Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Why COVID-19 Probably Killed More People Than We Realize

 Why COVID-19 Probably Killed More People Than We Realize - Harvard Business Working Knowledge: “Millions of people around the world have died from COVID-19, according to government records, but research by Ethan Rouen, George Serafeim, and Botir Kobilov suggests that the actual number could be much higher. As the number of casualties from COVID-19 ballooned at an alarming rate last year, some feared that government officials were failing to report several coronavirus-related losses and the actual death toll was much higher worldwide. While the official count shows more than 5 million people have died of the disease, a new study of underreported casualties in several countries indicates that COVID has actually killed hundreds of thousands more people than government records document. In 2020, 51 countries reported 3,140 more deaths on average than they typically see in a year, the research shows. COVID likely caused that lethal spike, but government officials didn’t link these unexplained deaths with the disease, according to a team of Harvard Business School researchers. In fact, the number of actual deaths in some countries, like Ecuador and Bolivia, was more than triple the number reported, representing tens of thousands of losses that were never attributed to the pandemic. And the United States saw the highest number of unexplained deaths in 2020: a total of 50,876, the research shows…

How behavioral science could get people back into public libraries - Fast Company: “…“Behavioral science really asks, how do people make decisions in conditions of complexity?” says Katharine Meyer, a doctoral candidate in education policy, and a research affiliate for Nudge. “Everybody wants their kid to do well and have every opportunity to explore their interests,” she says—but some families face more constraints than others, like time, attention, and finances. Ideas42, a behavioral science nonprofit, helped gather focus groups of ordinary library users who reported the hassles they felt hindered them from easy library use, like that it was hard to keep track of fines, that reminders were too late or not received, that they didn’t know text message alerts were an option, and that they couldn’t make it to the library during regular hours. Using the information gleaned from their responses, the partnership decided to focus on improving three areas: returning books on time, library card sign-ups, and engagement with the library collections. The library card—or lack thereof—is really the first barrier to access. There was an online application for sign-up, but users then had to come into the library to activate the card, and the team noticed a drop-off in between. In spring 2017, during the first pilot period, they tested different behavioral science concepts to try to eliminate hassle factors and improve clarity…”