Don't Expect Millions To Die From Coronavirus, Says Richard Epstein

The NYU Law professor thinks we're in for a mess of bad epidemiology, ineffective stimulus, and misguided quarantines.


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How many people worldwide will die from COVID-19, the disease caused by a novel coronavirus? Estimates range into the millions, but New York University law professor Richard Epstein says such guesses fail to take into account all the actions that are already taking place to contain and suppress the pandemic. 

In an interview conducted via Skype, Epstein, who is also a fellow at the University of Chicago's Center for Clinical Medical Ethics and a podcaster and columnist at Ricochet, explains his math, which draws on his work dealing with the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and '90s.

He also discusses why the stimulus plans being floated are unlikely to help the economy in the short run but will cause major problems in the long run, why he thinks local and state governments are overreacting by shutting down businesses and schools, and why he expects the crisis to ease up in a few months, as it already has in the Asian countries hit first.

Interview by Nick Gillespie.