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Need intro.


  1. Lecture: Tracking the Pandemic
  2. Reading: “Covid in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count,” The New York Times
  3. Reading: “Critical Trends: Tracking Critical Data,” John Hopkins University & Medicine
  4. Video: “Tracking the Pandemic”
  5. Questions to Consider:
  • What are the various measures that epidemiologists use to measure the threat of the virus spreading unchecked?
  • Is it true that more testing will just lead to more confirmed cases? Even so, why is this misleading?
  • How has the conventional wisdom changed in the past six months on the method of virus transmission?
  • How has the authorities’ opinion on masks evolved? Was the U.S, advice on masks consistent with other nations? Why do you think that is?
  • Looking at a hypothetical epi curve, what does the horizontal line in the diagram represent and why is it crucial to the discussion?
  • When a nation “flattens the curve,” is it reducing the number of people who will fall ill from the virus during the pandemic? If not, what is it accomplishing?
  • What does R0 measure and how is it related to the number of new cases?
  • What are the advantages of drawing the epi curve on a log scale as opposed to an arithmetic scale?
  • As an administrator of a hospital, would you be more concerned with the raw number of new cases or the number of new cases per capita?



  1. Reading: “The CARES Act,”
  2. Lecture: Tracking the Economic in a Pandemic
  3. Questions to Consider:
  • The majority of nations/states/cities facing a surge in cases forced all but essential businesses to close until the health situation improved. How does that help?
  • Sweden did not close down the economy and keep people  locked up at home. In Sweden schools, businesses and parks and recreation areas have remained open. There is debate over whether the approach has worked, but assuming it wasn’t a total disaster, do you think the U.S. could have followed that approach with success?
  • How was it possible for the U.S. food production and delivery system to remain pretty much intact during the pandemic?
  • Explain why the unemployment rate spiked higher in April. Also, explain the mistake made by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics when counting the unemployed. Having made the mistake with the March and April data, why did they choose not to correct it in subsequent months.
  • GDP in many nations including the U.S. fell at a record pace in the second quarter, In the U.S., which components of GDP fell in tandem? What does that tell you about the people who did and didn’t lose their jobs due to the pandemic?
  • What was the U.S. equity market’s initial response to the virus outbreak? Has it stayed consistent?
  • Why do investors flock to the U.S. Treasury bond market whenever there is a crisis?


Please write a 500 page essay on the following topic:

Would you expect that the number of hospital beds available in a community would be a good predictor of the pandemic’s mortality rate in that area? Why would it be? Why might it not be?


  1. Lecture: The CARES ACT
  2. Reading: Rabah Arezki and Shanta Devarajan, “Fiscal Policy for COVID-19 and Beyond,” Brookings
  3. Reading: “The CARES Act Works for All Americans,” U.S Department of the Treasury 
  4. Questions to Consider:
  • The CARES Act was put together in record speed. Are there parts of the Act that show some carelessness?
  • If the economy can be broken down roughly into the household, business and government sectors, which sector came out ahead?
  • One of the complaints about the ARRA back in the Great Recession of 2009 is that it helped the mortgage industry more than it helped mortgagees (i.e. homeowners). Is the CARES Act guilty of the same bias?
  • In what ways were small businesses targeted by the CARS Act?
  • What was the purpose of the Payroll Protection Plan. Has it worked as well as similar efforts by other nations, say Germany or Canada?
  • What is the main reason why many Republicans didn’t like the extra $600/week for people on unemployment insurance?
  • How might Congress address what is becoming a steady stream of business bankruptcies?
  • How might Congress avoid a sharp increase in evictions this year?



  1. Reading: “Federal Reserve’s Unprecedented Efforts to Support the Economy and the Markets,”
  2. Reading: Jeffrey Cheng, Dave Skidmore, and David Wessel, “What’s the Fed doing in response to the COVID-19 crisis? What more could it do?,” Brookings
  3. Reading: “Timetable of Fed Actions,” Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  4. Reading: Nick Timiraos and Jon Hilsenrath, “The Federal Reserve Is Changing What It Means to Be a Central Bank,” The Wall Street Journal
  5. Lecture: Monetary Policy Part 1
  6. Lecture: Monetary Policy Part 2
  7. Questions to Consider:
  • In what respect has the Fed become the central banker to the world?
  • What does it mean for the Fed to be the lender of last resort, and is it fulfilling that role now?
  • In what ways has the Fed expanded beyond its traditional role of pumping dollars into the banking system?
  • How might you measure whether the Fed has been successful in its attempt to stabilize the economy and the markets?
  • How are repo operations central to the Fed’s efforts to sustain adequate funding for corporations?
  • Do you think the Fed has gone too far with the new policy initiatives it has taken on, actions such as the Main Street Lending Program? Does this endanger the Fed’s independence?
  • How do you think the Fed’s promise to keep interest rates low for a very, very long time helps to support the economy?


Please write a 500 page essay on the following topic:

While both Congress and the Federal Reserve have been credited with pulling out all the stops to support the economy through this unprecedented period, some economists (as well as politicians and ordinary citizens) aren’t convinced they shouldn’t have done more. What other types of policy actions might the authorities taken to help households and/or businesses?