IN  WHICH Ross Rheingans-Yoo—a sometime economist, trader, artist, expat, poet, EA, and programmer—writes on things of int­erest.

# Reading Feed (last update: August 6)

A collection of things that I was glad I read. Views expressed by linked authors are chosen because I think they’re interesting, not because I think they’re correct, unless indicated otherwise.

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Blog: Marginal Revolution | How many times are we going to make this kind of mistake? — I am old enough to remember the claims that we had a strategic national stockpile of poxvirus vaccines large enough to vaccinate every American. Now: "The shortage of vaccines to combat a fast-growing monkeypox outbreak was caused in part because the Department of Health and Human Services failed early on to ask that bulk stocks of the vaccine it already owned be bottled for distribution, according to multiple administration officials familiar with the matter."

# or, Some scope-sensitive snafus in summing estimates

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Should I expect monkeypox to be a big deal for the world? Well, fortunately, Metaculus has a pair of questions that ask users to predict how many infections and deaths there will be in 2022:

203 users(!) made 817 predictions of infections, and Metaculus helpfully aggregates those into a "community prediction" of ~248k infections. 77 users made 180 predictions of deaths, with a community prediction of 541.

The y-axis is on a log scale (as are the predictors' distributions). This is a good choice! Whatever you expect the most-likely case to be, there's definitely a chance with things like this that one a misestimation or shift in one factor can make it bigger or smaller by a multiple, not just an additive amount.

What's not a good choice is to report the median outcome of the aggregate position as the "community prediction". This causes a

# The FDA on Fluvoxamine, round 1

Yesterday, the US FDA responded to a submission for Emergency Use Authorization (that was submitted 146 days earlier) for use of fluvoxamine "for the outpatient treatment of adults 24 years and older...to prevent progression to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization" (p. 2).

The FDA's conclusion is:

Due to limitations in the available clinical study results for fluvoxamine in the proposed patient population, lack of compelling in vitro and in vivo data to support the proposed [mechanism of action] of fluvoxamine for the treatment of mild COVID-19 disease, and context of increasingly available therapies with well-characterized [mechanisms of action] and consistent efficacy results in nonhospitalized patients, the FDA cannot reasonably conclude that fluvoxamine may be effective for the treatment of COVID-19. As such, FDA has determined that the criteria for issuance of an EUA are not met at this time.

While the FDA has concluded that the existing clinical data are insufficient to support the issuance of an EUA, these data suggest that further clinical investigation may