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Smoking and Covid

Paul Kedrosky wrote:

This paper is getting passed around today, with its claim that there not only isn’t a causal relationship between smoking and COVID, but possibly a protective role. This sort of thing drives me crazy about pre-prints. If your data suggests a conclusion that runs counter to decades of prior work with better data — in this case, that there is a strong relationship between smoking and lower respiratory infections — you should always consider the possibility that your new data is crap, not that instead of x → y you have somehow proven y → x.

I replied: Sure, but it’s fine for them to post the research, right? People might be overreacting to it, but the article itself seems clear enough.

Kedrosky responded:

It’s fine to post the research, I guess, but I don’t see what we learn from it, other than that the underlying data is flawed. I would rather see a paper saying, “You want to know bad China’a COVID data is? I can use it to prove statistically that cigarette smoking protects against lower respiratory infections”. That’s a better paper.

That makes sense, but you have to be open to the possibility that smokers are less susceptible to the disease, right?

P.S. I put this under the 6-month delay because, yeah, coronavirus is topical, but this smoking-and-coronavirus thing is not such a big deal. And in 6 months maybe people will want to read some retro coronavirus content. So here it is!

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