A Blog by Jonathan Low


Sep 19, 2021

China Says It Has Fully Vaccinated 1 Billion Of Its 1.41 Billion People

China did not employ vaccine mandates - sort of - but it banned the unvaccinated from public places or participating in business meetings. JL 

Grady McGregor reports in Fortune:

China’s National Health Commission announced that the country has fully vaccinated 1 billion of its 1.41 billion citizens against COVID-19. China’s 1 billion fully vaccinated citizens means that nearly 70% of the country’s population is fully vaccinated. Beijing deployed carrots and sticks to encourage vaccinations, shying away from vaccine mandates but making life extremely difficult for the unvaccinated. It banned the unvaccinated from entering public places or participating in business meetings.

The Reason It May Make Sense To Wait 8 Months Before Getting Covid Booster Shot

The next wave will probably hit in December or January so waiting to get a booster will give recipients maximum protection then. 

In addition, vaccine makers may have developed even more effective shots by then. JL

Rachel Gutman reports in The Atlantic:

The likelihood of a winter surge does make it reasonable to wait, at least a bit. If a large number of people rush out to get their extra shots, their antibodies will have faded by the time they’re needed most, and a winter surge could see even more breakthrough infections. And those who decide to get a booster now might find they’re ineligible for a fourth shot when vaccine makers might have a new shot, designed around circulating variants, or even an intranasal option that can stop infections sooner.

Why US Housing Prices May Not Be As Crazy As They Seem

Growth in US disposable income has exceeded growth in housing prices. And the housing price increases in the US are lower than in many other developed countries. 

This may mean that housing prices in the US are not a bubble but a reflection of sound economic and market forces. JL  

Ben Carlson reports in A Wealth Of Common Sense:

This isn’t another housing bubble. There are structural and market forces that are causing these price gains: household formation among the biggest demographic (millennials), generationally low interest rates, constrained supply from a lack of homebuilding following the housing crash and a pandemic that induced people to buy. (And) housing prices in the rest of the developed world have outpaced prices in the U.S. for some time now. In the U.S., disposable income and housing prices have been moving in lock-step for years.

US Ranks 14th Globally In Wired and Wireless Download Speeds

You know you're doing something wrong when you're surpassed by Cyprus and Bulgaria. JL

Karl Bode reports in Tech Dirt:

The latest speedtest data once again shows that when it comes to broadband speeds, the U.S. continues to be nothing to write home about. The country ranks fourteenth in both wired and wireless broadband download speeds, despite boundless subsidies, rampant "deregulation" (read: doing whatever Comcast and AT&T say to do), a nauseating amount of 5G hype, and lots of promises from industry about the illusory investment benefits of killing net neutrality rules and functioning government oversight.

What If Today's Smartphones Are As Good As Technology Gets?

All of the big tech companies are trying to imagine the post-smartphone economy. 

But it is possible that they are sufficiently powerful, inexpensive and convenient that nothing will ever surpass them. Which may be exactly what big tech fears. JL 

Shira Ovide reports in the New York Times:

Technologists are now imagining what could be the next big thing. But there may never be anything else like the smartphone, the first and perhaps last mass market and globally transformative computer. Smartphones succeeded to the point where it’s hard to imagine alternatives. In a sales boom that lasted a decade, the devices transformed from a novelty to the only computer that billions of people around the world have ever owned. Smartphones have succeeded to the point where we don’t need to pay them much notice. These tiny computers may be so handy that there will never be a post-smartphone revolution.

The US Lags Other Countries In Promoting Rapid Covid Tests

Manufacturers began to lose interest when it appeared the pandemic was under control in the spring. 

The Delta variant has created demand but a significant supply problem remains - and prices are high compared to other countries - or to vaccination. JL 

Brianna Abbott reports in the Wall Street Journal:

Manufacturers are falling short of demand, and prices remain too high to encourage people to use the tests regularly. Rapid tests now cost $14 for a two-pack at U.S. retailers, compared with $5 or less in countries, including Germany. The U.K. distributes them for free. More than 30 tests in Europe carry the European Union’s mark of compliance. Many tests used in other countries haven’t been submitted for review in the U.S. The FDA has received fewer submissions than the number of tests on the market in some countries.

Sep 18, 2021

Data Reveal Moderna Leads All Authorized Covid Vaccines In Lasting Effectiveness

Moderna has a reputation for generating the most fearsome side effects of all the Covid vaccines, but the latest research suggests that it is all to a good cause, which is strongest impact against the virus and lasting effectiveness. JL 

Rob Stein reports in NPR:

Researchers studied more than 3,000 people hospitalized between March and August. And found the Moderna vaccine was 93% effective at keeping people out the hospital and that protection appears to be holding steady. The Pfizer vaccine's protection fell from 91% effective to 77%. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was 71% effective. The researchers speculate the Moderna vaccine may be the best because it uses a strong dose and spaces out the two (required) shots a week longer than the other vaccines.