only provides enough food for students, not for their entire families to eat.

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Bloomberg

05.31.20

Russia Stimulus Seen Falling Short Despite $123 Billion Plan

Facing the worst recession in more than a decade, Vladimir Putin plans to roll out a spending plan to rival stimulus packages in other major economies. The Russian president’s government says the plan envisions support equivalent to a 10th of annual economic output. But analysts from Bloomberg Economics and some of Wall Street’s biggest banks say the level is actually much smaller.

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The Washington Post

05.28.20

If employers require workers to have antibodies, people will try to get sick

The idea of issuing “immunity passports” to individuals with covid-19 antibodies continues to attract both interest and controversy. Estonia and Chile are both moving forward with plans to test their own immunity-passport programs, and top infectious disease expert Anthony S. Fauci says U.S. officials have discussed the idea too. The private sector is likely to beat the federal government to the punch. Start-ups like FaceFirst and Onfido are pitching the idea of app-based immunity registries to businesses, several Miami hotels are reportedly rolling out an immunity app with their staff and guests next month and Delta Air Lines has expressed interest as well.

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La República

05.28.20

El vivo es el bobo en la pandemia

En Colombia y América Latina, como lo muestra Mauricio García Villegas en 'El orden de la libertad' , hay pocos personajes más admirados que el “vivo”. Ese que aparece desde los cuentos infantiles (con frecuencia un conejo) enseñando que “el vivo vive del bobo”, que “al camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente” y que “no hay que dar papaya”. Claro, y a papaya dada, ¡papaya partida!

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I-CONnect Blog

05.26.20

COVID-19 and the Bound Executive

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a wide variety of governmental responses as it makes its way around the globe, and scholars have been tracking them from many different angles. In a new paper, we argue that the pandemic response should modify our understanding about the exercise of emergency powers. 

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UChicago News

05.26.20

UChicago scholar’s COVID-19 task force creates innovative solutions in India

Prof. Anup Malani awoke to 350 messages. It was March, and India had just instituted a nationwide lockdown. Weeks earlier, the University of Chicago scholar had formed a global task force to help the country’s government battle the growing spread of COVID-19. The group brainstormed solutions, and now they were waiting for Malani to provide direction.

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Observer-Reporter

05.26.20

Individual freedom and public health

The recent political treatise, “The Narrow Corridor, States, Society and the Fate of Liberty,” by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, is instructive on this issue. The book’s premise, after examining political systems throughout history, is that democracy is a delicate and fragile outcome. It requires both a strong state and individual liberty in a strong society. It can only endure when the two remain in perfect balance, on either side of the narrow corridor that exists between them. The default political condition when the narrow corridor is breached becomes either despotism if the central state wins out or anarchy if the state is defeated.

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Pandemic Economics Podcast

05.21.20

Superspreaders

Does visiting a bookstore put you at greater risk for infection than a fast-food restaurant? As states loosen lockdown restrictions on businesses, Katherine Baicker and Oeindrila Dube have developed a measure of which businesses pose the greatest risk for spreading disease based on factors like crowding, length of stay, and potential for touch contact.

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Politico

05.19.20

How Russia’s Coronavirus Crisis Got So Bad

In all of Putin’s six addresses to the nation, he has never once mentioned support of big state enterprises. Konstantin Sonin, an economist and professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, says this was for a simple reason: There’s no need. “The entire Russian system is based on supporting Russian big state business. All the tools already exist: You go to the president or cabinet to ask for something, like preferential loans, at any time. These companies already have so many opportunities to do this that there is no need to come up with any new procedures.”

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Live Mint

05.18.20

Our youth may not shield us from high covid mortality

As India and several other countries contemplate opening up their economies, one argument that supports the strategy of a gradual release from lockdown is that the country’s young demographic profile will act as a protective shield. Covid-19 has had a more severe impact on populations of older adults across countries. In Italy, the likelihood of dying on account of the disease was estimated at 20% among those over age 80, but less than 0.5% among those below 50. The corresponding figures for South Korea are 13% and 0.5%. Areas where older demographic groups form a higher share of the total population are thus likely to see higher deaths and a higher fatality rate overall.

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CBC Radio

05.15.20

Researchers use smartphone data to determine which businesses are potential COVID-19 'super-spreaders'

A team of researchers in the U.S. is working to determine what kinds of businesses are safe to visit, and which ones could be super-spreaders of COVID-19, as select businesses reopen in parts of the country. Oeindrila Dube, a University of Chicago professor, is part of a team using anonymous smartphone location data from April 2019 provided by U.S.-based data tracking firms Safegraph and Veraset, which gather location data primarily for market research. The data was used to power an interactive feature in the New York Times.

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VOA News

05.14.20

Pandemic In Russia, Rumblings of Discontent Grow as Oligarchs Move to Plug Gaps

Once they scrambled to grab what they could from a disintegrating Soviet state, exploiting the political and economic chaos of the post-communist Boris Yeltsin era to secure state enterprises, oilfields and mineral deposits at knockdown prices. But now Russia’s uber-wealthy oligarchs are rushing to shore up a failing state effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

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La República

05.14.20

Atenidos

La semana pasada le llovieron críticas a la vicepresidenta Marta Lucía Ramírez. Quizás inspirada en John F. Kennedy, pero con peor prosa, dijo que con esta pandemia la cosa no es “atenidos a ver qué hace el gobierno por cada uno de nosotros. Es qué hacemos nosotros para que el país progrese”. Ella respondió disculpándose, aclarando que no se refería a los hogares que reciben un apoyo del Gobierno por la crisis, e insistió en que la sacaron de contexto y no merece el linchamiento mediático.

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Post Register

05.11.20

Businesses defy Little, open early

Idaho’s staged reopening from the stay-home order has opened fault lines across the state, dividing the public, business owners, law enforcement and lawmakers. At the epicenter is Gov. Brad’s Little’s Stay Healthy Order. It details which businesses can reopen on which dates. Most businesses have complied with the order by remaining closed until their assigned time for reopening. Others have chosen to openly violate the order.

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The Eastern Link

05.11.20

Prepare for a Biden Presidency

Paul Poast is faculty affiliate of The Pearson Institute and an associate professor of political science at the University of Chicago. His research, writing, and teaching focus on international politics and security. In this interview with Easternlink Features Editor Uddipana Goswami, he discusses the upcoming US elections and how its outcome is likely to impact the shifts that are occurring in international relations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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KCBS Radio

05.07.20

Which Businesses Will Be Safe from Covid 19 Once They Re-Open

We know some businesses, like some people, can be “super-spreaders” of Covid-19. And as businesses start to reopen you may be wondering which places are you at more risk than others for catching the Covid-19. A new study from the University of Chicago is using past cellphone to try and determine that. For KCBS news anchor Susan Leigh Taylor spoke with Oeindrila Dube, University of Chicago Professor of Global Conflict Studies and study co-author.

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Bloomberg

05.06.20

India Looks to Lure More Than 1,000 U.S. Companies Out of China

India is seeking to lure U.S. businesses, including medical devices giant Abbott Laboratories, to relocate from China as President Donald Trump’s administration steps up efforts to blame Beijing for its role in the coronavirus pandemic.

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The New York Times

05.06.20

Is It Safer to Visit a Coffee Shop or a Gym?

As states begin to reopen, Americans are looking at any trip outside through the lens of contagion. Is it safe to go back to Starbucks? What about the gym? Nail salons are out of the question, right? The country faces an ugly trade-off. Keep the economy closed and prolong the economic misery. Or open up the economy and risk a resurgence of Covid-19, undoing the gains earned through weeks of social isolation. We believe there’s another option.

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London Business School

05.04.20

How lessons from the Ebola crisis can be used to improve outcomes during COVID-19

The role of trust in health care systems has never been more important than during the current outbreak of COVID-19. Elias Papaioannou, Professor of Economics at London Business School and Academic Director of the Wheeler Institute for Business and Development was joined in conversation with Oeindrila Dube, the Philip K. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies at the University of Chicago to discuss how her research in Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak has clear messages for national policymakers and the private sector when it comes to coping with the impact of the Coronavirus.

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Bloomberg

05.04.20

The Best Reason to Protect Workers From Covid-19

For many years, economists such as Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson have advanced the theory that differences in institutions cause big differences in national long-term growth and prosperity. According to Acemoglu and Robinson, places with a tradition of inclusion -- democracy, property rights, free labor and so on -- become richer in the long run, while places that abuse workers and citizens to extract maximum short-term value from them become poorer.

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Lawfare

05.03.20

COVID and Cooperation: The Latest Canary in the Coal Mine

The COVID-19 crisis is a global one, and for all the horror stories from Italy, the United States, and other wealthy countries, the developing world is likely to be hit far harder. Containing, mitigating and curing the disease are truly global challenges, but there has been no effective global response. Yale University’s Hilary Matfess and the University of Chicago’s Rebecca Wolfe examine the crisis to assess what it means for global cooperation and argue that U.S. isolationism and efforts to act solely on its own have made a tough problem even harder.

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Chicago Tribune

05.01.20

Why it matters when Gov. J.B. Pritzker wears a mask

President Donald Trump recently called on people to “liberate” states whose governors impose strict social distancing requirements, while scolding Georgia’s governor for reopening his state’s economy “too soon.” In early April, when Americans were instructed to wear protective face masks, the president refused, quipping, “I’d wear one if I thought it was important.” And last weekend White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx indicated social distancing would continue through the summer while Vice President Mike Pence opined that the epidemic would be mostly “behind us” by Memorial Day.

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WBEZ

04.30.20

Study Finds More COVID-19 Cases Among Viewers Of Fox News Host Who Downplayed The Pandemic

An April study about the effects of coronavirus media coverage analyzed two popular Fox News cable programs — and claims how one host talked about the threat of the coronavirus resulted in greater numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

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Harris News

04.30.20

Researchers Address Life Under COVID-19

Dean Katherine Baicker and Professor Oeindrila Dube work with an international team to highlight behavioral approaches toward combating bias and fake news, increasing cooperation, and coping with stress and isolation.

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Nature

04.30.20

Using social and behavioural science to support COVID-19 pandemic response

The COVID-19 pandemic represents a massive global health crisis. Because the crisis requires large-scale behaviour change and places significant psychological burdens on individuals, insights from the social and behavioural sciences can be used to help align human behaviour with the recommendations of epidemiologists and public health experts. Here we discuss evidence from a selection of research topics relevant to pandemics, including work on navigating threats, social and cultural influences on behaviour, science communication, moral decision-making, leadership, and stress and coping. In each section, we note the nature and quality of prior research, including uncertainty and unsettled issues. We identify several insights for effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight important gaps researchers should move quickly to fill in the coming weeks and months.

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La República

04.30.20

Sí es momento para pensar en reformas tributarias

Aunque el presidente Duque afirmó lo contrario, la crisis que atravesamos debe poner en la agenda una reforma seria de nuestro sistema tributario. El motivo más obvio, pero no el más fundamental, es que las exigencias de gasto y la erosión de ingresos por la pandemia descuadrarán las cuentas y obligarán, tarde o temprano, a buscar nuevos ingresos.

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UChicago News

04.29.20

COVID 2025: How the pandemic is changing our world

Coronavirus is changing life as we know it on a daily basis. But what will our world look like in the next five years? How will the pandemic permanently reshape our lives?

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Quartz India

04.23.20

Is there really no community transmission of coronavirus in India? Let’s do some math

India is beginning to ramp up testing for Covid-19. The central government and several states have begun to procure lakhs of RT-PCR test kits to screen for the virus. Scores of government workers have fanned out across the country to track contacts of people who have tested positive. Moreover, India is considering novel testing protocols in order to increase the population that can be covered with the tests it already has.

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Vox

04.22.20

A disturbing new study suggests Sean Hannity helped spread the coronavirus

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, media critics have warned that the decision from leading Fox News hosts to downplay the outbreak could cost lives. A new study provides statistical evidence that, in the case of Sean Hannity, that’s exactly what happened.

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The Eastern Link

04.22.20

Xi Jinping to Remain: US Expert

James Robinson, coauthor of international bestseller Why Nations Fail and the director of the University of Chicago's Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts, is a scholar who offers extraordinary insights.

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Harris News

04.20.20

New Research Emphasizes Why Leadership Is Necessary to Defeat Harmful Social Norms and COVID-19

Consistent messages from national leaders are necessary to change deeply ingrained social norms like shaking hands and socializing in restaurants, which are crucial adjustments for disrupting the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new paper coauthored by Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, the Sydney Stein Professor and Deputy Dean at the Harris School of Public Policy, and Mehdi Shadmehr, a visiting associate professor at Harris.

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Quartz

04.16.20

Why does India have so few Covid-19 cases and deaths?

India is four times more populous than the US, but has just 2% the number of cases and only 1.5% of the number of Covid-19 deaths. How has the country, whose per capita income is just tenth of the US, avoided being flattened by the pandemic?

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The Pearson Institute

04.14.20

Coordination and Social Distancing: Inertia in the Aggregate Response to COVID-19

Social distancing is critical to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, social distancing in the wake of COVID-19 has been frustratingly slow and inadequate. Here we use a game theoretic model to show that, when a new and rare virus, like COVID-19, emerges, the aggregate level of social distancing has inherent inertia, and that clear national public statements are essential in reducing that inertia and adjusting the public’s behavior to the new, optimal level of social distancing. Novel infectious diseases abruptly change the appropriate level of social distancing, leaving individuals uncertain about how to act. Inertia arises in such a setting because individuals care about conforming to social norms (e.g., it is awkward to refuse a social invitation or work request) and the previous level of social distancing provides a focal point to coordinate behavior. Clear and consistent national statements about the new optimal level of social distancing enable individuals and communities to coordinate on new norms of behavior, reducing inertia and moving the society closer to the optimum. Such national statements generate a beneficial over-reaction from the public that offsets the over-weighting of past experience. National communications are preferable to communications through local governments or employers when the optimal levels of social distancing are highly correlated over-time and when individuals are poorly informed about changes in the optimal level of social distancing. Our results show the utility of game theoretic models in disease control and public health policy.

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Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

04.14.20

Coronavirus in Conflict Zones: A Sobering Landscape

As Thomas de Waal explains, in breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine, if either the de facto or de jure “parent states” Russia or Ukraine can find a way to provide effective virus response—or if the breakaway authorities manage to do so instead—they may establish legitimacy, with longer-term implications for the politics of the conflict. Similarly, Paul Staniland argues that the coronavirus represents an early test of the Indian government’s ability to provide effective governance in Kashmir, a key justification New Delhi offered for the abrogation of Kashmir’s special status last year. Ineffectual management of the coronavirus would further harden the negative views many in Kashmir hold toward India.

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Newsweek

04.13.20

What Dr. Anthony Fauci has said about reopening the country amid the coronavirus pandemic

Anup Malani, a professor at the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, told Newsweek that much of the conversation has been to save the economy or save people's lives. However, finding a solution that isn't to either lift measures entirely or keep them in place exactly as they are can achieve both goals.

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VoxTalks

04.09.20

Lessons from the Ebola crisis on dealing with Covid-19

The 2014 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone affected an area which included a pioneering experiment in community healthcare. Oeindrila Dube tells Tim Phillips about the lifesaving impact of this experiment - and two important lessons we can learn that may help to contain the spread of Covid-19 in Africa

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