HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

COVID-19 and Restrictions on Religious Worship: From Nondiscrimination to Church Autonomy

Kathleen Brady (Emory University), COVID-19 and Restrictions on Religious Worship: From Nondiscrimination to Church Autonomy, Fides et Libertas (Forthcoming):

Religious litigants challenging COVID-19 restrictions on in-person worship services typically argue that these restrictions discriminate against religion in violation of the Free Exercise Clause. Demands for equal treatment have intuitive appeal, and they also fit with the Supreme Court’s current religion clause jurisprudence. However, there are a number of drawbacks to approaches that focus on equal treatment. It can be difficult to identify the appropriate secular benchmarks for determining whether discrimination has taken place, and religious congregations are usually not actually asking for equal treatment. What they really want is to maximize their ability to gather together safely in person. In Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, New York v. Cuomo, the Supreme Court granted applications for emergency injunctive relief in two cases challenging 10- and 25-person limits on houses of worship in COVID-19 hotspots in New York. The Court found that New York’s rules favored secular activities over religious practice and failed to satisfy the strict scrutiny required of discriminatory action under the Free Exercise Clause. However, many of the examples of discrimination given by those in the majority seemed strained, and the justices appeared less interested in the threshold showing of discriminatory treatment than in applying heightened scrutiny to significant restrictions on religious worship. The Court’s shift in focus from discrimination to close scrutiny of worship restrictions is the right one, but those in the majority neither acknowledged this shift nor signaled a new framework or approach that would explain or guide it. In this short essay, I argue that the appropriate framework for analyzing restrictions on religious worship is the doctrine of church autonomy that has been emerging in the Court’s recent religion clause jurisprudence. Viewing conflicts over COVID-19 restrictions through this lens can better clarify what is at stake when clashes occur as well as better inform the scope and limits of institutional freedom in this context. This essay is based on a presentation for the International Conference on COVID-19 Pandemic & Religious Freedom: Reports from North America and Europe sponsored by Andrews University, Brigham Young University Law School Center for Law and Religion Studies, and University of Portsmouth (December 2-3, 2020) and a shorter presentation for the blog webinar Law, Religion, and Coronavirus in the United States: A Six-Month Assessment organized by Brigham Young University Law School, Emory University Law School, Notre Dame Law School, St. John’s University School of Law, and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law (October 2, 2020).

March 31, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Money or My Life: Analyzing the Role of Patent Law in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Amarachukwu Elekwa, Your Money or My Life: Analyzing the Role of Patent Law in the COVID-19 Pandemic, SSRN:

The abrupt nature of the COVID-19 pandemic sent the pharmaceutical industry on their heels in a race against time in procurement of a vaccine for the novel corona virus. Consequently, it has sparked off several issues and debates as to whether the research conducted by pharmaceuticals should enjoy patent rights or if it should be handed over to the public domain on grounds of it being unethical to hoard medical knowledge in a crucial time like this. While some are of the opinion that lives should come over profits, there are still some nations who uphold the capitalist structure intellectual property law seeks to protect. This paper sets out to analyze the different views, as well as give an opinion on how a consensus can be met.

March 31, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Financing of the Anti-COVID-19 Immunization Process in the Republic of Moldova

Andrei Petroia (Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova), Elena Zubcova (Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova), Financing of the Anti-COVID-19 Immunization Process in the Republic of Moldova, SSRN:

The immunization is a multidimensional process, with an integrated approach to the health system, and provides quality, safe immunization services, provided to the population fairly at all levels of health care. The Government of the Republic of Moldova fully finances the procurement of vaccines and consumables, as well as the services provided under the National Immunization Program, and their implementation is carried out with the involvement of the health system, central authorities and local public administration with the involvement of society as a whole and of each individual. The Republic of Moldova and most countries of the world use vaccination programs as a platform for safety and security of individual and public health. The objectives of national immunization programs are to eliminate or reduce morbidity, disability and mortality. At the same time, the well-being of the community can be measured by the degree of preparedness and ability to cope with major public health emergencies, including those caused by vaccine-preventable infectious diseases.

March 31, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Partially Right Means Generally Wrong: Why Some COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies Keep on Failing

Jan-Philip Elm (University of Hamburg), Roee Sarel (University of Hamburg), Partially Right Means Generally Wrong: Why Some COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies Keep on Failing, SSRN:

Why do some COVID-19 mitigation strategies fail? As the pandemic continues to spread, policymakers are struggling to find effective policies that lead to fewer infections at a reasonable cost. Although the elusive nature of the virus makes predictions difficult, the field of law and economics provides tools that can help understand how a given policy should affect behavior through its impact on incentives. Yet, existing studies mostly look at individual policies or specific activities in isolation. Policymakers thereby neglect the many possible interaction effects that may arise due to the simultaneous adoption of concurrent strategies and the heterogeneity of social and environmental attributes. When interaction effects are not accounted for, policymakers run the risk of drawing incorrect conclusions, which focus on partial effects that do not necessarily hold as a general equilibrium. In particular, it is crucial to consider substitution effects: even policies that successfully shift behavior away from problematic activities may be ineffective if individuals simply switch to other, equally harmful, activities. Similarly, complementarity effects may occur, where a policy that targets one harmful activity indirectly discourages other related activities. Our analysis, which builds on both traditional and behavioral law and economics, thus provides a new explanation for why some COVID-19 mitigation strategies may fail.

March 31, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The Use of Humanoid Robotic as Assistive Rehabilitation Treatment for Children with Autism According to Objectives of Shariah in Islam

Amily Fikry (Universiti Teknologi), Siti Fatahiyah (University Teknologi MARA), Nor Lelawati Jamaludin (University Teknologi MARA), Intan Syafinaz Mat Shafie (University Teknologi MARA), Zarith Delaila Abd Aziz (University Teknologi MARA), Yuslina Liza Mohd Yusof (University Teknologi MARA), Nor Irvoni Mohd Ishar (University Teknologi MARA), Mamat Mohd Nor (University Teknologi MARA), The Use of Humanoid Robotic as Assistive Rehabilitation Treatment for Children with Autism According to Objectives of Shariah in Islam, 10(7) Int’l J. Academic Research in Business & Social Sci. 116 (2020):

The increasing rate of the number of children with Autism showed the importance to focus on ways to reduce the symptoms faced by the children with Autism. Noting the scarcity of research focusing on this area, this paper aims to review the use of humanoid robotics as an assistive rehabilitation treatment for children with Autism according to objectives of shariah in Islam. Content analyses through literature search from the online database were used as a basis for this review paper write-up from main sub-fields of humanoid robotics, assistive rehabilitation treatment for children with Autism and objectives of shariah in Islam. The researchers also follow the four-step process model derived from Mayring (2008), forming the process model of (qualitative) content analysis. Based on the paper, it was found that the framework of objectives of shariah in Islam which includes the Islamic Principles in treatment and rehabilitation are tailored according to Shariah Law to moderate and tolerate the balances between the new technology and the help from the therapists through the potential behavioural and cognitive changes associated with a single exposure to the humanoid. This paper believes that upon incorporating the protection of the five necessary intents of objectives of shariah in Islam, the humanoid will be able to help those children with autism to gain a better life.

March 30, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Injustice is an Underlying Condition

Yael Cannon (Georgetown University), Injustice is an Underlying Condition, 6(2) U. Penn. J. L. & Public Affairs 201 (2020):

Race, poverty, and zip code serve as critical determinants of a person's health. Research showed the links between these factors and poor health and mortality before COVID-19, and they have only been amplified during this pandemic. People of color experience higher rates of asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. People of color who live in poverty are even more likely to suffer from poor health; they face a “double burden” of health disparities associated with both racial and socioeconomic marginalization. Neighborhoods with concentrated poverty and with residents who are primarily people of color have even faced a life expectancy decades shorter than higher income, predominantly white neighborhoods. Now, a virus that does not itself discriminate is disproportionately infecting and killing people of color across the nation. Biology cannot explain either the longstanding disparities that COVID has spotlighted or the new disparities that have been framed as the “color of COVID.”

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March 30, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Identity as Discourse: ‘The Person in Need of Guardianship’

Michal Barel, Israel Issi Doron (University of Haifa), Roni Strier, Identity as Discourse: ‘The Person in Need of Guardianship’ The British J. Social Work (2020):

This article presents a critical discussion of the legal institution of adult guardianship in Israel. Based on a critical discourse analysis’ study of official guardianship reports for older adults submitted by social workers to family courts in Israel, findings reveal how guardianship institutional procedures construct the personal life stories of older persons into legalistic guardianship paradigm, and in doing so they create a new identity of ‘a person in need of guardianship’. The article further delineates how ‘a person in need of guardianship’ (as well as a ‘guardian’) is a discursive identity, a subject who never existed prior to the guardianship proceeding, a legal creation which does not reflect the complexities and realities of older persons.

March 30, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

COVID-19 Policy Playbook: Legal Recommendations for a Safer, More Equitable Future

Scott Burris (Temple University), Lance Gable (Wayne State University), Donna Levin, Wendy E. Parmet (Northeastern University), Nicolas Terry (Indiana University), COVID-19 Policy Playbook: Legal Recommendations for a Safer, More Equitable Future, SSRN:

This Report, including 39 chapters by more than 50 experts, updates and expands the initial rapid COVID-19 legal assessment published in August 2020. The failures we noted in the first Report have only worsened, culminating in the sad moment in February when the country reached 500,000 deaths. For Volume II of the Report, our team has revisited the legal issues we first surveyed early in the pandemic, and have added new topics, including education, data systems, and the lessons of the 2020 pandemic election. Even for the subjects covered previously, this Report consists of largely new material, including new, post-election recommendations, which we highlight in this summary. Volume I confronted a historic failure of law and policy. Volume II points to a historic opportunity to remake our institutions, public and clinical health law and policy, and the social contract. Once again, we have asked our authors to focus on how law has served the nation’s response to COVID-19, and to offer concrete suggestions for immediate and long-term changes to better serve the health of the nation. Each of the six sections of the Report addresses a big question: 1. How can government power best be used to prevent and control pandemics like COVID-19? 2. How can law help best harness the power and overcome the limitations of a divided system of federal, state, and local governments? 3. What reforms are needed to get high quality, affordable health care to everyone during the pandemic and beyond? 4. What can law do to help ensure access to essential medicines and medical supplies? 5. What legal steps are needed to protect American workers and their families from COVID-19 and its economic side effects? 6. Finally, and most importantly, what must be done through law to knock down the structures of racism and inequality that produce health inequity now, and prevent the American people from working together for health and prosperity in the future? This Report offers more than 100 specific legal recommendations for the president and Congress, governors and state legislatures, and mayors and city councilors across the country.

March 30, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 29, 2021

Constitutionalism During a Crisis: The Case of Aarogya Setu

Vrinda Bhandari, Faiza Rahman, Constitutionalism During a Crisis: The Case of Aarogya Setu, Coronavirus Pandemic: Lessons and Policy Responses, Uma Kapila ed. (Academic Foundation, New Delhi, 2020):

Aarogya Setu is a contact tracing app launched by the Indian government on April 2, 2020, as a tool to combat the COVID-19 crisis. Issues concerning the privacy and security concerns with the app have been discussed extensively. In this short piece, we focus on the issue of lack of legislative foundations and certain practical governance oriented considerations related to the roll out of the app. We begin by considering the principles of evaluating executive action during a crisis and whether extraordinary times truly call for extraordinary measures. We then explore the importance of a clear and specific law and why the Disaster Management Act or Section 144, CrPC fail to provide an adequate legal foundation for the app. We then consider the importance of law and process of legislation and provide certain recommendations on addressing the procedural irregularities and governance related issues that were related to the roll out of the app.

March 29, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why America’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Failed: Lessons from New Zealand’s Success

Richard W. Parker (University of Connecticut), Why America’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Failed: Lessons from New Zealand’s Success, 73 Admin. L. Rev. 101 (2021):

COVID-19 is the ultimate test of administrative law and governance, as every country faces the common challenge of saving lives from a virulent pandemic at a manageable cost to the economy. Polls show that 48 percent of Americans think that COVID-19 posed an essentially impossible test and that the US has performed as well as most other countries in meeting the pandemic challenge. This Essay refutes that misperception. It shows that the U.S. COVID-19 mortality rate for 2020, adjusted for population, was more than twice as high as Canada’s and Germany’s; 40 times higher than Japan’s; 59 times higher than South Korea’s, and 207 times higher than New Zealand’s mortality rate despite over $2 trillion in U.S. deficit spending. In fact, U.S. performance at the level of South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, or Japan in containing the pandemic would have saved over 300,000 American lives in 2020 alone. This Essay then offers a detailed comparison of the COVID-19 response of the Trump Administration to that of New Zealand, which mounted a truly successful response. While some observers have dismissed New Zealand’s success as an artifact of good luck -- or of its geographic situation as a small, rural, island state -- this Essay offers evidence to suggest that these distinctions are of marginal importance compared to a more crucial contrast: New Zealand followed the pandemic containment “playbook” to the letter while in the United States the Trump Administration departed from that playbook at every turn. Moreover, New Zealand’s response was centrally planned and tightly managed while the U.S. response was incoherent and de-centralized. The evidence thus strongly suggests that the tragic disparity between America’s COVID-19 performance and New Zealand’s is primarily due -- not to geography or happenstance -- but to a stark contrast in the pandemic response strategy adopted by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern compared to that of President Trump. Leadership matters.

March 29, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

States of Emergency: Analysing Global Use of Emergency Powers in Response to COVID-19

Joelle Grogan (Middlesex University), States of Emergency: Analysing Global Use of Emergency Powers in Response to COVID-19, 4 Eu. J. L. Reform 338 (2020):

The measures taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic have been among the most restrictive in contemporary history, and have raised concerns from the perspective of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Building on a study of the legal measures taken in response to pandemic in 74 countries, this article considers the central question of the use of power during an emergency: is it better or worse for democracy and the rule of law to declare an emergency or, instead, to rely on ordinary powers and legislative frameworks? The article then considers whether the use of powers (ordinary or emergency) in response to the pandemic emergency has ultimately been a cause, or catalyst of, further democratic deconsolidation. It concludes on a note of optimism: an emerging best practice of governmental response reliant on public trust bolstered by rationalized and transparent decision-making and the capacity to adapt, change and reform measures and policies.

March 29, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Historical Review of the State Police Powers and Their Relevance to the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020

Edward P. Richards (Louisiana State University), A Historical Review of the State Police Powers and Their Relevance to the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020, 11 J. Nat’l Sec. L. & Pol’y 83 (2020):

At the time this article was written, in June 2020, the United States was five months into the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. The United States Supreme Court, in a divided decision, has turned away a challenge to state authority to impose general public health restrictions that did not exempt religious institutions. While most state and federal courts have also rejected challenges to public health orders, an unprecedented number of courts have sided with the challengers and substituted the courts’ judgment on public health safety measures for that of the state or local public authorities. At this point in time, support for public health restrictions to slow the spread of the virus tends to follow the existing ideological divide in the country, reflecting either the President’s skepticism of science and expert opinion and downplaying the risk of the pandemic, or accepting the need for dramatic shared sacrifice in the face of grave danger. This article is a historical look at the judicial review of public health orders and statutes. Courts have almost always deferred to the judgment of public health authorities or legislatures in public health cases. In only two cases has the Supreme Court found such actions unconstitutional. In both, the Court found that the proffered public health justification was pretextual, with a significant racial/ethnic bias. But while the judicial divide over the public health response to COVID-19 is unprecedented, the public controversy is not. Public health actions have always been controversial in the United States. There have always been vaccine resisters. Businesses resist anything that interferes with their operations. Individuals resist restrictions on personal behavior, whether that was wearing masks in 1918-1919 or being isolated for tuberculosis. Public officials also have sometimes failed to act because of public opposition. Public resistance to disease control measures during the 1918-1919 flu pandemic, for example, led to a second wave of cases and a dramatic increase in deaths. And political opposition to public health actions greatly exacerbated the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States.

March 29, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Governing by Executive Order during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Preliminary Observations Concerning the Proper Balance between Executive Orders and More Formal Rule Making

Kelly Deere (Rutgers Law School), Governing by Executive Order during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Preliminary Observations Concerning the Proper Balance between Executive Orders and More Formal Rule Making, MI. L. Rev. (Forthcoming):

As the United States enters 2021, almost all fifty states are still operating under a state of emergency due to COVID-19 more than nine months later. Governors using emergency powers provided to them under their respective emergency disaster statutes and state constitutions continue to govern their state by executive order. These executive orders have had significant impacts on citizens’ everyday lives including stay-at-home orders, limits on non-essential gatherings, non-essential business closures and moratoriums on evictions. And these emergency orders have been opposed at almost every turn from citizens gathering in public protest shouting “Liberate Michigan” to constitutional legal challenges to these orders. Even with two promising vaccines receiving emergency authorization at the time of this article’s submission, it will be months or longer before life returns to normal. Therefore, it becomes incumbent to ask the question whether governors should continue to wield this emergency power or whether state legislatures and/or state agencies should take on more responsibility. In answer to this question, this article concludes that governors should use executive orders in some measure as long as COVID-19 is being transmitted in their communities but not for all areas. Since COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease and is difficult to contain, governors need to be able to quickly and nimbly issue orders to curb transmission as long as there is a reasonable check on their power to do so. However, state legislatures and/or state agencies should enact emergency statutes or regulations following the more formal rule making process in areas that do not require immediate action such as requiring facial coverings in public spaces. This article draws its conclusion by examining three key areas. First, most governors have a meaningful check on their emergency powers from both the judiciary and the state legislature. Second, governors and litigants can learn from prior cases to ensure executive orders do not single out a group or unnecessarily burden another. Third, since some states have had success in enacting emergency regulations, statutes or guidelines concerning COVID-19, more states should follow suit.

March 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Evaluating Criminal Justice Reform During COVID-19: The Need for a Novel Sentiment Analysis Package

Divya Ramjee (American University), Louisa Smith (Harvard University), Anhvinh Doanvo, Marie Charpignon (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Alyssa McNulty (Texas A&M University), Angel Desai, Maimuna S. Majumder (Harvard University), Evaluating Criminal Justice Reform During COVID-19: The Need for a Novel Sentiment Analysis Package, SSRN:

Existing natural language processing lexicons that underlie current sentiment analysis (SA) algorithms may not perform adequately in certain academic disciplines depending on contextual complexities. The health and safety of incarcerated persons and correctional personnel have been prominent in news media discourse during the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially highlighting the need for a novel SA lexicon and algorithm that is tailored for the examination of public health policy in the context of the criminal justice system. We utilized a text corpus consisting of news articles at the intersection of COVID-19 and criminal justice to analyze the performance of existing lexicons collected across state-level outlets between January and May 2020. Our results demonstrated that sentence sentiment scores provided by three popular SA packages differ considerably from manually-curated ratings. This dissimilarity was especially pronounced when the text was more polarized, whether negatively or positively. A randomly selected set of 1,000 manually scored sentences, and the corresponding binary document term matrices, were used to train two new sentiment prediction algorithms (i.e., linear regression and random forest regression) to verify the performance of the manually-curated ratings. By better accounting for the unique context in which incarceration-related terminologies are used in news media, both of our proposed models outperformed all existing SA packages considered for comparison. Our findings suggest that there is a need to develop a novel lexicon, and potentially an accompanying algorithm, for analysis of text related to public health within the criminal justice system, as well as criminal justice more broadly.

March 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Wake-Up Call in Our Upside-Down World: Three Starting-Points for Advancing Health Rights and Social Justice in a Post-Pandemic Future

Alicia Ely Yamin (Harvard University), A Wake-Up Call in Our Upside-Down World: Three Starting-Points for Advancing Health Rights and Social Justice in a Post-Pandemic Future, 12(2) J. Human Rights Practice 260 (2020):

What the world and our health systems and societies look like in the future depends on the meaning(s) we take from this pandemic, and in turn how we collectively respond. Before the pandemic, we were living in a scandalously unequal world in which one per cent owned as much wealth as the rest of the globe’s population. Worse yet, as Eduardo Galeano suggested, in our upside-down world, this injustice had come to be accepted as a law of nature. This calamity has ravaged the planet with added suffering—some from the disease itself and more that is the result of structural injustice and policies adopted in response. But the disruption in the lives of tens of millions, as well as in the organization of our societies, provides an opportunity for subverting a number of pillars of the upside-down world, and we in the overlapping fields of health justice and human rights have a responsibility to think and act boldly on transformative political possibilities now. In this essay, I set out three lessons and the implications of those lessons. First, we must hold governments to account for the disparate impacts not only of the virus but of governmental responses to the virus. Secondly, if we hope to emerge from this pandemic with meaningful social contracts, it is imperative that we understand health and health systems as integral to democracy. Thirdly, we need to reimagine the architecture of aid, as well as global health and economic governance.

March 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown Discourse: A Review of Some Contending Human Rights Issues

Abubakar Yusuf (University of Abuja), COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown Discourse: A Review of Some Contending Human Rights Issues, SSRN:

The paper examined the human rights issues associated with COVID-19 pandemic lockdown restriction in Nigeria. With the aid of secondary data obtained from official documents, reports and other literature on the subject matter, the paper found that there were reports of human rights violations at different levels which were encapsulated in three concentric circles namely right to life and duty to protect, right to health and access to healthcare and freedom to movement. The paper discussed the issues associated with these rights during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. It was found that there was little or no considerations for the necessary parameters of necessity and proportionality when national lockdown restrictions were made. This subsequently raised the call for review of the national emergency laws and setting up of monitoring committee during national emergencies. Other recommendations included taking necessary actions to guarantee freedom of expression during national emergencies and provision of stimulus packages and other palliatives to the most vulnerable in the society.

March 28, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Solidarity and Universal Preparedness for Health after COVID-19

Göran Tomson, Sara Causevic, Ole Petter Ottersen (University of Oslo), Stefan Swartling Peterson, Sabina Faiz Rashid (BRAC University), Rhoda Kitti Wanyenze, Alicia Ely Yamin (Harvard University), Solidarity and Universal Preparedness for Health after COVID-19, BMJ 371 (2020):

Göran Tomson and colleagues argue that our ability to control pandemics requires global action to counter inequalities from demographic, environmental, technological, and other megatrends.

March 27, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Can International Patent Law Help Mitigate Cancer Inequity in LMICs?

Srividhya Ragavan (Texas A&M), Amaka Vanni, Can International Patent Law Help Mitigate Cancer Inequity in LMICs? 22(2) AMA J. Ethics (2020):

Although low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) bear 75% of the cancer burden globally, their available resources to treat cancer constitute less than 5% of global health resources. This inequity makes it imperative to take appropriate measures to treat and prevent cancer in LMICs, which should include consideration of trade and patent policies. This article highlights some impediments to effective use of existing policies to promote access to treatment and prevention measures in LMICs and offers recommendations about next steps.

March 27, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Works to Control COVID-19? Econometric Analysis of a Cross-Country Panel

Liming Chen, David Raitzer, Rana Hasan (UMD), Rouselle Lavado, Orlee Velarde, What Works to Control COVID-19? Econometric Analysis of a Cross-Country Panel, Asian Development Bank Economics Working Paper Series No. 625 (2020):

We use cross-country panel data to examine the effects of a variety of nonpharmaceutical interventions used by governments to suppress the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). We find that while lockdown measures lead to reductions in disease transmission rates as captured by the reproduction number, R_t, gathering bans appear to be more effective than workplace and school closures, both of which are associated with large declines in gross domestic product. Further, our estimates suggest that stay-at-home orders are less effective in countries with larger family size and in developing economies. We also find that incentives are very important, as efforts at ramping up testing and tracing COVID-19 cases are more effective in controlling the spread of disease in countries with greater coverage of paid sick leave benefits. As future waves of the disease emerge, the use of more targeted and better incentivized measures can help keep the epidemic controlled at lower economic cost.

March 27, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 26, 2021

Professor Sharona Hoffman presents Artificial Intelligence and Discrimination in Health Care at Case Western Reserve University School of Law 

Professor Sharona Hoffman presents Artificial Intelligence and Discrimination in Health Care at Case Western Reserve University School of Law 

Hoffman Presentation

In February of 2021, Professor Sharona Hoffman presented a talk entitled Artificial Intelligence and Discrimination in Health Care at Case Western Reserve University School of Law as part of the Law-Medicine Center's Elena and Miles Zaremski Law Medicine Forums. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) holds great promise for improved health-care outcomes.  It has been used to analyze tumor images, to help doctors choose among different treatment options, and to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.  But AI also poses new hazards, including discrimination.

This talk focused on several forms of AI bias and analyzed their implications.  It argues that algorithmic discrimination in medicine can violate civil rights laws when it exacerbates health disparities or perpetuates inequities.  It also offered several legal and technical interventions that can be implemented to promote algorithmic fairness.

Sharona Hoffman, JD, LLM, SJD

Edgar A. Hahn Professor of Law; Professor, Department of Bioethics, School of Medicine; Co-Director, The Law-Medicine Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Law


March 26, 2021 | Permalink | Comments (0)