The Monday Morning Teaser

This week I want to focus more on what we do and don’t know about the virus and the pandemic, and less on the politics of it (though of course the politics can’t be ignored). So the featured post does not have “Trump” in the title, and may not mention him at all. He’ll turn up in the weekly summary, but there’s no need to dwell on him.

A lot of the articles that my social media universe brings to my attention express knowledge of one sort or another: The virus is like this; this tactic works and this one doesn’t; there will or won’t be a vaccine by such-and-such a time; this treatment is or isn’t a breakthrough; and so on. But I went looking for articles that give due respect to our ignorance, or that point to something we think we know, but really don’t. (Those stats people toss around about annual flu deaths aren’t nearly as solid as they look, for example.) And looking at countries that are ahead of us in dealing with the pandemic shows that whatever they are getting back to, it isn’t “normal” by any means. “Normal” is still quite a ways off, if we ever get there at all.

The point is not to cheer you up or get you down, it’s to build a stock of knowledge carefully, so that we don’t whipsaw back and forth between “It’s going to be OK” and “Millions of people will die.” Anyway, that should be out sometime this morning. (I’m being vague because I’m still making decisions about what’s in or out.)

The weekly summary will, of course, get into the politics of the lockdown, those armed yahoos trying to intimidate legislators, the accusation against Joe Biden and his response, the Republican president who did look like a statesman this week, and so on, before closing with a great piece of lockdown art: over 100 Julliard students, faculty, and alumni coming together virtually to play and dance their way through “Bolero”. When it came to my attention, I thought, “No way I’m watching the whole nine and a half minutes.” But I did.

I’ll try to get the summary out between noon and 1 EDT.

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