Day sixty-nine – the threshold of ten weeks since I began this counting of days on Friday, March 13th.
This Pandemic has been going on long enough that many credible journalists have built a significant body of work on aspects of this crisis. So we have ample evidence to say: “This is a writer to listen to and to trust.”
Donald G. McNeil Jr at the NY Times is one of these journalists.
Ed Yong at The Atlantic is another and the one I want to focus on today.
But first, a few other articles I discovered on Thursday and recommend for your reading and learning:
[Opinion] “The End of Meat is Here”
[White Paper Report] “Tale of Two Crises: Billionaires Gain as Workers Feel Pandemic Pain”
[Book Recommendations] “20 Literary Fiction “Must-Reads” With Happy Endings”
Today’s photo is the lead image in an important story by Ed Yong in The Atlantic, published on May 20, 2020.
It’s somewhat of a “long read” but well worth it as it summarizes what we’ve seen already in the unequal spread of COVID-19. And it describes what this “patchwork” may lead to as the weeks of the Pandemic Period continue to expand into months and eventually years.
I want to highlight a few quotes here, which I find helpful as I think about what the future may hold as we move into this summer, fall, and eventually winter:
The COVID-19 pandemic is not a hurricane or some other disaster that will come and go, signaling an obvious moment when recovery can begin. It is not like the epidemics of fiction, which get worse until, after some medical breakthrough, they get better. It is messier, patchier, and thus harder to predict, control, or understand. “We’re in that zone that we don’t see movies made about,” says Lindsay Wiley, a professor of public-health law at American University….
“It’s inevitable that we’ll see stark increases in infections in the next weeks,” says Oscar Alleyne of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. The experiences of other countries support that view. Success stories like South Korea, China, Singapore, and Lebanon all had to renew or extend social-distancing measures to deal with new bursts of cases. And they had all restrained the virus to a much greater extent than the U.S., which despite having just 4 percent of the world’s population has 31 percent of its confirmed COVID-19 cases (1.5 million) and 28 percent of its confirmed deaths (92,000).
Let that last stat sink in for a moment- we have just 4% of the world population, but currently about one third of the cases in the world.
Note the tag line in an earlier article, also by Ed Yong, about eight weeks ago:
This quote, near the end of the “Patchwork” article (5/20/2020) is particularly important:
This point cannot be overstated: The pandemic patchwork exists because the U.S. is a patchwork to its core. New outbreaks will continue to flare and fester unless the country makes a serious effort to protect its most vulnerable citizens, recognizing that their risk is the result of societal failures, not personal ones. “People say you can’t fix the U.S. health system overnight, but if we’re not fixing these underlying problems, we won’t get out of this,” says Sheila Davis of Partners in Health. “We’ll just keep getting pop-ups.”
He ends the article with this thought about the urgency of changing the “patchwork” structures and systems which have allow this Pandemic to spread and kill:
Of all the threats we know, the COVID-19 pandemic is most like a very rapid version of climate change—global in its scope, erratic in its unfolding, and unequal in its distribution. And like climate change, there is no easy fix. Our choices are to remake society or let it be remade, to smooth the patchworks old and new or let them fray even further.