How the U.S. blundered the war on COVID

Here in the U.S., we are seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic and two weeks out from the presidential election. We now have plenty of data to take stock and evaluate how countries have performed in combating the virus. The U.S. has employed a haphazard response to the pandemic, with no clear national plan and inconsistent strategies used by state and local leaders. This lack of leadership has led to a weak economy and incredibly high death rates.

The chart below shows a high-level timeline of the pandemic to-date. Europe had the first significant outbreak with peak mortality occurring April…

Hint: it’s the Republicans

Tax Cuts Do Not Pay For Themselves

Both the Bush and Trump administrations argued that “tax cuts pay for themselves” as each passed significant tax cuts soon after taking office. The data suggests that this logic is faulty, as tax rates in the U.S. aren’t high enough to produce significant behavioral changes when they are reduced, and typical reductions aren’t large enough to have immediate impacts. Instead of spurring economic growth and thus more revenues, tax cuts simply increase budget deficits.

The discussion surrounding taxes and budget deficits tends to re-open every election season, as Republicans and even some Democrats worry about large deficits and a growing…

President Trump has committed three known, impeachable offenses:

On January 6, 2021, Trump incited a violent insurrection against the United States Government.

On January 2, 2021, Trump broke election laws by pressuring the Georgia Secretary of State to commit election fraud.

On February 13, 2017, Trump committed his first known act of obstruction of justice by pressuring FBI director James Comey to show lenience towards Michael Flynn.

Even though the Mueller Report revealed examples of criminal behavior early in Trump’s tenure, DOJ policy states that a sitting president cannot be indicted for a crime. This means that impeachment is the…

Often while writing and testing a software program, I’ll run into an issue where the program refuses to terminate. In this situation, it can be difficult to find the offending task within the Windows Task Manager and even if I do, the Task Manager sometimes can’t close the program.

Most will resort to restarting their computer in this situation but that solution can be dangerous, especially if there is unsaved work (which is often the case when a program overloads the computer so much that it can’t terminate). A safer and more reliable solution is to use command line. …

Sweden’s famously lax approach towards COVID resulted in a much higher mortality rate than its neighbors during Europe’s first peak. Unfortunately, as this chart shows, Sweden’s herd immunity policy did not prevent a second wave this fall.

This chart was made with R, using this script.

Debunking the rigged election conspiracy theory

It’s been nearly a week since major news outlets called the election for Joe Biden, yet those in the Trump camp still refuse to concede the election. They cite voting “irregularities” without evidence and some have gone so far to say that they are preparing for a second Trump term. Thus far, courts have not been convinced of any fraud that could have affected the outcome of the election and election officers in swing states aren’t aware of substantiated claims of fraud.

Despite all this, conspiracy theories abound: Democrats somehow stole the presidential election. Fact-finding and critical thinking are the…

Joe values responsibility, shared prosperity, and a commitment to mutual respect

One of the Democrats’ core beliefs is that people ought to be free to live the good life, one of their choosing. This inclusiveness is why the Democrats have such a big tent, meaning that people with a wide range of views and interests can coexist. Most want an energetic government that looks after the needs of its people. Democrats also want to be accepted for who they are, no matter their gender, race, religion, or life choices.

Such varied interests can lead to infighting, which motivated one of the more memorable quotes about the party:

I am not a…

Skeptics have undermined the public-health response with dubious research

The chart above illustrates that COVID-19 is much deadlier than the seasonal flu, as it features faster transmission and higher death rates. This has been the general consensus among public health experts and epidemiologists since the early days of the outbreak. However, a vocal minority of naysayers have steadily worked to undermine this consensus, fueling resentment towards stay-at-home orders. This chorus includes politicians, academics with no background in epidemiology, smart people with little sense, and even doctors and researchers who ought to know better.

Lockdowns speak louder than words

The Chinese witnessed the virus’ deadly effects…

Lives can be saved but the economy was always going to be hit hard by the coronavirus

Note from the editors: Towards Data Science is a Medium publication primarily based on the study of data science and machine learning. We are not health professionals or epidemiologists, and the opinions of this article should not be interpreted as professional advice. To learn more about the coronavirus pandemic, you can click here.

On Sunday night, president Trump tweeted that he didn’t want the cure for COVID-19 to be worse than the problem itself. Others, including very serious people like Elon Musk and Andrew Yang, have said that the economic damage of confronting the virus outweighs the deaths it would…

Letters from voter to voter are a powerful way to connect in the era of (polarized) social media

Since the Women’s March, many thousands of people have decided to get involved in helping elect progressives to Congress. Groups like Swing Left, the Indivisibles, and many others have encouraged people that have never volunteered for a campaign to organize for the 2018 midterm elections.

This groundswell of energy is encouraging for progressives’ prospects but it’s possible that some of this energy might go to waste, especially since the midterms are well over a year away. …

Taylor White

Consultant, developer, statistical analyst. Published reports with CMS and the FDA along with a manuscript in the journal Vaccine.

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