Economist Emily Oster On How We Can All Make Better Pandemic Decisions

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Professor Emily Oster poses for a portrait at her office at Brown University May 21, 2018, in Providence, Rhode Island. (Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images)
Professor Emily Oster poses for a portrait at her office at Brown University May 21, 2018, in Providence, Rhode Island. (Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images)

Schools and educators can enroll in the national COVID-19 dashboard here

Economist Emily Oster knows making decisions during uncertain times is hard. From sending our kids back to school to flying on an airplane, we explore how we can all make better choices amid the pandemic.


Emily Oster, professor of economics at Brown University. Co-founder of the website COVID Explained. Author of "Cribsheet" and "Expecting Better." (@ProEmilyOster)

From The Reading List

Washington Post: "Covid-19 doesn't have to cancel Halloween" — "If you have children, you probably talk a lot about Halloween. My 5-year-old has been discussing his costume since Nov. 1, 2019. (Current plan: Superhero Unicorn.) For many adults, too, Halloween has a special place. Walking through leaves, delighting in dress-up, gorging on candy — it’s a reminder of childhood, of tradition, of unadulterated joy."

New Yorker: "Should You Send Your Child Back to School During the Pandemic?" — "The thing we call 'parenting' is, to some extent, a long stretch of decision-making on behalf of another person. It begins with questions about breast-feeding and sleep, and progresses through more complex topics like discipline, schooling, and sex education."

WBUR: "Economist Uses Data-Driven Approach To Advise Parents About Risks Of COVID-19" — "With schools reopening and the coronavirus pandemic surges in some Massachusetts cities, parents face difficult choices about how to keep their children safe."

New York Times: "Schools Briefing: Coronavirus Dorms and Super Spreaders" — "Cases of coronavirus are spiking on university campuses, leaving administrators with two unappealing options: Quarantine students in dorms, or send them home."

Washington Post: "How the media has us thinking all wrong about the coronavirus" — "Last month, a swimmer in Maine was killed by a shark. This tragic event was widely reported by local and national media. It was news. But the fact that there are hardly ever shark attacks in the United States is not news, because we expect most days to pass without shark-related fatalities."

Washington Post: "Private ‘school pods’ are coming. They’ll worsen inequality." — "According to guidelines laid out by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), most schools in California are on track to remain online-only, assuming spread of the novel coronavirus remains at its current levels. Meanwhile, New York City has announced that its schools will be open only one to three days a week. Across the country, it’s becoming clear that many working parents will face the same challenge they faced in the spring: balancing their jobs with the demands of guiding children through Zoom classes."

This program aired on September 14, 2020.


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