That would be the one at my alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I have learned that on July 6 one of its current members died, Bill Sandholm, an excellent evolutionary game theorist who was about 50 years old. It is a sign of my age that he always seemed quite young to me, barely older than my oldest daughter, and now he is dead. He was a very nice guy, aside from being a very capable economist who was the Richard Stockwell Professor of Economics and once helped me out with a paper that was in a Revise and Resubmit condition.
I bring this up because there is an unconfirmed rumor that he died of complications of Covid-19, with for the moment nobody that I know, including members of the department, knowing what he died of. If the rumor is correct, he will be the first person I knew personally to die of this dreadful pandemic. It does bring it rather home.
It also does so because it probably puts the final nail into any plan to visit Madison this summer, which I have done almost every summer if for no other reason than having family members there I wish to see, not to mention some friends still, and it being a very pleasant place to visit in the summer, cooler than Virginia where i live. Indeed, Plan A had been to be there last weekend, but that got put off due to the pandemic. I had still thought of possibly going maybe at the beginning of August or thereabouts for a quick pop-in. But now apparently there has been a new spike of cases there and in Wisconsin more broadly, something my daughter who lives there had informed us of just in the last couple of days accompanied by discouraging noises about trying to go there. And now I have learned about this new development, although it may be that the rumor is false. But it does seem to be a final hammer hit on any plans to visit that fair city I am so much attached to for now.
‘I thought this was a hoax’: Patient in 30s dies after attending ‘COVID party’
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (WOAI/KABB) – A patient in their 30s died from the coronavirus after attending what’s being called a “COVID party,” according to a San Antonio health official.
Chief Medical Officer of Methodist Healthcare Dr. Jane Appleby said the idea of these parties is to see if the virus is real.
“This is a party held by somebody diagnosed by the COVID virus and the thought is to see if the virus is real and to see if anyone gets infected,” Dr. Appleby said.
According to Appleby, the patient became critically ill and had a heartbreaking statement moments before death.
“Just before the patient died, they looked at their nurse and said ‘I think I made a mistake, I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not,'” Appleby said.
I have just learned, and this appears to be definitive despite some people still spreading the rumor I reported in this post, that Bill went the way that fellow economists Alan Krueger and Martin Weitzman did in the last two years, by his own hand. I know no further details, but this is very sad, and I fear this particular matter is becoming a serious problem among my profession. I shall only add that many knew that Krueger and Weitzman suffered from depression, but I had never heard anybody say that about Bill, and he was always an upbeat and apparently reasonably happy person whenever I interacted with him, although that had been several years now.
It is posted at UW.
fwiw, Virginia has twice as many Covid-19 cases as Wisconsin…that does not speak to the Madison environs specifically, but it’s hard to find a spot that remains untouched..
On a per capita basis, the ratio is just under 5:4 for cases,, but Wisconsin has been narrowing the gap for about the past three weeks.
The gap for 800-273-TALK abides everywhere. And the best economists of my generation are committing suicide at a noticeable rate is not a good opening line for epic poetry.
A terrible loss of life and knowledge in any case. As Barkley notes there exists a gap which will go unfilled for many. I have not looked at the numbers for Wisconsin as I have been more intent on Michigan and the Republican efforts to derail Whitmer’ efforts to keep the Covid genie in the bottle despite the lies they promulgate. People appear to be intent on testing whether Covid is real and can impact them in a “feeling lucky” sort of way.