Archive for July 1st, 2020

Why were married women twice as likely to contract the Spanish Flu in 1918 as married men? Evidence from Malta

July 1, 2020

Historical evidence coming from across the world. Central Bank of Malta held a public lecture by Dr Mario Saliba on the impact of Spanish Flu in Maltese islands:

Why were married women twice as likely to contract the Spanish Flu in 1918 as married men? The answer to this question is one of many fascinating insights to be provided by Mario Saliba during a virtual public lecture.

In an academic paper that Dr Saliba published in 2018 with two Canadian anthropologists, the answer came down to the larger family size a century ago, which put women in constant contact with their children – who were found to carry the Spanish Flu virus for longer periods of time and also shed larger amounts of the virus, among other factors.

The Spanish Flu wreaked unprecedented havoc and killed over 40 million people around the world – more than the number that were killed during World War I.

Malta and Gozo were also affected, with three waves hitting the islands over a period of nine months. Dr Saliba’s research showed that 5.62% of the population in Malta and 9.41% of that in Gozo contracted the disease, according to the notification of infectious diseases. Around 16,000 cases were reported over the 12-month period, but the influenza probably effected some 50,000 persons. The death toll reached 1,000, one in ten of which were recorded in Gozo.

The lecture is here. The paper on which the lecture is based is here.

Prison Labor: The Price of Prisons and the Lasting Effects of Incarceration

July 1, 2020

Belinda Archibong (Barnard College) and Nonso Obikili (Stellenbosch University) in this paper:

Institutions of justice, like prisons, can be used to serve economic and other extra- judicial interests, with lasting deleterious effects. We study the effects on incarceration when prisoners are used primarily as a source of labor using evidence from British colonial Nigeria. We digitized sixty-five years of archival records on prisons from 1920 to 1995 and provide new estimates on the value of prison labor and the effects of labor demand shocks on incarceration. We find that prison labor was economically valuable to the colonial regime, making up a significant share of colonial public works expendi- ture. Positive economic shocks increased incarceration rates over the colonial period. This result is reversed in the postcolonial period, where prison labor is not a notable feature of state public finance. We document a significant reduction in contemporary trust in legal institutions, like police, in areas with high historic exposure to colonial imprisonment. The resulting reduction in trust is specific to legal institutions today.

sixty-five years of archival records on prisons from 1920 to 1995!

How Patanjali’s Coronil and Swasari make mockery of medical regulation in India

July 1, 2020

Damning piece by Leroy Leo and Goutam Das in Mint:

Besides exaggerated claims, Patanjali’s conduct could have fallen short of both legal and ethical boundaries. The company picked speed over scientific rigour, fuelling doubts on the quality of its clinical trials. In its application of clinical trial with the Clinical Trials Registry of India (CTRI), the company declared that its first patient was enrolled on 29 May. The estimated duration of trial mentioned two months but by 23 June, Patanjali was ready with the medicine, its packaging and marketing plans.

At the conference, Ramdev said the medicines would be available in seven days and an app had been readied to order home deliveries. Most of the other trials have a far longer time window—the Dabur study, which involves multiple sites, declared that the estimated duration of trail is eight months.

“Purely from a process point of view, it (the Patanjali claim) makes a mockery of drug regulation in India. I don’t understand what is the point of having the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, which provides for criminal prosecution,” Dinesh S. Thakur, a public health activist and an expert in drug regulation, said.

Bank of England apology for slave trade

July 1, 2020

I somehow missed this statement from Bank of England:

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