From a humanitarian perspective, this should be an easy decision

“What the Post fails to mention—indeed, what most American reporting on this subject has neglected to make clear—is that other countries are simply asking for the right to manufacture vaccine doses of their own, as opposed to drawing from existing supply in the U.S. for their own larders. …

“Since last year, 57 countries, along with organizations like Oxfam and Amnesty International, have been begging the WTO to temporarily waive patent protection for the vaccines, so that countries such as India and South Africa might be able to produce their own Covid-19 vaccines and other treatments, which could be more affordable and available to the developing world. And since last year, rich countries, led by the U.S. the U.K., and the European Union, have been blocking that demand. The latest attempt to get them to reconsider failed just last week. …

“Vaccine distribution is being spoken and written about as a zero-sum game because of the conditions of artificial scarcity that our government has created and is presently enforcing. If more Americans actually knew the substance of the requests being made by other nations, they’d have no reason to worry about losing any of “our” vaccine doses. Instead, they would understand that the only thing at risk—and only temporarily at that—are some potential future profits of Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and the like. It’s hard to believe many of them would side with our government’s position on the matter. The lack of interest by the American media means we’ll never get to find out.”

Nations across the world are demanding the right to manufacture their own Covid-19 vaccines. Why is the U.S. saying no?

How not to handle a pandemic

On an epidemiological map of the world, the Czech Republic shows up as a tiny island of doom and gloom. While the global number of new coronavirus cases has been dropping for six consecutive weeks, the Central European nation of 10 million has been experiencing near record levels of new infections.

It’s not stimulus, it’s relief

Paul Krugman in the NYT: “While coronavirus relief legislation is often called ‘stimulus,’ that’s not what Biden is trying to do. The economy in 2021 isn’t like the economy in 2009, depressed because there isn’t enough demand; we haven’t fully recovered because we’re still on partial lockdown, with some activities curtailed by the risk of infection.

“The goal of policy in this situation isn’t to pump up spending, getting people to eat out and travel. It is, instead, to help people, businesses and local governments get through the difficult period until widespread vaccination lets us go back to business as usual.

“And we know, as certainly as we know anything in economics, that the economy will be depressed at least into the summer and probably beyond. The last package didn’t provide remotely enough aid to get us through those months. Asking whether that package boosted the economy therefore completely misses the point; it’s obvious that America needs another round of disaster relief.”

Unity is a fine goal, but don?t expect much cooperation.