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Opinion

Covid Lockdowns are Overly Blunt and Costly

New evidence suggests lockdowns were an overly blunt and economically costly tool. They are politically difficult to keep in place for long enough to stamp out the virus.

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In response to the novel and deadly coronavirus, many governments deployed draconian tactics never used in modern times: severe and broad restrictions on daily activity that helped send the world into its deepest peacetime slump since the Great Depression.

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The equivalent of 400 million jobs have been lost world-wide, 13 million in the U.S. alone.

Global output is on track to fall 5% this year, far worse than during the financial crisis, according to the International Monetary Fund. Despite this steep price, few policy makers felt they had a choice, seeing the economic crisis as a side effect of the health crisis.

They ordered nonessential businesses closed and told people to stay home, all without the extensive analysis of benefits and risks that usually precedes a new medical treatment.

There wasn’t time to gather that sort of evidence: Faced with a poorly understood and rapidly spreading pathogen, they prioritized saving lives.

Five months later, the evidence suggests lockdowns were an overly blunt and economically costly tool. They are politically difficult to keep in place for long enough to stamp out the virus.

The evidence also points to alternative strategies that could slow the spread of the epidemic at much less cost. As cases flare up throughout the U.S., some experts are urging policy makers to pursue these more targeted restrictions and interventions rather than another crippling round of lockdowns.

New Thinking on Covid Lockdowns: They’re Overly Blunt and Costly – WSJ

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Australia

Asian students are vital to the health of Australian universities

Over 170,000 international student visa holders are stuck outside Australia, unable to enter because of travel bans.

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Over the past two decades, Australian universities have been lucky. Every time something has threatened their prosperity, a new opportunity has arisen.

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Opinion

Is there a Happiness gap in the Land of Smiles?

With the coronavirus pandemic, the global economic slowdown, and domestic political tumult, if the government refuses to be responsive to people’s feelings, our famous Thai smiles won’t be able to return anytime soon.

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How happy are people in the “Land of Smiles?” Not too happy. In fact, the Thai people’s spirit was at its lowest last year, and things don’t look much brighter in 2021.

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China

Mainland China is in no position to take Taiwan by force

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The situation across the Taiwan Strait has seemed to be on the brink of crisis since 2018. Beijing has sent numerous sorties of military aircraft to conduct exercises near Taiwan and frequently crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait.

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