Coronavirus lessons on density, mass transit, bureaucracy and censorship: They kill.

Appearing in: USA Today
By: Glenn Harlan Reynolds

The novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, also known as COVID-19, is still spreading around the world. Even now, there are many things we don’t know: How fatal will it turn out to be when all the numbers are crunched? Did it escape from a Chinese lab? Can we make a vaccine? What’s the best treatment?

But there are some things that are becoming reasonably clear. Following are a few coronavirus lessons, useful now and in preparing for future events.

►Density kills. The coronavirus has been much more deadly in places like New York City or Boston than in rural settings. As demographer Joel Kotkin notes, Los Angeles has done much better than other big cities, because it’s less dense.

“L.A.’s sprawling, multi-polar urban form, by its nature, results in far less ‘exposure density’ to the contagion than more densely packed urban areas, particularly those where large, crowded workplaces are common and workers are mass-transit-dependent…

“In recent decades, this dispersed model has been increasingly disparaged by politicians, the media and people in academia who tend to favor the New York model of density and mass transit. Yet even before COVID-19 most Angelenos rejected their advice, preferring to live and work in dispersed patterns and traveling by car. This bit of passive civic resistance may have saved lives in this pandemic.”

Read the rest of this piece at USA Today