Paolo Acciari, Facundo Alvaredo, Salvatore Morelli

The richest 0.1% saw a twofold increase in their real average net wealth (from AC7.6 million
to AC15.8 million at 2016 prices), making its share double, from 5.5% to 9.3% (equivalent
to a change from 55 to 93 times their proportionate share). In contrast, the poorest 50%
controlled 11.7% of total wealth in 1995, and 3.5% recently. This corresponds to a 80% drop
in the average net wealth (from AC27,000 to AC7,000 at 2016 prices). Strong concentration
increases were also recorded for the richest 10%, whose share went up from 44% in 1995 to
56% in 2016.

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Maurizio Donato, giugno 2020

L’interruzione dei cicli di produzione-circolazione delle merci provocata dalla pandemia da SARS-Covid 19 ha generato – oltre a un disastro sanitario – una nuova crisi economica in una fase in cui il mercato mondiale non si era ancora ripreso completamente rispetto ai problemi emersi nel 2008. La nuova crisi sembra avere le stesse caratteristiche descritte nel mese di marzo dalla dottoressa Ilaria Capua (Capua, 2020): un virus molto contagioso che, a contatto con un soggetto debole, debilitato, può rivelarsi letale. Una pandemia diventa una tragedia se la comunità umana non è attrezzata a fronteggiarla, in termini di coordinamento internazionale e di pianificazione.  Read More

In an original analysis released today, the Institut économique Molinari compares the G10 countries to three OECD countries that have implemented an elimination strategy (Australia and New Zealand) or something similar (South Korea). After a Covid-19 fight lasting more than 12 months, the data show the value of the elimination strategy and contradict the idea, that it was necessary to choose between protecting the economy and protecting public health on the grounds that these two goals were in conflict. At this stage, experience shows the elimination strategy (Zero Covid) to be more effective in both health and economic terms than the mitigation strategy applied in many countries.

Short-term positive effects: Countries pursuing Zero Covid strategy experienced less severe economic decline in 2nd quarter of 2020 than countries that allowed the virus to spread so that health systems were saturated (-4.5% vs -11.7%). The Zero Covid strategy is showing lasting positive effects: in the fourth quarter of 2020, the countries applying this strategy had almost returned to normal economic activity. Their GDP was down only slightly (-1.2%) compared to 2019. Meanwhile, the decline in GDP was greater (-3.3%) in countries that had not eradicated the virus.

Report “The Zero Covid strategy protects people and economies more effectively” is at: https://www.institutmolinari.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2021/03/etude-zero-covid2021_en.pdf

a cura di Giovanni Sgro’ e Irene Viparelli, Napoli, Edizioni La Città del Sole, 2020

Il nucleo originario del presente volume risale a un convegno internazionale dal titolo Duzentos anos após o nascimento de Marx (1818-2018): herança e perspectivas, organizzato dal Centro di ricerca portoghese CICP (“Centro de Investigação em Ciência Política”) e tenutosi presso l’Università di Évora (Portogallo) il 18 novembre 2018.

Alle relazioni presentate e discusse a Évora si sono poi aggiunti i contributi di altri studiosi, con i quali gli organizzatori e i relatori di quel convegno intrattengono da anni un costante confronto e un fecondo dialogo sulla multiforme opera di Marx. I contributi raccolti nel presente volume possono essere idealmente divisi in due parti: la prima parte offre una serie di prospettive, a partire da cui è possibile approcciare e sviluppare l’opera di Marx, mentre la seconda parte è dedicata alla eredità, alla ricostruzione della recezione e della rielaborazione critica della sua opera nel corso del Novecento, fino ad arrivare alla crisi finanziaria del primo decennio del terzo millennio.

Sgro’_Viparelli (a cura di)_Marx1818-2018_Presentazione

By Peter Kujawinski, Photos and video by Pat Kane, 

It takes hours of flying across Canada’s vast, trackless north to reach Yellowknife, a small city on the northern shore of Great Slave Lake — one of the deepest and largest lakes in the world. The region is as remote as it is pristine. But travelers are drawn here from around the world to witness the splendor of the aurora borealis, otherwise known as the Northern Lights.

It is one year to the day since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak or epidemic as a ‘pandemic’, namely the global spread of the disease.  Of course, COVID-19 had emerged much earlier, maybe even in autumn 2019, but the outbreak really took hold in Wuhan, China first, before quickly sweeping across the globe.

How does the health balance sheet look after one year of the pandemic?  Well, 119m people (or just 2% of the world’s population) have been reported as infected, although if we include those who had no symptoms and those who did not report being ill, the figure is probably more like 15-20%.  There have been 2.6m reported as having died of the disease.  So that’s a case fatality ratio (CFR) of 2.2% globally.  In some countries the CFR is way higher – Mexico’s CFR is close to 9%; Italy, the UK and South Africa CFRs are close to 3%.  The variation is down to the age of those infected, the general health of the population and the resources and efficacy of the health systems in each country.

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Authors: Valentina Marziano, Giorgio Guzzetta, Bruna Maria Rondinone, Fabio Boccuni, Flavia Riccardo, Antonino Bella, Piero Poletti, Filippo Trentini, Patrizio Pezzotti, Silvio Brusaferro, Giovanni Rezza, Sergio Iavicoli, Marco Ajelli, and Stefano Merler.

After the national lockdown imposed on March 11, 2020, the Italian government has gradually resumed the suspended economic and social activities since May 4, while maintaining the closure of schools until September 14. We use a model of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission to estimate the health impact of different exit strategies. The strategy adopted in Italy kept the reproduction number Rt at values close to one until the end of September, with marginal regional differences. Based on the estimated postlockdown transmissibility, reopening of workplaces in selected industrial activities might have had a minor impact on the transmissibility. Reopening educational levels in May up to secondary schools might have influenced SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility only marginally; however, including high schools might have resulted in a marked increase of the disease burden. Earlier reopening would have resulted in disproportionately higher hospitalization incidence. Given community contacts in September, we project a large second wave associated with school reopening in the fall. Retrospective analysis of the Italian exit strategy from COVID-19 lockdown

More and more COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out safely around the world; just last month, the United States authorized one produced by Johnson & Johnson. But there is still much to be learnt. How long does protection last? How much does it vary by age? How well do vaccines work against various circulating variants, and how well will they work against future ones? Do vaccinated people transmit less of the virus?

Answers to these questions will help regulators to set the best policies. Now is the time to make sure that those answers are as reliable as possible, and I worry that we are not laying the essential groundwork. Our current trajectory has us on course for confusion: we must plan ahead to pool data.

Many questions remain after vaccines are approved. Randomized trials generate the best evidence to answer targeted questions, such as how effective booster doses are. But for others, randomized trials will become too difficult as more and more people are vaccinated. To fill in our knowledge gaps, observational studies of the millions of vaccinated people worldwide will be essential.

Investigators are setting up these studies. One approach is the test-negative design: inexpensive studies that draw from people with symptoms who seek testing. By comparing vaccination rates in those who test positive and those who test negative, we can estimate how effective the vaccine is. This is how we assess the influenza vaccine each year.

Several large test-negative studies are being planned for COVID-19 vaccines. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conducting a study across multiple sites, with more than 500,000 health-care workers in total. Other studies are being run by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and various government agencies, private health-care providers and academic medical centres. Similar efforts are under way in other countries. There will be several hundred studies at least, and I worry that coordination and cross-consultation will be inadequate.

Imagine what will happen when these studies generate results, each with their own populations, eligibility criteria, validation procedures and clinical endpoints. Differences in study design will cloud answers and prevent cross-cutting conclusions. If we don’t want our final answers to be a jumble, we must act now to consider how data can be compared and combined.

The first step is to post study protocols online, on individual websites, as preprints or in journals. This will let trial planners draw on others’ insights, jump-starting an exchange of ideas to improve designs. For example, experience gained from monitoring influenza-vaccine effectiveness can inform approaches to data collection and validation. The World Health Organization (WHO) intends to maintain a table linking to public protocols, and researchers should proactively make sure that their design is listed.

The next step is to develop and publicize expert consensus on best practices. The WHO has convened a working group on post-introduction vaccine-effectiveness studies, with a report due to be published imminently. This will provide invaluable resources for investigators setting up cohort, case–control and test-negative studies.

But there will be more work to do in translating these recommendations into functional protocols, particularly in countries without extensive influenza-surveillance systems. The WHO, its regional partners and other agencies should disseminate guidance as well as providing technical support and access to data-management consultants, epidemiologists and statisticians. This could include virtual seminars and online training sessions.

Perhaps most importantly, we must coordinate now on plans to combine data. We must take measures to counter the long-standing siloed approach to research. Investigators should be discouraged from setting up single-site studies and encouraged to contribute to a larger effort. Funding agencies should favour studies with plans for collaborating or for sharing de-identified individual-level data.

Even when studies do not officially pool data, they should make their designs compatible with others. That means up-front discussions about standardization and data-quality thresholds. Ideally, this will lead to a minimum common set of variables to be collected, which the WHO has already hammered out for COVID-19 clinical outcomes. Categories include clinical severity (such as all infections, symptomatic disease or critical/fatal disease) and patient characteristics, such as comorbidities. This will help researchers to conduct meta-analyses of even narrow subgroups. Efforts are under way to develop reporting guidelines for test-negative studies, but these will be most successful when there is broad engagement.

There are many important questions that will be addressed only by observational studies, and data that can be combined are much more powerful than lone results. We need to plan these studies with as much care and intentionality as we would for randomized trials.

Unless we act now to ensure the quality and consistency of this research, we will be stuck with muddy findings, trying to look backwards to work out how or whether studies can be compared. There is rarely a cure for messy data. Working out data standards up-front takes time, but will bring essential knowledge. To save lives and livelihoods, share protocols now.

source: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00563-5

Nature

Un vaccino sviluppato dal governo cubano sta per entrare nelle sperimentazioni di Fase 3 a marzo e, se approvato, circa 100 milioni di dosi potrebbero essere prodotte dal paese per uso interno ed esportazione entro la fine dell’anno. #Soberana2​ (spagnolo per “sovrano”) è un vaccino diverso da quelli che abbiamo imparato a conoscere fino ad ora, ovvero prevede che un antigene sia fuso a una molecola di trasporto per rafforzare la stabilità e l’efficacia del vaccino stesso.

Per capire meglio di cosa si tratta, Gianluca Codagnone, Thomas Manfredi e Domenico Somma ne hanno parlato con Fabrizio Chiodo* che meglio di altri conosce il vaccino cubano, poiché collabora attivamente con l’Istituto vaccini Finlay di Havana, e dal 2014 è Professore alla facoltà di chimica di Havana. Una conversazione di approfondimento, con tutti i dettagli sul nuovo vaccino cubano.

*Fabrizio Chiodo, laureato in Chimica e tecnologie farmaceutiche nel 2008 a Palermo, ha effettuato un dottorato di ricerca in Spagna (San Sebastian) in chimica applicata (chimica ed immunologia dei carboidrati). Dal 2013 ha lavorato in Olanda in diversi Medical Centers (Leiden ed Amsterdam) su progetti personali (grant e borse di studio per progetti indipendenti) con un focus su interazioni tra patogeno ed ospite (mediate da carboidrati) soprattutto nel contesto dei vaccini. Lavora a ponte tra chimica biologica ed il sistema innato ed adattativo, sempre con un focus su carboidrati e vaccini (ma anche tumor immunology). Dal 2014 collabora attivamente con Istituto vaccini Finlay di Havana, e dal 2014 è Professore alla Facoltà di chimica di Havana. Al momento e’ ricercatore al Amsterdam Medical Center e da fine 2020 e’ rientrato in Italia come ricercatore a tempo indeterminato al CNR di Pozzuoli (Istituto di Chimica Biomolecolare). Su twitter è @FabrizioChiodo

Abstract

The collapse of economic activity in 2020 from COVID-19 has been immense. An important question is how much of that collapse resulted from government-imposed restrictions versus people voluntarily choosing to stay home to avoid infection. This paper examines the drivers of the economic slowdown using cellular phone records data on customer visits to more than 2.25 million individual businesses across 110 different industries. Comparing consumer behavior over the crisis within the same commuting zones but across state and county boundaries with different policy regimes suggests that legal shutdown orders account for only a modest share of the massive changes to consumer behavior (and that tracking county-level policy conditions is significantly more accurate than using state-level policies alone). While overall consumer traffic fell by 60 percentage points, legal restrictions explain only 7 percentage points of this. Individual choices were far more important and seem tied to fears of infection. Traffic started dropping before the legal orders were in place; was highly influenced by the number of COVID deaths reported in the county; and showed a clear shift by consumers away from busier, more crowded stores toward smaller, less busy stores in the same industry. States that repealed their shutdown orders saw symmetric, modest recoveries in consumer visits, further supporting the small estimated effect of policy. Although the shutdown orders had little aggregate impact, they did have a significant effect in reallocating consumer visits away from “nonessential” to “essential” businesses and from restaurants and bars toward groceries and other food sellers. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047272720301754