March 20, 2020
Maybe my service will be completed today. I will not hold my breath.
Politico has a sinister-sounding article about the current pandemic that is actually quite optimistic: “Coronavirus Will Change the World Permanently. Here’s How.” I like the idea of “A return to faith in serious experts.”
|“||The COVID-19 crisis could change this in two ways. First, it has already forced people back to accepting that expertise matters. It was easy to sneer at experts until a pandemic arrived, and then people wanted to hear from medical professionals like Anthony Fauci. Second, it may—one might hope—return Americans to a new seriousness, or at least move them back toward the idea that government is a matter for serious people. The colossal failure of the Trump administration both to keep Americans healthy and to slow the pandemic-driven implosion of the economy might shock the public enough back to insisting on something from government other than emotional satisfaction.||”|
Amen. Wouldn’t that be lovely? And speaking of experts, Wired has an interview with Larry Brilliant, the epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox and later warned of a pandemic, who calls this “the most dangerous pandemic in our lifetime” that might have been largely avoided if not for political incompetence:
|“||People say Contagion is prescient. We just saw the science. The whole epidemiological community has been warning everybody for the past 10 or 15 years that it wasn't a question of whether we were going to have a pandemic like this. It was simply when. It's really hard to get people to listen. I mean, Trump pushed out the admiral on the National Security Council, who was the only person at that level who's responsible for pandemic defense. With him went his entire downline of employees and staff and relationships. And then Trump removed the [early warning] funding for countries around the world.||”|
Indeed, now we see the real dangers of “fake news,” right Mark Zuckerberg? As Stephen Levy pointed out in an email this morning, this could be a turning point:
|“||Facebook has gotten rare kudos for its responses to the pandemic, and perhaps even more significantly, more people are using it for the kinds of meaningful interactions that Zuckerberg has been promoting for a long time.||”|
We FaceTimed with Mom yesterday, and she said she heard the president announced a vaccine for COVID-19. What she’s thinking about is probably chloroquine, a malaria drug, that has shown potential for treating the pandemic. But despite 45’s lie about the almost immediate availability of the drug, it will take a while to test, so we need to simmer down. And for God’s sake: turn off Fox News.
I finished The Outsider last night. . . .